REGION: Northern Chile – Bolivia Altiplano and Central Chile.
ACTIVITY LEVEL: 3-5 (Medium to High, not strenuous, but long trails over irregular terrain.)
SUMMARY: Customized 5-day tour of the Bolivian Altiplano and 4-day tour of Chile. In Bolivia, visit Tupiza, Uyuni, Colchani, Uyuni Salt Flat Lake, Siloli Desert, Reserve Eduardo Abaroa, the Dali Desert and several lagoons, observing the flora and fauna of the areas. In Northern Chile, we include the following tours: Atacama Salt Flat – Altiplano Lagoons – Toconao Village; Atacama Desert Archaeological Excursion; Atacama—Valle de la Luna (Valley of the Moon; Tatio Geysers––Machuca Village; and Santiago City Tour—Markets and Los Dominicos Village.
DURATION: 9 days
DEPARTURE: 08:00 a.m. from your hotel/hostel. The departure could be arranged according to your program.
MIN./MAX. PEOPLE: Min 5 people. Max 20 people. For minimum age 16 or above.
SEASON: Best from May through December. (January to April not recommendable due to rainy season)
DAY 1: La Quiaca(Argentina) – Welcome to Villazon(Bolivia) – Transfer to Tupiza
You will be welcomed by our representative who meets you at the International Bridge La Quiaca – Villazon (Argentina – Bolivian border). We will walk for 200 meters on this bridge and then begin the customs formalities (1-2 hours). Time for lunch and visit the Market (optional). Then we will take our 4×4 vehicles and start our journey to Tupiza for approximately 3 hours. We will make photo stops on the route and enjoy the trip to Tupiza. Check in at your hotel.
Duration Today: 3 hrs.
Today Includes: Water; ground transportation, hotel.
Roads: 99 km by gravel route.
Altitude: 2,850 m.s.n.m.
Today’s Activity Level: 2 (Easy – Medium)
DAY 2: Tupiza – Atocha – Uyuni – Colchani
Early breakfast 8.00 am. We head north through town of Atocha (optional lunch). Then we continue the journey observing typical and characteristic landscapes of the Bolivian Altiplano, and finally arrive at the town of Uyuni which is located in the Altipampa at the southern end of the Bolivian Altiplano. Uyuni was the first place in Bolivia where a train whistle was heard! There the country’s first railway line was laid in 1890. Currently, the most important remains of railroad equipment (dating from 1890) can be seen in their arsenals, known as the train cemetery. This is located 3 km from the city of Uyuni on the old railway tracks, a testament to the withdrawal of the trains in western Bolivia. Comprised of twenty steam locomotives and wagons, the Uyuni train cemetery is one of the most significant of its kind globally. You have time to walk around the town, visit the local market and the train cemetery museum. We continue to your hotel in Colchani. Accommodation and overnight.
Duration Today: 7 hrs.
Today Includes: Breakfast, water and dinner with non-alcoholic beverages included; ground transportation, hotel.
Roads: 210 km by paved and gravel roads.
Altitude: 3,680 m.s.n.m.
Today’s Activity Level: 3 (Medium)
DAY 3: Colchani – Uyuni Salt Flat Lake – Incahuasi Island – Coquesa – Thunupa
Early breakfast 7.30 a.m. Today we have an unforgettable journey through 12,000 km² of fantastic salt flat landscapes… prepare your camera! The dazzling white mantle of the Salar de Uyuni resembles a huge glacier. In winter (dry season from May to October), when the surface hardens, there are almost geometric figures formed by the salt particles agglomerated into polygons. In summer (the rainy season from November to February) the salt desert transforms into a giant mirror that blends the purest sky of America. This Salt Flat Lake has an altitude of 3,700 m.s.n.m.
We will go to Colchani along to the salt flat. In Colchani, we will find the local salt factories. We will visit one of these and receive an explanation of the Colchani Community (salt family economy), governing village life based on a cooperative organization. In this Quechua–Aymara Community, you will see how this local people have developed a small industry of salt in a rustic way.
Then we have the privilege of visiting the Incahuasi Island or Fish Island. Here we walk around for an hour on this National Reserve. We find excellent viewpoints and are surprised by the amount of giant cactus that populates the island. Enjoy your box-lunch here with beautiful view.
Then we turn our attention to the great view of the magical figure of Thunupa Volcano, whose skirts are home to Tahua village.
