Trip Type : Private Guided
Chile: Atacama to Altiplano Overland Adventure tour

Chile: Atacama to Altiplano Overland Adventure

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Travel Style: A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level: Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level: 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Premium - 4 star
12 days
From: $ 5,935 $ 495 / day
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Overview

Highlights

  • Embark on an epic overland adventure through the heart of the Atacama Desert
  • Traverse into the Altiplano plateau as your expedition takes you in regions experienced and known by few

Short Description

Pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable journey through the natural beauty and thrilling adventures of South America. Guided through the eyes of local experts, you will have the chance to admire extraordinary sights and uncover remote hidden treasures. Embark on an Epic overland adventure through the heart of the Atacama Desert and traverse into the Altiplano plateau as your expedition takes you in regions experienced and known by few. Enjoy a custom trip with fascinating excursions and unique lodging experiences catered to your own interests and requests. As the perfect platform for adventure discovery, this expedition is sure to leave you hooked and wanting more!

Private tours give you the undivided attention of a guide, and often involve special access to sites and unique experiences not available to larger groups. This is a great option for families, couples, and small friend groups. Expect to pay a bit more for the extra service.
Trip Type Private Guided
Spend most of the time outdoors. Common trip themes and activities include cycling, hiking, kayaking, whitewater rafting.
Itinerary Focus Active
3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards.
Lodging Level Premium - 4 star
Flights & Transport Only ground transport
Start City Santiago
End City La Paz

Destinations

Chile Bolivia

Cities & Attractions

Atacama Desert

N/A
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Trip Includes

  • Full support before, during & after your trip
  • Meals as mentioned
  • Accommodation as mentioned
  • Tours/activities as mentioned
  • Transport as mentioned

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Itinerary

Day 1: Santiago Arrival

DAILY SUMMARY
Transportation: Airport Transfer
Accommodation: Le Reve Boutique Hotel

Welcome to Chile! Upon arrival at the airport in Santiago, you will be greeted by our driver, holding a sign with your name on it. You will be transferred directly to your hotel, for a smooth and comfortable start to your adventure. Get settled into your room and enjoy the rest of the evening at your leisure. (This service is on a private basis.)

Santiago
A city, which for many years has played second fiddle to Buenos Aires and Rio, Santiago is used to being the underdog metropolis in South America. However, since it's 200-year anniversary, public work projects have aimed to rejuvenate a once stale region, into a desirable destination in itself. The result is that now, more than ever, Santiago is turning into a city worth visiting. New and trendy restaurants, modern hotels, excited locals and bustling shops combine for the perfect gateway to Chile.

Day 2: Santiago

DAILY SUMMARY
Tour: Half Day City Tour

Accommodation: Le Reve Boutique Hotel
Meals: B

Half Day City Tour

Today, you will be picked up from your hotel to embark on a Half Day Tour of Santiago, beginning at the bustling Mercado Central. This well-renowned market, popular with both locals and tourists, supplies many Santiago homes and businesses with fresh fish and produce year round. Next, you will make your way to the Plaza de Armas, Santiago’s main square and kilometre zero, the point from which all distances in the country are measured. Famous architecture in the square includes the Metropolitan Cathedral and the central post office, originally built as a house for Spanish conqueror Pedro de Valdivia. Close by, you will find the Justice Tribunal in a neo-classical building housing the Supreme Court, ex-Congress and beautiful gardens.


Your tour continues towards the Alameda, the main street of the city center, via the busy pedestrian walkway Paseo Ahumada. This walkway is famous for its crowds, shops and diverse people. Once you reach the Alameda, you will walk a couple of blocks west to the Presidential palace, La Moneda. The palace, a model of 18th-century colonial architecture, is one of Santiago’s most recognizable landmarks and a symbol of Chile’s political past and its famously turbulent history. Before heading back to the hotel, you will climb Cerro Santa Lucía, where Santiago was founded in 1541 by Pedro Valdivia. From the top of the hill, you will be rewarded with an incredible 360-degree panoramic view of the city. Your last stop will be to visit the bohemian Lastarria neighbourhood, lined with cafés, restaurants, small theatres, bookstores and boutique shops. (This service is on a private basis.)

