Trip Code: MCFMKSF2
DIFFICULTY RATING: 2 (light adventure - high altitude, unsealed roads & basic accommodation)
Start: Atacama Desert, Chile
Finish: Puno, Peru
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Enjoy the unparalleled scenery of Chile, Bolivia and Peru on this 10 day itinerary. Start your journey in the small oasis town of San Pedro de Atacama, located in the world's driest desert - the Atacama Desert, before crossing to Bolivia passing volcanoes and colourful lagoons until you reach the world's largest salt lake, the Salar de Uyuni. This vast salt desert has a landscape that is unforgettable, stark yet awe-inspiring, a dazzling white that stretches to the horizon, interspersed with geysers and coloured mineral lagoons. Continue through to the highlands of La Paz and finish at Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake that covers both Bolivia and Peru.
This itinerary is also offered in reverse - Signature Highlands of the Andes & Salt Flats
On this all-encompassing personalised itinerary, Chimu will provide travel logistics for your travel party for the duration of your journey, plus expert guides for all the major sightseeing as per itinerary. Each night you will stay in superior accommodation, handpicked by our experienced team for their creature comforts, convenient locations, and impeccable service.
On arrival at Calama Airport, your driver will be waiting for you in the arrivals hall to transfer you to the small oasis town of San Pedro de Atacama, the gateway tourist centre for the Atacama Desert. Overlooking the Licancabur Volcano, its dramatic surrounding landscape ranges from desert, salt flats, steaming geysers and hot springs to fascinating rock formations. The rest of the day is free to enjoy at your leisure. This evening you will be collected from your hotel for Astronomy in the Desert, one of the best places in the world to observe stars, planets, and constellations.
Start your day with a tour of San Pedro de Atacama, the archaeological capital of Chile. Located near the mouth of the main river that feeds the salt flat, this tour will orientate you and give you an understanding of the history, the town, and the surrounding areas. In the afternoon, travel across the Salt Mountain Range to reach the Valley of the Moon in time for sunset when the sun brings out the best of the valley's incredible colours. (B)
There are no activities planned for the morning, allowing time to wander the streets of San Pedro de Atacama and browse the local stores at your leisure. In the afternoon, you’ll visit the Salar de Atacama, one of the world’s largest salt lakes, home to a variety of bird species, including the three types of flamingos, and one of the most important lithium reserves in the world. En route you will stop at the picturesque village of Toconao, built from white volcanic stone and then on to Chaxa Lagoon, we you will have the chance to view another dramatic sunset. (B)
This morning you will be transferred from San Pedro de Atacama to Hito Cajon, the mountain pass on the border between Chile and Bolivia. After clearing Bolivian immigration, make your way to the village of Villamar. Along the way you will be rewarded with some of the most dramatic and beautiful landscapes in the world, stopping off for plenty of photo opportunities. This high-altitude desert environment is home to dozens of colourful lagoons, snow-capped mountains, llamas, flamingos, hot springs, and geysers. Tonight, your accommodation is unique as it has been built into a rock and offers a warm, cosy and comfortable refuge from the desert night. (B, L, D)
Today is packed with jaw-dropping scenery. Pass through the Valley of Rocks, stopping off to view famous rock formations caused by wind erosion. Villages like Culpina, where the houses have been built from natural materials and San Cristobal, which was relocated from its original location because of the zinc and silver deposits in the vicinity. From here we will set off across the Great Salt Flats to Colchani village, where we observe the methods of salt extraction and salt processing. We continue to Incahuasi Island, an oasis covered with giant cacti up to 10 metres high. Continuing north to visit the pre-Colombian ruins of Pucarade de Ayque fort on the foothills of Thunupa volcano. After a long day of exploration, finally arrive at your accommodation – the luxurious Palacio de Sal Hotel. Made from salt bricks and located on the shores of Salar de Uyuni, the perfect place to rest easy for the night. (B,L,D)
Today you will fly from Uyuni to La Paz, which has the highest international airport in the world at 4,080 metres above sea level. La Paz has a spectacular setting in a deep bowl surrounded by snow-capped mountains of the Altiplano. It lies in the shadow of the towering 6,438m high Mt. Illimani, always snow-covered and visible from many parts of the city. There are no other activities planned for the rest of the day. (B)
Embark on a city tour through La Paz, wandering through the street markets rich in handicrafts, weavings, and witchcraft items, followed by a visit to the colonial section of the city. Then, descend into the more modern, southern part of La Paz to reach and visit the Valley of the Moon, where a clay mountain has been impressively shaped by erosion. Ride by cable car for an excellent and beautiful view of La Paz.
Your tour will be conducted by a local English speaking guide and you will be joined by a 'Lustracalzado' or a shoeshiner, who can found on most street corners of the city. Often the lustras will wear a balaclava or face covering to hide their identities and the social stigma and discrimination that their profession attracts. We work with a social project, that helps to employ the lustras as tour guides. This allows them additional income and the project has even paid for some of them to pursue further study and learn English. We hope that by you taking a tour with a lustra guide that this will help break down the social stigmas in place and give them a better future. (B,L)
Depart La Paz and head for the Peruvian border and the lakeside town of Puno. Travelling along the Pan-American Highway through the Bolivian highlands, you will stop off and temples, ruins, and historical sites. Arrive in Puno and the rest of the afternoon is free for you to explore the city at your leisure. (B,L)
You will be transported to the port to board a speedboat to spend a full day visiting Lake Titicaca’s communities, with onboard service to visit various islands on Lake Titicaca, including the Uru people and a visit to the last authentic floating islands. There are optional tours in reed boats before we depart back to Puno. (B,L)
You will be collected from your hotel at the appropriate time and transferred to the airport for your onward flight. (B)
We believe that appropriate accommodation should add to the authentic travel experience, as well as providing utmost enjoyment. For that reason our accommodation is scrutinised by our staff on the ground frequently, ensuring the properties adhere to our high standards. This key will help you understand the levels of accommodation available on this tour.
Comfortable properties with dependable facilities and service.
Comfortable properties with dependable facilities and service.
Luxurious properties with impeccable facilities and service.
Private airport transfers
Internal flights as part of this itinerary
Accommodation with breakfast daily
Sightseeing with local English-speaking guide as detailed in itinerary
Other meals where stated
Visa & reciprocity fees (if applicable)
Gratuities for tour guides & drivers
Any items not mentioned as included
A single supplement surcharge applies and is subject to availability. Please contact us for more information.
During the rainy season (Nov/Mar) the visit to Uyuni salt lake & Isla Pescado will be possible only if weather conditions permit it.
We would recommend packing clothing suitable for a mountain environment, including sun protection and sunglasses.
Weather at high altitude can change very quickly and the sun reflected off the Salt Lake is particularly strong.
Prices are based on per person, twin share.
Prices are correct at time of publishing but are subject to change at any time.
All entrance fees are subject to change without prior notice.
Seasonality and availability at time of booking.