Highlights
  • The Salar de Uyuni, the Tunupa Volcano,
  • The multicolored lagoons
  • Geothermal fields and
  • Surreal Altiplanic landscapes

To deeply explore Uyuni, we created a tailor-made journey across the Altiplano called Travesía.

Explora Travesías are journeys during which we use a van to drive between countries, staying along the way in our camps. The drive allows us to access hiking routes along the way in some of the world's most isolated landscapes.

During the Travesía Uyuni, we will explore one of the most pristine places on earth: the Bolivian Altiplano, reaching the Uyuni salt flat and its immaculate peacefulness.

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Explora Travel Reviews & Ratings
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Value
5.0 Guide
5.0 Activities
5.0 Lodging
5.0 Transportation
5.0 Meals
5.0
Stride Take

Stark but hauntingly beautiful landscapes lay in store as you journey from the world’s largest salt flat in Bolivia to the world’s driest desert in Chile.

Travesias from Uyuni

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Enjoyed January 2016

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
We liked everything about our visit! We have traveled to many places on our planet and Torres del Paine is one of the most spectacularly beautiful. We were there for eight days in 2009 and we enjoyed our visit so much we returned in 2011. We stayed at the Explora both trips. Our room was so nice with such a wonderful view! The food was delicious and the staff were without exception very attentive to every detail. Actually, because we enjoyed our stay at this Explora so much we have also stayed at the Explora on Rapi Nui and in the Atacama. We enjoyed those visits also, but their views were not as spectacular as at Torres.
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Operator Explora

Itinerary

Day 1: Atacama

Our van will pick you up at Calama Airport and bring you to San Pedro de Atacama, located in the oasis de San Pedro de Atacama at 2,500 masl. The transfer will take about an hour.

Days 2 & 3: San Pedro de Atacama

During two days, we will get to know the incredible wild life and abundant culture of the Atacama Desert, the driest in the world. Through different types of explorations, we will be getting ready for our travesía through the Bolivian Altiplano.

Day 4: Crossing to Bolivia

We will leave explora Atacama early in the morning, leaving behind the oasis of San Pedro and starting our journey through the mountain range of the Licancabur volcano in order to cross the border to Bolivia at Hito Cajón, on the far south west of the region.We will visit Sol de Mañana, a geothermal field at 4,700 m.as.l and go on exploring a series of salt pans, wetlands and lagoons. One of them will be the Colorada lagoon, a perfect place for the observation of flamingos.After having lunch next to the lagoon, we will go on with the travesía towards Cañapa, our first shelter.The shelter of Tambo Cañapa, located at 4,300 masl, is made of five containers that were redesigned with all the facilities that an explora traveler can expect. By spending the night there, we will have the chance to live and feel the immensity and solitary beauty of the region that we will just have started to discover. We will slowly understand how unique and remote the Bolivian Altiplano is.

Day 5: From Cañapa to Chituca

Thanks to the diversity of the Altiplano, we will have the possibility to choose among a few explorations. You will be the one deciding what you want to do. Each option will give us the chance to see how geography, flora and fauna magically spread out in front of our eyes.We will remain at a high altitude, between 4,300 and 3,600 m.a.s.l, walking through former mines, abrupt valleys and boundless plains until the Turquiri Lagoon and its diversity of high plains birds. We will have a quiet lunch there before going on towards our second shelter, located at 3,750 m.a.s.l.We will spend the night a Chituca, a former shepherd settlement. It is made of small stone cabins redesigned by explora. Their location and simplicity are enchanting. After a good dinner, already seated next to the fire with a good glass of wine, we will face the silent of the Altiplano and grasp a hint of what is to come at the Salar de Uyuni.