Day 3: Santiago - Atacama

DAILY SUMMARY
Transportation: Airport Transfer
Tour: Moon Valley Excursion
Accommodation: Hotel Poblado Kimal
Meals: B

This morning, you'll be met by our driver in your hotel lobby and transferred to the airport in time for your domestic flight to Calama to begin your Desert Adventure. On arrival in Calama, you'll be met by a hotel representative to transfer you to your hotel.

* Please note that this flight is not currently included but we can assist upon request.

Atacama
From wide, flat saltpans, to jagged mountains and an overly-dry atmosphere, there are few matches to Atacama's beauty in South America. Atacama's alien landscape continues for miles and miles in every direction. Traveling here very much feels like removing oneself from society, from civilization, from everything. Its expansiveness allows for tons of activities from hiking to off roading, so despite the huge emptiness of the high plateau, you'll never run out of things to do.

Moon Valley Excursion
This afternoon, you'll do your first hike in the vast and amazing Valle de la Luna. You'll trek over sand dunes until you reach a viewpoint of one of the world's most beautiful regions. The Valle de la Luna is an area of outstandingly beautiful geological formations that are every bit as poetic as the name suggests. Crinkly peaks and jagged cliffs seem to burst out of the otherwise flat surface, while the combination of abundant craters and drifting sand make it easy to see why this valley was named after the moon. (This service is on a shared basis.)

Day 4: Atacama

DAILY SUMMARY
Tour: Salt Flats & Lagoons
Accommodation: Hotel Poblado Kimal
Meals: B, L

Salt Flats & Lagoons
Today you will visit Salar De Atacama and Altiplanic Lagoons.

The Atacama Salt Flat is the largest salt flat in the whole of Chile at around 3,000 km². It is also unusual in that while most salt flats in the world have a smooth, crisp surface, the top layer of the Salar de Atacama is churned up and pitted, since unlike the others it is never covered in water. It does, however, have a sinkhole lake which is so salty it creates a similar floating effect to that found in the Dead Sea.

The Miscanti and Miñiques Lagoons are found in an area of outstanding beauty, lying high up in the Andes mountain range at the feet of two volcanoes. The two brackish lakes were once joined as one large lake until an eruption from one of the nearby volcanoes split them down the middle. Aside from being a great place to soak up the views, there is also an abundance of birdlife on the lakes including horned coots, silvery grebes and Andean gulls. It is an ideal place to spot vicuñas, a wild camelid similar in appearance to a llama since they’re only found above 3,200 metres. A gentle walk takes visitors from the road close to the Miscanti lagoon to appreciate the wildlife before they continue on to its sister Miñiques. (This service is on a shared basis.)

Day 5: Atacama

DAILY SUMMARY
Tour: Tatio Geysers
Accommodation: Hotel Poblado Kimal
Meals: B

Tatio Geysers
The very early wake-up call from the hotel will be well worth it when you arrive at the Geysers of Tatio and see them in action. From almost 900 meters below the earth, boiling steam bursts up to 40 meters over the surface of the earth. A scrumptious breakfast will be served upon arrival before we walk through the geothermal fields with the geysers erupting nearby. As you return from the Geysers, you'll witness a magnificent view of the Tocopurri and Sairecabur volcanoes.

You'll arrive back in town in time to have lunch. The afternoon will be free to rest or explore San Pedro. (This service is on a shared basis.)

