DURATION
11 DAYS

DIFFICULTY LEVEL:
EASY

Expedition to the High Plains and Bolivia

On our 11-day tour you will visit the main attractions of northern Chile – the Lauca National Park, the Atacama Salt Flats, the Altiplanic Lagoons, the Valley of the Moon – and also cross the border into Bolivia. Once in Bolivian territory, you can be taken into the white desert of the Uyuni Salt Flats, one of the largest in the world, and spend the night in a traditional “salt” hotel. Then you will continue the trip to visit the Eduardo Avaroa National Reserve of Andean Fauna and its Red Lagoon, whose waters are the color of tomatoes, and walk among the geomorphological formations of the Dalí Desert to experience what is might be like to be part of one of the Spanish painter’s surrealist landscapes.

Highlights

  • Lauca National Park
  • Salar de Surire
  • Isluga Volcano National Park
  • Salar de Uyuni
  • Laguna del Desierto
  • Atacama Salt Flat
  • Highland Lagoons
  • Valley of the Moon
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Itinerary

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Itinerary

Your tour will start at 10:30 a.m. with a visit to the Agricultural Terminal to see a typical regional market. You will enter the Valley of Azapa, where you can see the Geoglifo The Tropilla and visit the Museum San Miguel de Azapa along the way. You will cross into the Lluta Valley where you can enjoy views of both valleys. Lunch will be eaten in an eco-community called Ecotruly, where you will be shown a candelabra cactus is and visit what we call the magnetic zone, and also a pre-Incan fortress in Copaquilla. You will visit the town of Socoroma located at 3000 masl in the Andean foothills. After a 1 hour walk, you will take a short coffee and biscuit break. You will return to Putre (at 3500 masl) approximately at 18:30 hs.
Today you will leave Putre at approximately 08:30 hs. You can have breakfast there or in Termas de Jurasi and then continue to the Bofedal de las Cuevas where we will do a 40 min walk. On the way you will see wild vicuñas, vizcachas and you see the bofedales which are the base of the ecosystem in the altiplano (Mirador Bofedal de Parinacota). You will also see a great variety of birds like the pythons of the north, guallatas and taguas, among others, and admire the Chungara Lake and the Cotacotani Lagoons, where you can do a 3 hour hike if you feel like it (optional). We will stop for lunch, or a picnic, In the village of Parinacota and you will have time to walk around and explore the town.
After breakfast in Putre, you will head to the Salar de Surire. You will visit Ancuta and Guallatire, two altiplanic villages at 4000 meters altitude, at the foot of the Guallatire volcano, which is still active. Towards 12:00 hs. You will arrive at the Salar de Surire and visit Chilcaya where you will take a walk of about an hour to photograph the flora and fauna and see for yourself the three types of exotic flamingos that exist in this Salar (Andean, Chilean, James). You will continue your trip to Polloquere Hot Springs (4270 masl), highly mineralized warm waters heated by the volcano that are at a temperature of 80º C. You will have time to relax, eat (picnic) and enjoy this unusual landscape. You will spend the night in a CONAF refuge.
After breakfast at the refuge, you will head towards Mulluri – Mirador de Arabilla, Enquelga. You will arrive at Isluga Volcano National Park. From there you can observe the different geological formations, the summit of the Isluga volcano and visit the town of Isluga to look around its church and the nearby bofedales. You will also see the giant Rio Grande cacti and at noon we will have a picnic. You will spend the night in Colchane.

After breakfast you will cross the border into Bolivia, passing through the Salar de Coipasa, Salar de Uyuni, near the village of Llica located at 3680 meters above sea level. You will see the town’s colonial church as well as Punta Arenas, where you can have lunch. You will visit the village of Coquesa, and go up to the salar viewpoint from which you can observe the famous “mummies of Coquesa” and see the Chantani archaeological museum. You will stay in the Tayka de Sal hotel, located on the northern border of the Salar de Uyuni next to the village Of Tahua and at the foot of the volcano Tunupa. You will be able to explore the surrounding landscapes on foot and find out a little more about the culture of its people.

