Bolivia & Northern Chile: Salt Flats & Atacama Desert Adventure
Saturday, March 2 to Sunday, March 10
La Paz, Uyuni, San Pedro de Atacama, & Santiago
Get ready to Circle the World and venture into amazing destinations that will blow you away with its surreal scenery and majestic beauty. Bolivia's Salar del Uyuni is considered one of the most extreme and remarkable vistas in all of South America, if not Earth, and the world's largest salt flat. Covered with a bit of water it becomes one big mirror which makes for beautiful pictures-! We'll cross into Northern Chile’s Atacama Desert, taking the prize for being the world’s driest, as well as one of earth’s most surreal adventure destinations. From dune surfing, pink flamingos, hot springs, stargazing, geysers, and canyons, this will be a trip you will never forget!
Flight La Paz to Uyuni
Flight Calama to Santiago
Private English speaking guide in Salt Flats
Private transportation in van and 4x4
Private 3 day tour of Salt Flats
7 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners
8 Hotels (1nt La Paz, 1nt Uyuni, 2nt Salt Flats, 3nts San Pedro, 1nt Santiago)
Moon Valley Tour
La Paz walking tour
All airport transfers
Black Friday Sale: $2595 add airfare (JFK) $3495
Early Bird Price $2795 ($1000 deposit) add airfare (JFK) $3795 (expires 1/13)
Base Price: $2995 add airfare $3995 (if space available)
$1000 deposit to reserve your spot~!
Price is for double occupancy (we match up solo travelers)
*See below for payment due date and procedure*
Not included: Travel insurance (required), Bolivia visa ($160 us citizens), Yellow Fever vaccination, Meals not on itinerary,
tips for guides and drivers, extra activities)
NOTE: Circle the World will help in visa process (supplying documents) and places for yellow fever vaccination in your area.
Note: Most of this trip is in altitude of 8,000-15,000ft. There is however no hiking involved on this trip. Altitude medication is recommended and also to visit your doctor if you have problems in high altitude areas. Circle the World will send a checklist of suggested precautions to help you in altitude. Once acclimated on the first day or two, your body will adjust.
All precautions are the clients responsibility.
Saturday, March 2: Depart your destination
If you purchase airfare from CTW departing from NYC, your flight will depart in early afternoon, arriving to La Paz Bolivia by 1:30AM on Sunday.
Sunday, March 3: Rest & Optional Afternoon Walking Tour
Today it is important to rest and acclimate to La Paz city altitude. Located high above sea level, La Paz sits in a bowl surrounded by the high Altiplano. There is varying elevations in the city from 9,800 to 13,000ft altitude. Overlooking the city is towering triple-peaked Illimani, always snow covered and majestic. La Paz is the capital and largest city in Bolivia.
If you decide you feel rested and well, in the afternoon we'll have a 2hr walking tour. On the tour we'll visit the Main Square Murillo, San Pedro square, Alonzo de Mendoza Square, San Francisco Church, Witches' Market, Local Markets, and the beautiful and haunted Jaen Street. After the tour, you may take a ride on the areal cable car to city the views of La Paz.
In the early evening, we'll take a domestic 1hr flight to Uyuni Bolivia so we can start our Salt Flats tour in the morning.
Monday, March 4: Salar de Uyuni (Salt Flat Tour Starts)
After breakfast at our Uyuni hotel, our guide will pick us up to start our amazing Salt Flat journey. Today we will have an unforgettable trip across 12 000 km2 of fantastic salt landscape. Prepare your camera! The amazing white coat of the Uyuni salt flats (or Thunupa) looks like a huge glacier. We will enter the Salar by Colchani, where we will stop to visit the salt factory and we will receive information about the salt based economy of this village.
After Colchani, we will enter the Uyuni salt flats and stop at the salt mounts. We will have lunch in Tahua. In the afternoon we will get away from the hotel to Chantani where we will enjoy the impressive landscape. We will spend the night in the Tayka Salt Hotel at altitude of 12,000ft.
Tuesday, March 5: Islands, Lagoons, and Multi-colors Desert
Today we will cross the Uyuni salt flats from North to South and we will visit the Incahuasi Island which is one of the central tourist attractions. We will follow the little path to arrive to the top of the island from where we will get the amazing 360 º view on the Uyuni salt flats. We will continue the expedition towards San Pedro de Quemes where we will have lunch.
In the afternoon, we will go towards the lagoons chain of Cañapa, Hedionda, Chiarkota, Honda and Ramaditas, where we will see a good amount of three kinds of flamingos and other kinds of birds as Andean seagulls and wild ducks. These birds live on the lagoons surrounded by volcanoes with their eternal snow on the top and their green sides mixed with other colors created by the presence of borax and sulfur. After the last lagoon, you will enter a huge desert area with no roads or ways. These fantastic deserts gather different colors from browns, reds, oranges, brass and beige which are successively shown at every curve of the trip. In this area stands the Tayka Desert Hotel where you will spend the night at and altitude of 14,760ft.