Day 6: Atacama

DAILY SUMMARY
Tour: Archaeological Tour & Rainbow Valley Excursion
Accommodation: Hotel Poblado Kimal
Meals: B, L

Archaeological Tour & Rainbow Valley Excursion
San Pedro de Atacama is the archaeological capital of Chile, not only are its landscapes part of the region's appeal, its history will also enrich your stay and your experience. This morning, you will visit the most important archaeological sites in the area and will travel to the past to learn about the origins of the Atacameña and Licanantai culture. At an Atacameña Farm, you will see how a family combines the ancestral traditions of agriculture and livestock with tourism, and have the opportunity to taste some locally produced products. Then, you'll head to the Village of Tulor, the oldest settlement in the Salar de Atacama basin and one of the first indicators of sedentarism in the region. Finally, you will move to the center of San Pedro de Atacama to travel back in time to the first colony, where one of the most symbolic constructions is the Church of San Pedro, built of adobe this church has been miraculously preserved to this very day.

After lunch, you'll head to discover the Yerbas Buenas Valley, which is the junction of the Domeyko mountain range, the Salt mountain range and the Andes. Here you'll observe petroglyphs from different ages, and then continue your journey to the Rainbow Valley, which is full of colorful mud caused by the diverse minerals found in the soil.

Lastly, you’ll visit the town of Rio Grande, where you'll find clay craftsmen, garlic and onion farmers, and a former pass used by llamas caravans between San Pedro and Chiu-chiu. (This service is on a shared basis.)

Day 7: Atacama - Altiplano

DAILY SUMMARY
Tour: San Pedro to Ojo de Perdiz
Accommodation: Tayka Desert Hotel
Meals: B, L, D

San Pedro to Ojo de Perdiz
Your 4x4 expedition with a drive from San Pedro de Atacama to the Bolivian border crossing Hito Cajones. Once you cross the border, the scenery will be dominated by the Licancabur Volcano and the Green Lagoon at its base, one of the jewels of the Eduardo Avaroa National Reserve. You'll continue driving and enter the Valley of the Desert Ladies, then head to the Hot Springs of Polque for a relaxing bath in the natural hot pools before making a visit to the Sol de Mañana Geysers.

Afterwards, you'll continue driving and arrive at the Red Lagoon, famous for its different species of flamingoes. The red color of the lagoon is produced by active algae reacting with the wind and the sun's radiation. The same algae produces the the pink color of the flamingos feet and feathers. The variety of color in the desert is astounding, you'll be surrounded by scenery soaked in red, orange, ochre, brass, brown and beige. While on the move, you'll also want to keep an eye out for wild Vicuña, with their elegant figures and other Altiplano wildlife. Continue on and end the day in Ojo de Perdiz, where you'll spend the night in the heart of the Siloli desert. (This service is on a shared basis.)

Altiplano
Nestled between two ranges of the rugged Andes Mountains, the Altiplano is a vast, windswept plateau that stretches more than 900 kilometers from southern Peru to northern Argentina. Most of this arid upland, which averages about 3,750 meters in elevation, sits in western Bolivia, where its surface is dotted with a series of stunning natural attractions. From the snow-white crystals of the world’s largest salt flats and flocks of pink flamingos in a brick-red lake to the startlingly azure waters of Lake Titicaca, the planet’s highest navigable lake, the Altiplano offers spectacular, vividly colored vistas for intrepid travelers

Day 8: Altiplano

DAILY SUMMARY
Tour: Ojo de Perdiz to San Pedro de Quemes
Accommodation: Tayka Stone Hotel
Meals: B, L, D

Ojo de Perdiz to San Pedro de Quemes
Today, you'll make your way to a chain of lagoons named Ramadita, Honda, Chiarkota, Hedionda and Cañapa. Massive flocks of Andean, James and Chilean flamingoes are in the lagoons, along with Andean seagulls and wild ducks. The lagoon is surrounded by impressive sand and rock formations, shaped by the millenary winds, borax and sulfur minerals. You'll continue towards the Mirador de Ollague, where you'll have lunch outdoors before heading to Pueblo Refugio (refugee village), known for its influx of people from Pueblo Quemado (burnt village) who arrived after a big fire destroyed many of their homes. Tonight you'll spend the night at the Tayka Stone Hotel, which is made of stone and volcanic sand. (This service is on a private basis.)