After breakfast you will leave for Colchani to embark on a day full of salt: salt crafts, the “salt eyes”, the Dakar salt monument, the first salt hotel in the world and the only one that inside the salar which also serves as a museum. The tour continues to Inca Huasi Island where you can have lunch. There two islands, the Inca Huasi and the Pescaderos, call the Salar de Uyuni their home. After eating you will arrive at the latter, which is located almost right in the middle of the salt flats. We will climb to the top of the island, then head to the fish island, after which we will finish at about 4:30 pm or 5:00 pm. Some other interesting places we will visit are Mala Mala Bay, Galaxia Cave with its petrified cacti, the Chillquilla community and Pillara de Chillima. You will spend the night in the Tayka de Piedra Hotel located a few meters from the historical ruins of the Burned Village of San Pedro de Quemes.
After breakfast you will visit the town of San Pedro de Quemes and then head for the Inca Canyon and the Onda, Charcota, Hedionda, Kollpa, Cañapa, Ramaditas and Turquiri lagoons where you can have lunch (box lunch included). You will continue the journey towards the viewpoint of the Ollague volcano, the Valley of Rocks and the Uyuni train graveyard, to then go to the entrance of the salt flats where the Crystal Samaña Hotel is. You’ll have about an hour before we leave at 6:00 p.m. to head towards the salt mounds to watch the sunset. We will start the tour around 7:00 p.m. and spend the night at Tayka del DesiertoHotel, Ojo de Perdiz, located in the heart of the Siloli Desert.

After breakfast you will visit the Siloli Desert and you will see some of the most important natural landmarks in the Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna Reserve: the “Salvador Dalí” desert where you can stroll through surreal landscapes and see the Stone Tree and the Dalí rocks, visit The Laguna Colorada, Blanca and Verde to finally reach the Polque hot springs where you will have lunch. The tour will continue to the “Sol de Mañana” geyser, you will visit the Chalviri desert and the “Ladies of the Desert” valley, until you reach the border at the “Hito Cajón” pass where you will cross into Chile and head for San Pedro de Atacama.

You will have breakfast at the hotel and leave San Pedro de Atacama early (at 8:30 am), heading south towards the town of Toconao, an oasis on the edge of the Atacama Salt Flat. Continuing along the road you will arrive at the village of Socaire (at 3218 masl), to climb to the Miscanti and Meñiques Altiplanic Lagoons located at 4350 masl inside the Flamingos National Reserve, one of the 5 zones protected by CONAF. You will return to Socaire for lunch and then descend to the edge of the Atacama Salt Flat to visit the Chaxa Lagoons, some brackish lagoons where Chilean, Andean and James flamingos feed.
You will leave from San Pedro de Atacama after breakfast at 08:30 hs. to the Pukara de Quitor, an impressive Atacaman fortress from the XII century. Later you will visit the village of Tulor, the earliest vestige of habitation in the salt flat. Dating from 800 AD, it is composed of circular enclosures that are interconnected with each other. They are replicated in the surrounding landscape, allowing us to contextualize this visit in situ. You will continue with the tour to visit the Padre Le Paige Museum, the most important museum in the north of Chile. You will have lunch in San Pedro de Atacama, from where you will go on an excursion to the Valley of the Moon in the afternoon (at 4:00 p.m.). The Valley of the Moon is a protected area in ​​the Flamingo National Reserve and a the folds of the mountain range at sunset allows you to see the shades and colors of the Atacama desert. You will walk through a zone of caverns and see a great dune of 500 mts that is visible at dusk.
Today you will leave very early (at 4:00 am) to go to the Tatio Geysers geothermal field, one of the most important natural sites in Chile, at 07:30am. As dawn awakens while we eat breakfast, you can witness the emanations of water, gas and steam, coming from mother earth. On the way to Calama, you will pass by the picturesque villages of Caspana, Chiu – Chiu until we stop for lunch in the town of Lasana. Finally you will be transferred to the Airport or to Calama.

Include:

– All transfers mentioned in the itinerary
– 10 night accommodation
– Excursion to Lauca National Park
– Excursion to Salar de Surire
– Excursion to Volcano Isluga National Park
– Excursion to Salar de Uyuni
– Excursion to Laguna del Desierto
– Altiplanic lagoons & Salar de Atacama tour
– Excursion to Valle de la Luna
– Excursion to Geysers del Tatio
– Breakfast & Lunch mentioned in the itinerary

Not include:

– International and / or Internal Flights
– National Parks, Reserves and Museum Tickets (except for exceptions mentioned in the itinerary)
– Optional excursions
– Tips
– Medical or Cancellation Insurance

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