Wednesday, March 6: Colored Lagoons, Valleys of the Ladies Desert & Drive to San Pedro Atacama
Today we will get up early to visit the “Arbol de Piedra” (Stone Tree) which is a stone with the shape of a tree. Afterwards we will get to one of the gems of the Eduardo Avaroa Reserve: the Red Colored Lagoon. This lagoon is the main nesting center of the three kinds of flamingos. The color of the water is produced by the presence of algae and plankton activated by the sunlight and the wind. We will reach the geysers of Sol de Mañana at the time of the day with more activity. At this point we will be at the highest altitude of the whole trip. The cold here is intense and we will walk among the smoky and noisy vapor hot springs and the mud boiling stew-pot.
The desert and Salar of Chalviri offer beautiful and unforgettable landscapes mixing the white of the snow with the ocher of the desert, the blue of the water and the white of the borax. In Polques, we will take a swim in the hot springs and right after that we will enjoy a delicious open air breakfast.
Afterwards we will approach another amazing place: the desert “Valley of the Ladies”, which is a geologic wonderland created by the winds. The columns of stones sculpted by the wind show fantastic colors. After visiting this valley we will continue towards other gem of the reserve: the Green Lagoon, located at the feet of the Licancabur Volcano. We will arrive there by lunch time, which is the best time to see how its waters change colors from emerald green to deeper green.
From this point we will continue towards the Chilean border. After we cross it we will change vehicles and continue until our hotel in San Pedro de Atacama, Chile at 7,900ft altitude. (approx. 2 hours ride).
Thursday, March 7: Open Day San Pedro de Atacama Desert (3 fantastic choices below!)
Choose your activity- whether you'd like to relax or explore. We've suggested some fantastic tours below to choose from.
This tour will start in the morning and last till mid afternoon. Lagunas Altiplanicas (Miscanti and Miñiques lagoons) are found in the Andean plateau amidst volcanoes and mountains. The landscape surrounding it makes this an unforgettable scenic beauty of a destination. The lagoons are part of the National Reserve Los Flamencos and its landscapes mix the color of water, volcanoes and ice product of low temperatures. On this tour you'll also visit Chaxa lagoon, an area known to see unique birds, especially the beautiful flamingo.
If you enjoy geological formations and photography, this tour is for you! This area is named for its multicolored rock formations and and comprising of rich flora and fauna, it makes amazing scenery. A visit to Yerbas Buenas, a town with rich history in rock art, with it's pre-Columbian ruins and a number of ancient petroglyphs still visible in the rock. Then a visit to Rainbow Valley where a main walk along a path to admire the unique landscape and geological features with more photo opportunities.
Friday, March 8: El Tatio Geysers & Moon Valley w/Sunset
Today we'll cover two amazing areas of San Pedro de Atacama. We'll depart from our hotel before sunrise for the best experience of this area. Arriving to the Geysers field before the sunrise is when the peak of activity happens due to the coldest time of the day. The water steams makes the environments amazing with fantastic opportunities for photos! We'll have our packed breakfast and then go to the second area of the geyser field where we can swim in the thermal pool. You may also wish to do a hike to see more geysers of that area like the Shell, the Llama and the Murderer and more. We'll return to the hotel around noon and have about 3hrs to rest or explore before we depart to see the sunset in Moon Valley.
Our guide will pick us up at are hotel around 3pm for our Moon Valley sunset tour. Moon Valley is considered one of the most geographical wonders in the world and one of the driest. This unique landscape captivates viewers with its shapes, colors, and textures and will surely make anyone believe they are visiting another planet. Take amazing photographs and contemplate life as you explore this remote desert on a nature walk through Valle de la Muerte. Observe and appreciate the powerful and delicate forces of nature that have carved and molded this landscape over thousands of years from the Mirador Cordillera de la Sal.
We'll watch the awe-inspiring sunset in the Valle de la Luna over the desert sands with the Licancabur Volcano in the distance as the landscape turns brilliant shades of red, pink and blue. This trip is an experience that will surely be one of the most amazing highlights of your trip. We will return to the hotel in the evening around 8pm.
Saturday, March 9: Santiago
We will start early and transfer to Calama airport for our morning flight to Santiago, arriving late morning. After checking into our centrally located hotel, you will have time to explore the city on your own based on your own interests.
Some suggestions: 3hr Walking Tour, Wine Tour, Biking Tour, Food Tour, Food & Wine Tour
Museum and gallery visits, San Cristobal Hill, the Markets, La Chascona House, Presidential Palace, Parque Forestal, and more!
Sunday, March 10: Depart Home
Our international flight will depart early morning, arriving to NYC in evening.
Payment Due Dates and Procedures
All payments must be made on time to secure your spot. You may pay the balance in full anytime on/before the first due date.
You can pay the balance in either 3 ways:
-Pay online through website (a 3% service fee will be added to total)
$900 Nov 4 (add $1000 if including airfare)
$895/$995 Jan 13 (final payment due)