Note: under request (and at extra cost) we can arrange for you a transfer from San Pedro de Atacama to Hito Cajon (with private or pool services).
Day 1: Hito Cajon – Laguna Colorada Lodge (or Ojos de Perdiz – Hotel Tayka del Desierto).
In the morning, our transport and guide will be waiting for you at Hito Cajon, the bordering post between Chile and Bolivia. From here, we start our first day drive towards Laguna Colorada. Our first stop will be to admire the beautiful Licancahur volcano (5,868m). Next to the volcano, we find the Laguna Verde and the whole environment gives us a scenic landscape. Then we cross the Dali Valley, a desert covered by strange stone formations, continuing north to the place known as “Sol de Mañana” (Morning Sun) where at about 4,800 metres lays a geyser basin with bubbling mud pots, hellish fumaroles, and a thick aroma of sulphur fumes. This is a site of intense volcanic activity where inside small craters we shall observe boiling lava, reminding us of the age in which the earth was formed. Our last drive will take us to Laguna Colorada, a lagoon lying at an altitude of 4,350 metres that covers an area of 60 km2. The rich red colouration derives from algae and plankton, which thrives in its minerals and the shoreline, fringes with brilliant white deposits of sodium, magnesium, borax and gypsum. Numerous flamingos, three species of which breed there, inhabit the lagoon: The Chilean flamingo (Phoenicopterus Chilensis), the James flamingo (Phoenicopterus James) which is the smallest of the three species, and the Andean flamingo (Phoenicopterus Andinus), the largest of the three, and which has pink plumage, yellow legs and a yellow and black bill. To see these pink friends strutting through icy mineral lagoons at 5,000m will make you abandon any associations between flamingos, coconut palms and hot steamy tropics. Accommodations in a small very simple lodge with twin bed rooms with private facilities -hot water is not always available. (LB, D).
For those passengers looking for additional comfort, we will drive to Ojos de Perdiz where we overnight in the Tayka Hotel del Desierto.
Day 2: Laguna Colorada – Villa Candelaria (or San Pedro de Quemez)
This day we drive north to cross the Siloli Desert with its beautiful surroundings and rock formations. Here we will find the well-known "Arbol de Piedra" a strange formation in the middle of the desert. Later on, we will pass the Lagoons known as Ramadita, Honda, Cañapa and Hedionda, all of them surrounded by impressive landscape of volcanoes and multicolor hills. In all these lagoons, we find flamingos and other interesting Andean birds, and with some luck, perhaps we can observe the flight of the Condor, the king of the Andes. Continuing our drive, we will arrive to a point from where we can observe the activity of the high Ollague Volcano (5,865m) which, for a long period, was one of the main sulfur mining resources of Bolivia. Soon we cross the Chiguana Salar, then continuing north, we arrive to Pueblo Quemado, a historical remain from the old war conflict between Bolivia and Chile. In 1879, the Chilean army invaded the territories of Bolivia, now known as the Municipality of San Pedro de Quemez. In 1879, the Chilean army invaded the territories of Bolivia now known as the Municipality of San Pedro de Quemez, and the old town was completely burned, so the survivors of this tragedy moved to another place. Overnight at Villa Candelaria village (or similar) in a small simple lodge with rooms for two people, with private facilities –hot water is not always available. (B, LB, D).
Note: for those passengers looking for accommodations that are more comfortable, we offer lodging in the Tayka Hotel de Piedra located in San Pedro de Quemez.
Day 3: Villa Candelaria (San Pedro de Quemez) – Uyuni
After breakfast we depart from Villa Candelaria (or from San Pedro de Quemez) towards the place known as Galaxy cave, a dried sub aqueous cavern, formed before the ice age, corresponding to volcanic eruptions on waters of the Minchin lake (today Salar). From the ceiling of the cavern, it displays calcareous bodies with capricious forms of solidification of the magma in contact with water. Our drive will cross the Salar heading North West to our next stop at the base of Isla Pescado (Fish Island), a hilly outpost where inhabits a large population of viscachas (Andean rodents). Fish Island is an oasis with a unique and isolated ecosystem populated by cacti high as up to 10 metres. Then our drivers will take us to the base of another hilly outcrop known as Incahuasi Island, situated in the center of the Salar and with rock formations, which contains the remains of corals and seashells. On the island we find the trichocerus cacti, species of cactus that grows up to 7m tall, at a rate of 1 centimeter per year, making them up to 700 years old. From the top of the hill we get and extraordinary view of the surreal Salar de Uyuni. At the base of the hill, we will have lunch in a local restaurant run by the locals, and shortly after this, we continue our drive to the town of Uyuni. In our way we make our last stop at the small community of Colchani which lies beside the Salar de Uyuni and it is home of the Cooperative Rosario – the main plant for the iodisation of salt. Last drive to the town of Uyuni, our final destination, where you will be transferred to your hotel (hotel accommodations are not included). (B, L).
Included: Accommodations in simple small lodges (or Tayka Hotels) with twin bed rooms with private facilities (2 pax per room), private transport (4X4 vehicles), private English/Spanish speaking guide, Noted meals (B= breakfast, L= lunch, D= dinner), all entrance fees.
Gross Price per Person in US$:
Not included: extras, beverages, personal travel insurance.
Recommended months to travel: April until January.