Day 9: Altiplano

DAILY SUMMARY
Tour: San Pedro de Quemes to Tahua
Accommodation: Tayka Salt Hotel
Meals: B, L, D

San Pedro de Quemes to Tahua
After breakfast, you'll wander the hotel grounds and Pueblo Quemado, which was burnt down in Bolivia's war with Chile in 1879. After, you'll help out a local llama herder by the name of Doña Marta round up the heard and have a chance to get up close and personal with these iconic animals. You'll then board your 4X4 and drive an hour to the abandoned hamlet of Cuye. Continuing on to Incahuasi island, you'll have great views of volcanic rock and giant cacti as you make your way up to a viewpoint of the surrounding white landscape. Here, you'll enjoy some lunch as well as an optional walk up to a panoramic viewpoint for an incredible full 360º view of the Salt Flats below.

After your break, you'll drive on to the little known Salar Sensual, passing through the beautiful Ch'jini where local inhabitants will walk up with you to the 'cathedral', or fortress ruins, on a mound 40 meters above the village. The ruins are believed to date back to the period after the Tiwanacota era. You'll then continue on to the Ch'jini cave, with its interesting and fragile formations (allowing just 5 people per visit), before visiting the place of the ancient ancestral populations on the northeastern shore. Back in your jeep, you'll continue to Coquesa and up to Thunupa where you'll do a short walk up to a cave which is incredibly still home to a few mummies. As the day ends and sunset approaches, you'll drive towards Tahua, and spend the night at the Tayka Salt Hotel offering unparalleled panoramic views of the Salar. (This service is on a private basis.)

Day 10: Altiplano - La Paz

DAILY SUMMARY
Tour: Tahua to La Paz City
Accommodation: La Casona Boutique Hotel
Meals: B, L

Tahua to La Paz City
After breakfast, you'll drive past the Tunupa Volcano, which sits at 5,321 m (17,457 ft) above sea level. From here, you'll head on to Salinas de Garci Mendoza, at the foot of the volcano, where you'll visit a local village and church representative of the colonial architecture. Continuing on to the Jayu Quta crater, you'll see a huge depression caused by a meteorite that fell millions of years ago. Due to its vast size and symmetry, the crater is known as Maracaná in reference to the famous football stadium in Rio de Janeiro. Your final lunch will be in Quillacas, which will provide you with one last stunning view of the surrounding lakes and salt flat.

With a full stomach, you'll drive towards the Thunupa volcano and continue to the city of Oruro. From here, you'll depart on the final 200km through the Altiplano to your final destination, the Bolivian capital La Paz. (This service is on a private basis.)

La Paz
A city scraping the clouds, La Paz's altitude will take your breath away as much as its beauty. Thanks to immigration from all over South America, but mainly Peru, La Paz is one of the continent's fastest growing cities. Look into the mountains, and you'll be lucky to see a space not occupied by hastily-constructed homes. This fast-paced growth sometimes means that beautification has not yet caught up to utility, but the classic parts of the city boast a colonial style to be proud of. Lively markets, trendy restaurants, and fascinating museums are all popping up around the city, and its people are excited to be a part of the boom.

Day 11: La Paz

DAILY SUMMARY
Tour: La Paz City Tour & Moon Valley
Accommodation: La Casona Boutique Hotel
Meals: B, L

La Paz City Tour & Moon Valley
This morning you will be met at your hotel to begin your half-day tour of Bolivia's capital city - La Paz. First visit the famous Witch Doctor's Market, San Francisco Colonial Church and the typical handicrafts of the Sagarnaga Street. The tour continues to Plaza Murillo where the Cathedral, the Government Palace and the National Congress buildings are located. Then, visit the famous colonial street Jaen where interesting museums are clustered together, followed by a visit to the replica of the semi-subterranean temple of the Tiwanaku Culture. To change scenery the tour continues to the residential areas of Obrajes, Calacoto and La Florida. The tour ends with a visit to the unique Moon Valley, where passengers will have the opportunity to walk around, and visit a ceramic workshop with a demonstration of the art of pottery.

