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On The Go Tours / South America / Bolivia / Salt Flats And Desert Dunes 14 Days

Salt Flats & Desert Dunes

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14 Days  |  La Paz to Santiago  |  from USD $2,149  |   Guaranteed Departure 

Surrounded by desert or the expanse of a salt lake it's easy to feel like you've been transported to the moon! On this trip you'll experience Bolivia's utterly stunning Salar de Uyuni and Chile's bone-dry Atacama Desert as well as the contrasting capital cities of both countries.

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Itinerary
Prices & Dates
Inclusions
Northbound?
Day 1

Welcome to La Paz and the start of your amazing journey. Upon arrival at the airport you will be met and transferred to your hotel. The first day of your tour is simply an arrival day with no pre-organised activities. In order to allow time to relax and see some of the sights you may wish to add pre tour accommodation.

Built on a series of hills and considered one of the world's most beautiful cities, La Paz was established in the basin of a canyon with the snow-capped Mount Illimani in the background. Our hotel is very centrally located and is just around the corner from the city's colourful indigenous street markets including the fascinating Witches Market. The main square, Plaza Murillo, is also within walking distance.

There are also many optional excursions available. You might like to visit the Moon Valley with its strange rock formations shaped by the weather. Another fantastic excursion is to the emerald green area of Coroico, the gateway to the Bolivian jungle region and a great place to see sub -tropical vegetation and plants.
Overnight: La Paz

Days 2-3
Potosi

La Paz - Potosi. After enjoying a full day at leisure in La Paz we travel by comfortable overnight bus along scenic passes to the mining town of Potosí. The city was established by the Spanish in 1545 soon after the discovery of a rich vein of silver in a nearby hill, the Cerro Rico. It soon became the world's largest silver producer and silver from Potosí underwrote the Spanish economy. Millions of the indigenous population, and later, African slaves, worked in the mines in appalling conditions. You have the option to visit the mines, stopping first at the miners market to buy gifts such as coca leaves, dynamite and cigarettes. In the mines we will experience the difficult conditions in which the miners work - including 50°C heat. We'll pass several of the shrines they have made to the “Tios” which they hope will protect them while they are working in what they believe is the devil's territory.
Overnight: Overnight bus (1) Potosi (1)

Days 4-6

Potosi - Uyuni - Salar de Uyuni - Laguna Colorada. Moving on we reach the desolate town of Uyuní in the south of Bolivia. After a night in the town, we visit what is claimed to be the largest salt flat in the world, the brilliant white vast Salar de Uyuní. Travelling by 4WD vehicles we will spend two days exploring the salt lake and surrounds. First on the agenda is a visit to the Train Cemetery, where you can see the remains of 19th and early 20th century steam locomotives. We will then come to Colchani, the main plant for the iodisation of salt and the best place to observe the methods of salt extraction from the salar. The highlight of the day is Fish Island (seasonal) a hilly outpost covered in giant cacti amid a flat, white sea of hexagonal salt tiles. We spend the night in a hotel made of salt.

Following breakfast we head for the Red Lagoon (Laguna Colorada). We pass through the Siloli Desert where we encounter spectacular landscapes with multicoloured volcanic rock formations and stop at other lagoons en route. Covering an area of 60 square kilometres, the lagoon has a rich red colouration derived from algae and plankton which thrive in its minerals. The shoreline is fringed with brilliant white deposits of sodium, magnesium, borax and gypsum and the lagoon is inhabited by numerous flamingos, three unique species of which breed there.
Overnight: Uyuni (1) Salar de Uyuni (1) Laguna Colorada (1)  |  Breakfast x 1, Lunch x 2, Dinner x 2

Days 7-10

Laguna Colorada - San Pedro de Atacama - La Serena. On day 7 we cross the border into Chile, stopping at hot springs, deserts, geysers and a viewpoint of the Laguna Colorada. We'll have plenty of stops for photos and our driver and guide will provide a wealth of knowledge about the wildlife, geology and history of the flats. We have plenty of time in San Pedro de Atacama in the world's driest desert. The area is famous for its lunar landscapes, geysers, salt flats and hot springs. There is an excellent archaeological museum at San Pedro de Atacama, housing a good selection of ancient artefacts. Here we visit the eerie eroded salt mountains of the Valley of the Moon. On day 10 we catch an overnight bus to La Serena.
Overnight: San Pedro de Atacama (3), overnight bus (1)  |  Breakfast x 4

Days 11-12
La Serena

On day 11 we arrive into La Serena, a pleasant little coastal town and important astronomical centre. Here you can laze around on the long beach, visit the interesting town or stroll to neighbouring Coquimbo along the bay. There are also optional excursions to the Elqui Valley the home of Chilean Pisco and also an optional excursion to one of the many Observatories to get a bird’s eye view of the night sky.
Overnight: La Serena  |  Breakfast x 1

Days 13-14

La Serena - Santiago. Entering the fertile region of the Chilean heartlands we pass farmlands and vineyards on the way to our final stop, the European-style capital Santiago.

