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Photo by Josephine Flohr, Elephant at Camp, Namibia

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Photo by Josephine Flohr,
Elephant at Camp, Namibia



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  #1  
Old 10 Jan 2019
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Accomms San Pedro to Uyuni

Hi All


We will be San Pedro de Atacama early November and want to head up to Uyuni after that. I reckon it's a 2 day ride with the border to cross etc so will need an overnight somewhere.



Normally I would try to stay near the border the night before, but there doesn't seem to be a whole lot near or in Ollague, and things are further complicated by the fact that there will be six of us on three bikes - hence the forward planning.


Any advice appreciated, just don't send me down sandy roads...
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Old 10 Jan 2019
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There are two hostels listed in Ollague on iOverlander. El Tambo and Hostal Atahualpa. Both get good reviews it seems.
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Old 10 Jan 2019
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Thanks for that, wasn't familiar with iOverlander - how could I not know about it???
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Old 10 Jan 2019
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I could not find an open hostel in Ollague when I rolled thru there a year ago.

What we did is we camped on the Salar and then we rode to Calama, deep into Chile in one day.

Savour this ride as it is unique. The sky at night there is out of this world so I highly recommend you camp if you support the 4000 meter altitude.

There are no roads (just tracks) on the the Bolivian side but the pavement starts in Ollague at the border.

Dont fall for the "fee" to leave the country from the Bolivian border agents.
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Old 10 Jan 2019
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OK, so perhaps there may be problems as we will not be camping this trip. What are road conditions like on the Bolivian side for a heavy bike two-up if we go on the 701?
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Old 10 Jan 2019
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Originally Posted by jfman View Post
I could not find an open hostel in Ollague when I rolled thru there a year ago.

What we did is we camped on the Salar and then we rode to Calama, deep into Chile in one day.

Savour this ride as it is unique. The sky at night there is out of this world so I highly recommend you camp if you support the 4000 meter altitude.

There are no roads (just tracks) on the the Bolivian side but the pavement starts in Ollague at the border.

Dont fall for the "fee" to leave the country from the Bolivian border agents.

My information is very stale, so take with the usual large grain of salt. When I was there 10 years ago there was an hostal next to the main road on the Chilean side of the border. More recent reports have described another place in town.

More to the point, there were definitely actual roads on the Bolivian side leading from Uyuni to Ollague--big fat roads with occasional shallow sand, bits of water, and lots of washboarding. This might not be the case if crossing the salar(s), but it's an option, particularly since you're riding 2-up. There are also routes which skip Ollague entirely, entering Chile high in the desert to the east of San Pedro de Atacama. These are more difficult, and might not be the sort of thing you have in mind.

I rode from Uyuni to Calama in a single push. It would have been fine except for the border guards going on strike for a few hours during the afternoon, which resulted in some night-driving and significant exhaustion on my part. I don't know whether there is lodging between Ollague and Calama, but it might be worth looking into this just in case you, too, are delayed for whatever reason.

Hope that's helpful.

Mark
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Old 10 Jan 2019
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I'm going to have to fire up Basecamp and check out the routes on the maps I downloaded - certainly Google Streetview seems to show roads like you're describing.


San Pedro is about 300km from the border, and the other four are relative novices so I want to cross early so we can have the whole day to get to Uyuni. I'm beginning to understand why tourguides have that slightly haunted look about them...
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Old 11 Jan 2019
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Take a look on Trip Advisor

https://www.tripadvisor.co.nz/Restau...ta_Region.html

The Hostal Atahualpa in Ollague is excellent and it is even listed on Trip Advisor. I stayed there in May 2018. They have a WhatsApp number which I can find if you need it. Also they will sell you petrol. No credit cash for everything

As for the roads they are gravel and quite rough but no tricky bits and no sand except if you come across road works when the surface can be a bit tricky. The main thing is to keep an eye out for manic drivers of big trucks and especially tourist transport like Toyota Land cruisers who will pass you at 120 km. Plus there is even a gas station along the way in Bolivia. Or there was in May. I think one of Snake Boys posts tells exactly where

Last edited by DLyttle; 11 Jan 2019 at 08:13. Reason: Added info on the road
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Thanks for that, sounds more promising.
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Old 11 Jan 2019
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I ride this route around 3 months ago. They are working on the road from Uyuni to Ollague, there are a few sandy diversions you need to take where the road works are. But overall it's not bad. The road to Ollague from San Pedro is fine, but not much fuel (if any, can't 100% remember). Get the ioverlander app on your phone. It works off-line and shows which houses and stations people have bought fuel from in the past.

I stayed at the hostel in Ollague, el Tambo, to be fair coming from the Bolivian side I wouldn't have minded but I'd been on Chile for 3 months, so I found it expensive and crap, people working there I found unfriendly aswel. The other on ioverlander looked much nicer but was closed that day.

PS the other way from San Pedro (through ruta de las lagunas) is bloody hard work, and I was only one up on a small bike...
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Old 11 Jan 2019
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Sandy diversions I can cope with - plenty of them in Africa where I've travelled more extensively. And they've got 10 months to finish the work...



I have a fuel bag which carries 5 litres and of course at touring pace the GS will easily top 300km on a tank (although that will not be enough to get me to then next fuel after Ollague)- did you go to SP via Calama, looks big enough to have a gas station for a splash and dash on the way.



Have downloaded iOverlander.
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Originally Posted by reggie3cl View Post
Sandy diversions I can cope with - plenty of them in Africa where I've travelled more extensively. And they've got 10 months to finish the work...



I have a fuel bag which carries 5 litres and of course at touring pace the GS will easily top 300km on a tank (although that will not be enough to get me to then next fuel after Ollague)- did you go to SP via Calama, looks big enough to have a gas station for a splash and dash on the way.



Have downloaded iOverlander.
Calama is a relatively big mining city with several gas stations, so you can definetively top up fuel there. But I was told its a rough place with much crime so not a place to spend much time. Just fuel up and go.

From Calama to Ollague its around 200 kms. And from Ollague to San Christobal, where the first fuel station is in Bolivia its another 140 kms. Then another 90 kms to Uyuni.
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Old 11 Jan 2019
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Thanks Snakeboy, great info.


I've just contacted a mate who speaks fluent Spanish to see if he will help sort things out at the hostal in Ollague.
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Old 12 Jan 2019
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I'll have him ask about fuel when he calls.
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