Arrive at your hotel. Here, we leave our luggage and drive to the Coquesa village, which is located to the east of the Uyuni Salar. We arrive in the Thunupa area, where the views are stunning from Monumental Salar of Uyuni. We do a brief walk to see the Chullpar Cave where a local guide will explain the history of Mummies. Return to the hotel. Dinner and accommodation.
Duration Today: 5 hrs.
Today Includes: Food (Breakfast, box-lunch, water and dinner included with non-alcoholic beverages); Incahuasi National Reserve entrance fee; ground transportation, hotel.
Roads: 100 km by gravel road.
Altitude: 3,690 m.s.n.m.
Today’s Activity Level: 3 (Medium)
Day 4: Tahua – Galaxia Caves – San Pedro de Quemes – Altiplanic Lagoons
Early breakfast 8.00 am. Today our expedition by the world’s largest salt flat continues! Today, we cross from North to South the most beautiful section of the White Desert… The Siloli Desert. Away from the usual tourist path, we visit the Cuevas Galaxia and the natural viewpoint of Ollagüe Volcano (5,855 m.s.n.m) located on the border of Bolivia and Chile and which is an active volcano. Then, we head towards the Isla Campana, where we visit the Caltama Volcano. After an hour on a bumpy road, we reach the town of San Pedro de Quemes, where we stop the car and walk around the town. Lunch at the Hotel de Piedra or outdoor box lunch . (Lunch with non-alcoholic beverages included).
In the afternoon we will continue to the lagoons of Cañapa, Hedionda, Chiarkota, Honda and Ramaditas, where we find large numbers of flamingos and other Altiplanic birds. These lakes are surrounded by volcanoes and snow of high elevation. Here you discover tons of colors between the lagoons and the Altiplano local forest such as: Paja Brava, Yareta and the Thola-Thola. You will want to explore around the place and take many pictures this day. We go on our journey to our hotel situated in the country of Ojo de Perdiz or Eye of Partridge in the middle of the Siloli Desert and near to Andino Natural Reserve Eduardo Abaroa.
Duration Today: 7 hrs.
Today Includes: Food (Breakfast, lunch, water and dinner included with non-alcoholic beverages); ground transportation, hotel.
Roads: 180 km by gravel road.
Altitude: 4,532 m.s.n.m.
Today’s Activity Level: 4 (Medium – Hard)
DAY 5: Eduardo Abaroa National Reserve – Dali Desert – Green Lagoon – Hito Cajon (Bolivia – Chile Border) – Welcome to Chile – San Pedro de Atacama
Early Breakfast 7.00 am. We leave early in the morning towards the nature and wildlife Reserve Eduardo Abaroa, located at 4, 300 meters and containing an area of 714.745 hectares (7.147 km²). Reserva de Fauna Andina Eduardo Avaroa (REA) is a wildlife reserve founded in 1973 to protect endemic species, including the vicuña and the nesting grounds of flamingos and other birds. This semi-desert region boasts some of the most beautiful and unusual landscapes in Bolivia. Ninety-six species of fauna have been recorded in the reserve, including 69 species of bird. The birdlife is best seen during the southern summer, November to January. Among the mammals are the vicuñas, pumas, Andean foxes and vizcacha (rabbit-like), Andean cat, and quirquincho. The flora includes a few stands of Queñua bush tree, Yareta cushion plants and Thola-Thola, an aromatic shrub which covers the puna. Here we will visit many places, including: Stone Tree. Then we have a short visit to the Laguna Colorada (RAMSAR site) and Laguna Espejo to observe its large population of flamingos, such as James Flamingos, Andean Flamingos and Chilean Flamingos. Also here, we will see other birds such as: falcons, ducks, suri or lesser rhea, puna tinamou and Andean goose and the king of the Andes, the Andean Condor.
We continue to visit the Sol de Mañana Geysers. This is the highest point of the route, about 5,000 m.s.n.m. Noisy fumaroles and boiling pools where the land appears red, gray and scarlet pimples may be flown with us on their own shores. Then, Dali Desert and Salar Chalviri is another scenario that combines beautiful scenery of the white snow on the volcanoes, the ocher desert, the blue water and white borax salt flats in lagoons. In one corner we can take a dip in the Baths of Polques, bring your swimsuit and towel (optional).