Pedro de Valdivia established the city in 1541 but not much remains of its original glory. At Santa Lucia Hill where the original fortress was constructed, there are excellent views of the city below. However, for even better photo opportunities, take a funicular railway to the top of San Cristobal where the Statue of the Virgin overlooks the capital and the distant Andes. At this very pleasant viewing area you'll find wine -tasting facilities and a couple of beautifully situated swimming pools. Santiago is a very clean modern city with fountains, parks and imposing buildings. In the Plaza Constitución at the Palacio de la Moneda you can see the changing of the guard on most days or you can take an optional excursion to the port of Valparaiso and the resort of Viña del Mar.

Your adventure of a lifetime comes to an end today. If you have a late flight or have lengthened your stay by adding post tour accommodation you will have more time to explore the sights.
Overnight: Santiago  |  Breakfast x 1

Trip Highlights

La Paz - one of the highest capitals in the world.
The multi-coloured Laguna Colorada where the James Flamingos flock.
La Serena - coastal town and beach stay
Potosi - a gorgeous example of native artwork with many pretty churches and temples and the incredible salt flats of Uyuni.
San Pedro de Atacama - an oasis town in the expansive Atacama Desert.
Santiago - Chile's European style capital city

Included

7 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners
Entry to Laguna Colorada National Park
Drive on the Salar de Uyuní salt flats
Transport by overnight bus and 4WD
11 nights in hotels, hostels & guesthouses, 2 nights on overnight buses
Guided tour of the Valley of the Moon
English-speaking local guide(s) on excursions
Airport arrival transfer on day 1

Not Included

International flights to/from our tour start/end points and visas
Items of a personal nature and additional meals

Prices shown are per person travelling. 'Twin/Double' prices per person apply when there are 2 people travelling, sharing a room. The 'Single supplement' applies to travellers who would like the comfort of their own room (on all or many of the tour nights) and needs to be added to the 'Twin/Double' price. If you are happy to be paired up with another single traveller of the same sex on your tour, this can be arranged, thus avoiding the single person supplement.

2015
Price/Person
Single Supp.
10% off
USD $2149
USD $379
10% off
USD $2149
USD $379
10% off
USD $2149
USD $379
2016
Price/Person
Single Supp.
10% off
USD $2149
USD $379
10% off
USD $2149
USD $379
10% off
USD $2149
USD $379
10% off
USD $2149
USD $379
2017
Price/Person
Single Supp.
 
USD $2149
USD $379
 
USD $2149
USD $379

Salt Flats and Desert Dunes NB

Prices shown are per person travelling. 'Twin/Double' prices per person apply when there are 2 people travelling, sharing a room. The 'Single supplement' applies to travellers who would like the comfort of their own room (on all or many of the tour nights) and needs to be added to the 'Twin/Double' price. If you are happy to be paired up with another single traveller of the same sex on your tour, this can be arranged, thus avoiding the single person supplement.

2015
Price/Person
Single Supp.
10% off
USD $2199
USD $379
10% off
USD $2199
USD $379
10% off
USD $2199
USD $379
10% off
USD $2199
USD $379
2016
Price/Person
Single Supp.
10% off
USD $2199
USD $379
10% off
USD $2199
USD $379
10% off
USD $2199
USD $379
10% off
USD $2199
USD $379
10% off
USD $2199
USD $379
2017
Price/Person
Single Supp.
 
USD $2199
USD $379
 
USD $2199
USD $379
Tour Details
Starts
La Paz
Ends
Santiago
Departs
Year round
Hotel Rating
Simple accommodation
Local Payment
None
Tour Guide
Yes - escorted by a tour leader
Meals
Breakfast: 7, Lunch: 2, Dinner: 2
Extra Tour Info
Style of Group Travel
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Guaranteed Departures
This tour is 100% guaranteed to depart with 4 travellers.