The Salar de Uyuni is one of the most amazing places I have ever visited.
Crossing it on a motorbike is priceless. Don’t miss it.
To get to Uyuni from LaPaz there are basically two options:
1. direct road from Challapata to Uyuni
2. continue in Challapata on the Ruta 1 to Potosi and then go west to Uyuni.
The first option is a really bad road. Lots of cur rogations, sandy parts, lots of construction. They are building a new road, so in a few months this might be a good option. But certainly till middle of 2015 this is a very bad road for 160km. But it is very beautiful and there a nice spots to pitch your tent on the way (eg. rock formations few km before Rio Mulatos).
The second option is all paved and in good conditions. Potosi seems to be a nice city with a silver mine. So this is by far the easier route.
It case in rains:
In case it had rained, it is strongly recommended (by a lot of people, including local guides and international motorbike guides) to not enter on your own motorbike. That is especially the case for modern motorbikes with a lot of electronic equipment. The water splashes everywhere and may cause serious problems. After a day, or a week or a month…
Some people had to leave their motorbike there as the electrics got so badly torn up, that it was not repairable. Of course you can also go with your own bike if it is wet, if you are lucky you won’t have any problems.
You can rent motorbikes though (small Honda 400ccm which are big fun or more powerful DR650).
You can rent them at MTB: http://www.motorcycletoursuyuni.com
They only rent including guide at 200$ per day. Thats quite pricy, but totally worth it. The alternative would be to take one of the many 4×4 organised tours. That is a lot cheaper, but you miss the feeling of riding a motorbike on the salar, which is fantastic.
If the Salar is dry it is safe to go on your own bike
Ride into the void:
There are only few places where you can enter the Salar.
Don’t enter anywhere else and only use the tracks from the 4×4. Off the tracks the surface can be very soft so that you may sink your bike and need a 4×4 to pull it out.
The eastern entrance is in Colchani at the road from Chalapata to Uyuni at approx. 20km north of Uyuni (S20° 17.876′ W66° 56.130′). You can’t miss it. There are 2 salt hotels at the entrance. We haven’t stayed there, but people we met said it was interesting (plus you can see the sunset over the salar there).
Once you are on the Salar you can go wherever you want.
Once in the while little holes (up to 50cm diameter) offer a view into the world of salt crystals underneath (the locals call them “Ojos”). They are no danger and you can go and have a look.
There is an island where all the 4×4 organized tours go to (S20° 14.498′ W67° 37.671′): Isla Incahuasi (formerly Isla Pescado). It has a little hill and offers a fantastic view. Only enter the island from the northeastern end (where you will see some huts and during the day dozens of 4×4, as the rest of the surroundings of the islands may have a thin salt crust).
It is great fun to ride the bike on the Salar. It is not slippery at all.
After the visit make sure to clean your bike at one of the many washing places in town.