Transfer to main Cable Car Station to enjoy the incredible experience to fly between the mountains on board of the most modern and unique transportation mean of South America. Two lines connects the city of La Paz and El Alto. During the ride amazing views of the city will be spotted. You'll then be transferred from the station back to your hotel. (This service is on a private basis.)

Day 12: La Paz Departure

DAILY SUMMARY
Transportation: Airport Transfer
Meals: B

Sadly, your Epic Overland exploration comes to an end today. However, you will be leaving with new and unforgettable memories and experiences! You'll be met by your driver and picked up at your hotel in La Paz and transferred to the airport in good time for your departing international flight home. (This service is on a private basis.)

We hope you had an incredible trip and we wish you safe and pleasant travels onward!

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Price Per Day: $ 495 per day
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Chile: Atacama to Altiplano Overland Adventure

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The Ladies Pre-wedding trip to Europe

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I have to thank Global Basecamps for their contribution to a wonderful pre-wedding trip for the bride and 4 women relatives. Their professionalism and knowledge set us up in great locations for all our day trips and great accommodations for 5 from a hotel in Lake Como, to Villas, Chateaus and an Apt. in Venice all in our price range. I look forward to planning my next trip with them to Tanzania (my friends booked thru Global Basecamps and had an awesome time)!
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Laura Roundy at Global Basecamps helped us plan our three week trip to Burma (Myanmar). Before deciding on this trip to Burma, she was super helpful when we were considering a trip to Morocco. Even with such an extreme change of plans she remained patient, calm & relaxed. She is extremely well informed and knowledgable about as aspects of travel and destinations. She was attuned to exactly how we wanted to travel and coordinated through Khiri Travel our exceptional guides, transportation, logistics and lodging. Our experience was seamless, we were taken care of from the moment we landed to the moment we left and we had a fabulous time! She is an outstanding Global Basecamps representative.
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An amazing experience in a beautiful part of the world

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A few days in Bangkok, six days in Chang Mai. Beautiful hotels, perfect central locations. Amazing experiences -- street food in Chinatown, boating Bangkok's canals, informative tours, zip-lining, elephants, a two day hike, elephants, a Thai cooking class, did we mention the elephants? All perfectly tailored to our interests, activity level (active, but not TOO much), and style (not too fancy). All with guides when we wanted them, with plenty of time on our own. An amazing experience in a beautiful part of the world.
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An awesome, well organized trip!

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An awesome, well organized trip! Thank you Laura!

Two epic trips--great service, attention to detail, excellent accommodations and activities

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I've used Global Basecamps multiple times and highly recommend them. The pre-trip planning experience is great.

On both trips, with the most recent being my honeymoon to South Africa, they recommended hotels and activities that we would have never known about on our own, which ended up being the highlights. Also, the in-country support is excellent. All of the guides were very professional, knowledgeable and all spoke English very well.

With all of the support before and during the trip, booking with Global Basecamps is a great value and makes international travel a very comfortable experience.
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My husband and I have traveled quite a bit over the past several years. We started using Global Basecamps a few years ago for our trip to Tanzania and Zanzibar. It was so well planned out with the greatest guides and accommodations. Our safari was thrilling as was our camp in the Serengeti. We started using them for all our travel needs. We then booked several more trips to such places as Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, New Zealand, Australia, and Peru. They make it easy to experience different cultures. Our next adventure will be gorilla trekking in Rwanda and from what they have put together for us I am sure it will be spectacular. The customized itineraries suit us well. Global Basecamps are so easy to work with, just give them an idea of what you would like to do, along with your budget and watch them work wonders for you. They are truly the experts in customized travel. Irene and Peter
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Details

Flights & Transport

Only ground transport

Group Size:

Private - your group only

Trip ID#:

globalbasecamp-GB0305-10231

Trip Excludes

  • International & domestic flights
  • Travel insurance (highly recommended)
  • Entrance visas when applicable
  • Other services not mentioned
  • Tips and gratuities to guides, drivers
  • Taxes and fees

Meals Included:

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