Depart San Pedro de Atacama for an unforgettable 4-day expedition through the desert of southwest Bolivia and into the vast and blinding-white salt flats of Uyuni to visit tiny villages lost in the desert, multi-colored lakes filled with flamingos, the Sol de Manana geyser at 5,000m and thermal hot-springs. Drive through desert landscapes that inspired artist Salvador Dali with an incredible backdrop of active volcanoes and desert mountains. Visit one of the world's highest deserts and largest salt flats on this once-in-a-lifetime journey.
Day by Day Itinerary:
Day 1: San Pedro de Atacama - Green Lagoon - Dali Desert - Sol de Mañana geysers - Red Lagoon (B/L/D)
Depart San Pedro de Atacama at 7:00 am by minibus for an exciting 4-day excursion. Cross into Bolivia, passing by the Chile and Bolivia immigration offices. Once on the Bolivian side, at 4400m above sea level, we change vehicles to a 4WD Jeep with a maximum capacity of 6 people. We start off in the Bolivian high plains, visiting places like the Green Lagoon (toxic copper water) and Laguna Blanca, located at the foot of the big Licancabur volcano at 6000m. Continue on to Dali Desert, where Salvador Dali found his inspiration from boulders sprinkled in the middle of the desert. There you can admire surrealistic landscapes, thermal water pools, the Sol de Mañana geysers –intermittent springs coming up at a 100º C. Walk carefully next to fumaroles and steaming craters filled with boiling pots of mud at 150-200 Cº. The journey ends up at Laguna Colorada, an intense red-colored lake which acts as the main nesting center for thousands of flamingos of 3 different species.
These places are located at an average height of 4500m above the sea level and it is possible to see endemic flora and fauna such as flamingos, vicunas and some other animals. The night will be spent in rooms for 6 people. It can get very cold especially during the winter months of June and July so bring extra warm clothes along like a scarf and wool hat to keep warm.
Day 2: Siloli Desert - Chiguana Salt Flat (B/L/D)
Have an early breakfast and depart around 8:00 am this morning. Pass by the Siloli Desert at 4,550 meters (the highest and driest in the world) where there are a set of rock formations as a result of wind erosion. Take a photo next to a huge lava rock formation in the shape of a tree. Continue on to high plain lagoons also known as colored lagoons; Laguna Honda, Chiarcota and Cañapa. Then we make our way to Chiguana salt flat, on the south side of Uyuni salt flat and surrounded by volcanoes. The night is spent at the Salt Hotel (a hotel made of salt), in double or triple rooms.
Day 3: Uyuni Salt Flats & Transfer back to San Pedro de Atacama (B/L)
Depart at 8:00 am and cruise along the vast white expanse of salt today. Visit Inca Wasy (Fish Island), located in the middle of the salt flat, with beautiful cactus and rock formations made of petrified coral. Take time to organize your group for fun perspective and proportion-distorted photos on the blinding white surface of the salt flats. Pass by piles of salt at the small village of Colchani, a salt miners workshops next to the salt flats. Arrive in the town of Uyuni around 3:00 pm. After a 2-hour break, we start making our way back to San Pedro (please note that this is only a transfer back, it is not a tour anymore). We will go on until Villa Mar town where we will spend the night at a hostel in a 4 bed dorm room.
Day 4: Arrival in San Pedro de Atacama
Early departure from Villa Mar at 5:00 am heading towards the Bolivia Border. It takes 4 hours to get there. Arrival to Immigration offices is scheduled at 9:00 am. We change back to a minibus here and go back to San Pedro de Atacama arriving there around 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!
Please note that in January and February, because of Altiplanic winter, we keep the right to change route of the circuit IF IT'S NECESSARY.
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. 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.
SUGGESTED PACKING LIST: Sun hat, sunglasses (to protect your eyes from the bright glare off the salt panes), sunblock, coat, gloves, wool hat, trekking shoes, warm socks, swimsuit and towel for hot springs at Sol de Manana Geysers, extra bottles of water (we recommend bringing a 5 Liter bottled water so you can have enough water for the whole trip), snacks, personal medication. Flashlight/torch, camera, extra batteries and memory card, charger (electricity available in most hotels), hand sanitizer, personal first aid kit, water bottle. You will be sleeping up to 4,300 meters above sea level and depending on the season, temperatures can drop well below zero (reaching less than -25 degrees Celsius in the winter months of June and July) and the wind chill can be harsh, so bring plenty of warm clothes like a scarf and wool hat for the chilly evenings.
NOTE: As you will come back to your departure point, please ONLY BRING the necessary material & clothes during the tour.