We see the magical stone conformation of Las Damas del Desierto or The Ladies of the Desert. The strange masterpiece peaks with perfect details in shapes and colors of rocks that have weathered in the wind. Then, we visit Laguna Verde located at the foot of the volcano Licancabur, or the Mountain of the People in Likan Antae language (5, 916 m.s.n.m.), one of the pearls of this National Reserve.
We arrive at Hito Cajón (4,480 m.s.n.m.) located on the border between Bolivia and Chile. Here, you go through customs formalities (1-2 hours). Here, you are welcomed by our local representative in Chile and transfer to San Pedro de Atacama. Check in at your hotel. Several options are available for dinner in San Pedro de Atacama.
Duration Today: 10 hrs.
Today Includes: Food (Breakfast, box lunch and water). Eduardo Abaroa National Reserve entrance fee included. Hotel and ground transportation.
Roads: 197 km by gravel route – 47 km by pavement route.
Altitude: 4,454 m.s.n.m.
Today’s Activity Level: 4 (Medium-Hard)
Several options are available for dinner in San Pedro de Atacama.
Duration Today: 10 hrs.
Today Includes: Food (Breakfast, lunch (non-alcoholic beverages included in Socaire village) and water. Chaxas National Reserve and Miscanti and Meñiques National Reserve entrance fee included. Hotel and all ground transportation.
Roads: 180 km by pavement & gravel roads.
Altitude: 4,200 m.s.n.m.
Today’s Activity Level: 3 (Medium).
DAY 7: TOURS: Atacama Desert Archaeological Excursion
Atacama — Valle de la Luna (Valley of the Moon)
Several options available for dinner in San Pedro de Atacama.
Duration Today: 8 hrs.
Today Includes: Food (Breakfast and water). Entrance fees, hotel, all ground transportation.
Roads: 80 km by pavement & gravel roads.
Altitude: 2,436 m.s.n.m.
Today’s Activity Level: 2 (Easy – Medium).
DAY 8: TOUR: Tatio Geysers –– Machuca Village
FLIGHT: Calama Airport to Santiago
Time for lunch (optional) Several options for lunch are available in San Pedro de Atacama. Check out of your hotel.
Pick up from your hotel and drive to Calama Airport. Flight to Santiago.
Pick up from Santiago airport where your tour guide awaits you and drive to your hotel. Several options for dinner are available in Santiago.
Duration Today: 10 hrs.
Today Includes: Food (Breakfast in Tatio Geyser area and water); Geyser Natural Monument entrance fee; hotel, all ground transportation.
Roads: 200 km by gravel route + 96 km transfer to Calama airport.
Altitude: 4,321 m.s.n.m.
Today’s Activity Level: 4 (Medium – Hard).
DAY 9: TOUR: Santiago City Tour — Markets and Los Dominicos Village
FLIGHT: leaving Santiago Airport
Several options are available for lunch in Santiago. After tour, pick up from your hotel in Santiago and transfer to Santiago´s International Airport Arturo Merino Benitez.
Duration Today: 8-10 hrs.
Today Includes: Food (Breakfast at hotel and water); all ground transportation.
Roads: Tour–80 km on pavement. Hotel to airport 40 km – 50 minutes.
Today’s Activity Level: 1 (Easy).
Have a good trip and thank you!
FOR MULTI DAY PROGRAM:
INCLUDED: Professional driver guide in Bolivia, tour guide and driver in Chile with Wilderness First Response Accreditation, all the excursions and transfers mentioned in the program, equipment for the excursions, all accommodations in the program, (check with us for other options), mobile phone/VHF radio (Chile), mineral water per person, snack & box-lunch per person (according to your program) and private/shared transportation fully equipped according to your program.
NOT INCLUDED: Personal insurance, meals not mentioned, personal equipment, domestic flights, tips or anything not listed in the program.
ACCOMODATIONS: 2 – 3 stars in Bolivia / 2 – 3 – 4 Stars in Chile can be arranged.
GUEST PROVIDES: Comfortable appropriate clothes according to the activity (it may be hot, cold or windy on our trekking and overland excursions), trekking boots or good tennis shoes, walking sticks (optional), sandals, towel, daypack, camera, extra water, cap or hat, sunscreen and sunglasses. The full list of recommended items and other details will be provided at the time of your booking.
OPERATED BY: Patagonia SouthernLand Expeditions staff
TOUR COST: Request a quote!