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The traverse of the Bolivian and Chilean altiplanos to the Uyuni salt flats, the world’s largest and highest, offers a journey of adventure in comfort. Amid the stark landscape of iridescent white earth and boiling geysers, trekkers wander through shepherded villages preserved in the amber of another century. The first thing travellers will notice about the altiplanos is the elevation - walks typically range from 10,000 to 14,000 feet. The second is the steadfastly sunny weather, which highlights the desert sky’s immensity.
The enormity of the salts flats, fringed by mountains and volcanoes, is best pondered at day’s end, while sitting in a camp chair with a glass of Chilean Carménere. A chef prepares open-air meals with seafood flown in from the coast.
This travesía starts in Potosí, one of the most important mining cities in colonial America. From there, we will begin our journey through the fascinating Bolivian altiplano towards the Salar de Uyuni. The travesía will come to an end at the oasis of San Pedro de Atacama, situated in the driest desert in the world.
We will welcome you in Potosí in the morning. From there, we will set out on a four-hour journey towards the town of Uyuni, where we will tour Uyuni's market and surrounding area.
Later, we will enter the Salar de Uyuni, which, with a surface area of over 10,000 kilometers² (3861 miles²) and located at 3,665 meters (12,025 feet) above sea level, is the largest and highest-altitude salt flat in the world. Surrounded by absolute solitude and silence, we will trek across the surface, later climbing to the salt flat's highest "island", where we will enjoy panoramic views of the landscape which seems to go on forever. Continuing on our journey we will arrive at Tahua, a small town on the shores of the salt flat, where we will find our first campsite.
Around the Tunupa Volcano
We will begin our trek early and, in three to four hours, reach the foot of the Tunupa volcano. We can choose either to climb the volcano and enjoy views from the peak, or visit any of the interesting sites in the surrounding area, an option which requires less time.
In the late afternoon, we will visit the small towns bordering the salt flat: Coquesa, Jirira and Tahua. Later, we will return to eat and spend the night at our campsite in Tahua. Explora only offers the most amazing travel to Uyuni.
Early in the morning, we will leave our campsite in Tehua to continue on our journey towards the Bolivian altiplano. We will go trekking in the morning, exploring geological formations and caves containing archeological remains.
We will eat lunch at Chituca, our second campsite, located at 3,750 meters (12,300 feet) above sea level. In the afternoon, we will go trekking in the surrounding area, where we will see cultivated terraces, one of the most ancient ways of life in the altiplano's towns, and the distinctive cactus forest which surrounds our campsite.
In the morning, we will set out on foot towards Cañapa. On our way, we will go on a trek to the Turquiri Lagoon and have lunch on the banks there.
In the afternoon, we will continue the travesía until reaching Cañapa, our third and, at 4,300 meters (14,110 feet) above sea level, our highest-altitude campsite, where we will spend the night. If there is enough daylight left, we will go on a trek to see some of the native fauna, including flamingos (Phoenicopterus Chilensis) and vicuñas (Vicugna Vicugna). Travel to Canapa has never been better!
After eating breakfast, we will set out on a trek in the areas around Cañapa. Later we will come upon a series of salt flats, wetlands and lakes, including the Colorada lake, an excellent location for viewing flamingos (phoenicopterus chilensis). Then we will travel through the Sol de Mañana geothermal plain, at 4,700 meters (15,400 feet) above sea level, eventually reaching the Hito Cajón border pass at the extreme southeast corner of Bolivia.
We will cross over to Chile, arriving at our Hotel de Larache (Explora Lodge) in the San Pedro de Atacama oasis.
While staying at Hotel de Larache, you can choose every day from a variety of different explorations. On foot, by bicycle, or on horseback; a couple of hours or a full day; relaxed or physically demanding. On these explorations, you will get to know the complex geography of Atacama, along with its wildlife and its ancient local cultures.
At the end of each of our Explora exploration, our lodge is always there waiting for you: a place to enjoy and regain the energy you will need to keep on exploring.
Transfer to Calama airport.