Begin with a Calama Airport pick-up and transfer to San Pedro de Atacama on Day 1. Take a Moon Valley Day Trip on Day 2 to visit strange and unique geological formations naturally created in the Atacama Desert. Discover the Tatio Geysers, Machuca village and a Salt Flat Lagoon on Day 3. Leave early on Day 4 for your unforgettable Uyuni Salt Flats & Desert 3D/2N Trip. Transfer back to San Pedro de Atacama on Day 6, arriving around noon on Day 7 where your trip ends.
Day by Day Itinerary:
Day 1: Calama Airport to San Pedro de Atacama
You will be picked up upon arrival to the El Loa Airport in Calama and transferred to San Pedro de Atacama. Get settled in to your accommodation and enjoy the rest of the day to walk around town on your own and fall into step with the laid back pace of life in the desert. Overnight in San Pedro Atacama.
Day 2: Moon Valley Day Trip (B)
Take an unforgettable afternoon trip to Moon Valley today to see capricious salt and clay formations in the “Three Marias” area where you will have the opportunity to visit strange and unique geological shapes naturally created in the desert in one of the world's driest and most hostile zones, the Atacama Desert. Here you will be able to observe and appreciate the powerful and delicate forces of nature that have carved and molded this landscape over thousands of years from the Mirador Cordillera de la Sal. Take amazing photographs and contemplate life as you explore this remote desert on a nature walk through Valle de la Muerte.
Enjoy an exciting excursion through salt caves where you will see new and different salt formations hidden in this mountain range. Visit Tres Marias and Gran Duna, some of the most spectacular places on Earth. Watch the awe-inspiring sunset in the Valle de la Luna over the desert sands with the Licancabur Volcano in the distance as the landscape turns brilliant shades of red, pink and blue. This trip is an experience that will surely be one of the most amazing highlights of your trip. Overnight in San Pedro Atacama.
We recommend bringing drinking water, sunblock, sun hat, hiking shoes and jacket to wear after sunset.
Day 3: Tatio Geysers, Machuca village & Salt Flat Lagoon (B)
Take another exciting excursion today to visit the Tatio Geysers Geothermal Field where you can have breakfast outside. Then, visit the thermal baths where you can take a relaxing swim in the warm water. Stop at Machuca village, a little town where you can buy typical handicrafts and taste regional delicacies. After taking a break at your accommodation, make your own way to the meeting point for your afternoon tour to the Cejar Lagoon, known as the dead sea of the Atacama Salt Flat for its high salt density. Go for a swim here in the cold water and float around before continuing your trip to the Tebinquiche Lagoon. Then, enjoy the sunset with a snack before returning to San Pedro Atacama in the evening. Overnight in San Pedro Atacama.
Day 4: Leave San Pedro de Atacama for your Uyuni Salt Flats & Desert 3D/2N Trip (L/D)
Depart early this morning at 7:30am by minibus for an exciting 3-day adventure in the Uyuni Salt Flats and Bolivian desert. After completing immigration formalities on the Chilean and Bolivian borders you will cross into the vast Bolivian desert at 4,400 metres above sea level. Here you will change vehicles to a 4WD Jeep with a maximum capacity of 6 people.
Your first visit in the Bolivia will be to the Green Lagoon, named for the green-coloured toxic copper water, and Laguna Blanca located at the base of the 6,000-metre high Licancabur Volcano. Then you will continue through the Dali Desert, with abstract landscapes dotted by giant boulders, where artist Salvador Dali found his inspiration. Admire the surreal landscapes and relax at the thermal waters of Sol de Manana Geysers, created by 100º C spring waters bubbling to the surface. Take a short walk next to the 150-200º C fumaroles and steaming craters filled with boiling mud. Your journey continues to the intense red-coloured Laguna Colorada inhabited by thousands of endemic flamingos. Tuck in for the night at a refugio and bundle up for the cold weather. (The coldest months are June to September when temperatures can plummet below zero.)
Day 5: Uyuni Salt Flats & Desert 3D/2N Trip (B/L/D)
Enjoy an early breakfast with your group this morning around 8:00am and then embark on your trip to the Siloli Desert at 4,550 metres, the highest and driest desert in the world, where interesting rock formations can be found as a result of the high winds eroding the desert and rock surfaces. Take a photo next to the famous lava rock tree and then continue to the high plains coloured lagoons of Laguna Honda, Chiarcota and Cañapa. Spend the night at a hotel made of salt on the Chiguana Salt Flat on the southern edge of the Uyuni salt flat surrounded by volcanoes.
Day 6: Uyuni Salt Flats & Desert 3D/2N Trip & Transfer back to San Pedro de Atacama (B/L)
Depart early at 8:00am and drive along the vast white expanse of Uyuni Salt Flats today to visit Inca Wasy (Fish Island), located in the middle of the salt flat, with beautiful cactus and rock formations made of petrified coral. Grab your friends and take fun and wacky disproportionate and perspective-distorted photos on the white surface of the salt flats. Pass by the small salt-miners village of Colchani where you can see miners hard at work extracting mounds of salt, en route to the town of Uyuni arriving around 3:00pm. Take a 2-hour break to rest and say goodbye to the rest of your group. Begin your return transfer to San Pedro Atacama this evening stopping at Villa Mar town to spend the night at a hostel.
Day 7: Arrival in San Pedro de Atacama
Depart Villa Mar early at 5:00am for a 4-hour drive to the Bolivian Border. After completing immigration formalities, you will change to a minibus and continue back to San Pedro de Atacama arriving at about 1:00 pm. Say goodbye to your new friends as your once-in-a-lifetime adventure comes to an end. We hope to see you soon for your next adventure!
Additional Information about the Uyuni Salt Flats & Desert 3D/2N Trip:
NOTE: This 3-day tour itinerary is subject to change without prior notice according to weather conditions, strikes, roadblocks, or force majeure events which are beyond our control. During the rainy season from January to April, there are some modifications made to the itinerary. We will always do our best to follow the itinerary as close as possible.
ALTITUDE: This trip takes place at a very high altitude. The salt flats are around 5,000 meters above sea level, and most guests will be able to feel the effects. We recommend acclimating yourself to above 3,000 meters before the trip and bringing along medication for headaches and tablets for altitude sickness in case you feel unwell. And remember, the real key is to drink lots of water!
ACCOMMODATION / FACILITIES ON TOUR: The reality of visiting a remote area and immersing yourself in nature is that you will be far from modern facilities and the services will sometimes be slow and quite basic. Due to the harsh terrain, vehicle breakdowns are not uncommon, but the drivers are very used to fixing them and wait times are rarely excessive. The accommodations will be very basic, with cots and shared rooms, and the electricity and running water in the National Park are not as dependable as they are back at home. Toilet facilities may have a small local cost and the shower is only available the first day. Make sure to bring snacks, some water, toilet paper, and plenty of warm clothes. That said, with some patience, preparation, and an appetite for adventure, this trip will certainly be a positive and unforgettable experience.