Day 6: From Chituca to Tagua / Crossing the Salar

After breakfast, travelers will have the possibilities to choose between different activities. One of the options is to discover the surroundings of the shelter, visiting the cactus forest and the old terrace farms. Another option is to visit the village of San Pedro de Quemes, a former Spanish settlement with a panoramic view to the plateau and the Salar.Our journey will go on towards Las Dos Estrellas, also called the cave of the galaxies, surprisinggeological formations that are kept safe by the human craniums of a former cemetery. Death, present everywhere, will connect us to the myths and stories of this part of the world as well as its culture and depth.All of a sudden, 10,000 km2 of salt will appear in front of us: the Salar de Uyuni. Located at 3,665 m.a.s.l, it is the largest and highest salt pan on earth. Trying to understand its overwhelming immensity is a hopeless thought. We will have no choice but accept our helplessness to simply appreciate its beauty and infinity.With this idea in mind, we will explore the Salar and its immensity. We will walk through some of its islands and grasp the scale if its seemingly eternal white, cloud-like salt flats. Only our bodies will break the chromatic harmony between the salt under our feet and the infinite sky above our heads.We will have lunch there before going on towards Tagua, a small village on the side of the Salar where, down the Tunupa volcano, we will find our third shelter.

Day 7: Around the Tunupa Volcano

The Tunupa volcano, an incredible mass made of red, orange and yellow tones, will arise up to the 5,432 m.a.s.l. This is not an easy hike, it requires a good physical condition, but the experience is worth it. No real mountain lover would miss this adventure.If you prefer to choose an easier hike, you will also have the option to walk around the volcano flanks. Going through small villages, wetlands and archeological sites. The Salar will always remain present, changing color throughout the day but still like magically attached to the sky.

Day 8: Return to Chile

We will leave early towards the Chilean border, walking through the village of Llica, where we will shortly stop to try the famous salteñas, typical Bolivian empanadas.For lunch, we will stop next to the Salar de Coipasa at 3,600 m.a.s.l before heading to Cochane at the border with Chile. Crossing usually takes time as the administrative procedure is quite long.In the evening, we will reach Aravilla, a small village on the Chilean side of the border at 3,660 m.a.s.l that has been abandoned a few decades ago and where we will find our last shelter. Depending on our arrival time, we will visit the wetland next to the shelter which is, in our humble opinion, the most beautiful of the Altiplano, or simply sit down and enjoy a glass of wine and the last sunset of our travesía.

Day 9: Descending to the Pacific

In the morning, we will walk towards the small village of Mauque. There, we will have a light lunch and then start descending to Iquique. This amazing route will take us through mountain chains of complex color ranges: the perfect farewell to a wonderful journey. At the end of the route, we will come across Humberstone, a giant and old saltpeter work from the 1920's. Its buildings, once full of life, are now only inhabited by the wind and the desert sand.It is definitely a magic place where the travelers can go back in time and feel part of an era that changed Chilean history forever. We will reach Iquique in the late afternoon, ready to enjoy a farewell dinner at one of the traditional city sites.

Day 10: Leaving Iquique

We will take you back to the airport in the morning. If you have booked a plane later on, we recommend you discover the city and enjoy its beaches.

Dates & Pricing

Price From

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Price Per Day:

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Prices may vary due to local taxes and trip seasonality. Click "Request Info" to inquire directly with the tour operator for the final trip price.
Details
Trip Excludes
  • International Flights
  • Passport and Visa Charges
  • Personal Expenses
Flights & Transport
Only ground transport
Group Size:
Intimate Group - 12 max
Maximum Number of People in Group: 6
Accomodations

3 nights in San Pedro de Atacama (in charge of explora team), 5 nights at our remote Altiplano camps and 1 night at a hotel in Iquique (Chile).

Altiplano camps: We have two types of camps, isolated shipping containers and ancient stone cabins, both re-designed to explora standards.

Start City
Potosí
End City
Iquique
Cancellation Policy:

The following cancellation penalties apply depending on the cancellation notice provided:

  • 60 to 30 days prior to arrival at explora: US$ 200 per room
  • 29 to 10 days prior to arrival at explora: 30% of total reservation
  • 9 to 0 days prior to arrival at explora: 100% of total reservation
Additional Information:

Route: Starting from San Pedro de Atacama (Chile), and finishing in Iquique (Chile). 3 at Atacama and 7 days driving between Chile and Bolivia.

Exploration: The drive allows us to access hiking routes along the way in some of the world’s most pristine landscapes.

Transportation: We use a special van throughout the journey, equipped with satellite communications systems.

When to go: This Travesía operates between April and November.

Trip ID#: TraUynExp

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