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Signature Salt Flats

10 Days FROM USD 4,800

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Overview

Enjoy the unparalleled scenery of Chile, Bolivia and Peru on this 10 day itinerary. Start your journey in the cosmopolitan city of Santiago, head to the world's driest desert - the Atacama Desert, before crossing to Bolivia passing volcanoes and colourful lagoons until you reach the world's largest salt lake, the Salar de Uyuni. This vast salt desert has a landscape that is unforgettable, stark yet awe-inspiring, a dazzling white that stretches to the horizon, interspersed with geysers and coloured mineral lagoons. Continue through to the highlands of La Paz and finish at Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake that covers both Bolivia and Peru. 

On this all-encompassing personalised itinerary, Chimu will provide travel logistics for your travel party for the duration of your journey, plus expert guides for all the major sightseeing as per itinerary.  Each night you will stay in superior accommodation, handpicked by our experienced team for their creature comforts, convenient locations, and impeccable service. 

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Trip Code: MCFMKSF

Travel Style: Core Package

Location: Chile, Bolivia, Peru

Flights: Ask us about booking your internal flights with your flights to/from South America to save money by creating an 'airpass'. Contact us for more info.

WHY YOU'LL LOVE THIS ITINERARY

  • You will experience some of the most spectacular scenery of Chile, Bolivia and Peru on this 10-day itinerary.

  • You will travel through unparalleled scenery as you explore the Atacama Desert - the driest desert in the world and the Salar de Uyuni - the world’s largest salt lake.

  • You will see colourful lagoons, volcanoes, geysers and hot springs.

ITINERARY INSPIRATION

On arrival, please make your way through to the Arrivals Hall where our representative will be waiting for you to transfer you to your hotel. He/she will be holding a sign with your name on it. This service includes a driver and local English speaking guide who will provide you with any useful information needed for your stay.
Arrival transfer in Atacama

The small oasis town of San Pedro de Atacama lies on an arid high plateau in the Andes Mountains in the heart of some of northern Chile’s most spectacular scenery. Overlooking the Licancabur Volcano, its dramatic surrounding landscape ranges from desert, salt flats, steaming geysers and hot springs to fascinating rock formations. The church, dating back to 1774 and featuring adobe, cactus wood and leather-bound beams and the Archaeological Museum are both worth a visit.

Atacama
This evening you will be collected from your hotel for Astronomy in the Desert, one of the best places in the world to observe stars, planets and constellations. A night sky without light pollution and with high quality telescopes integrating the local culture and indigenous vision. We observe the fantastic night sky of the Atacama Desert in a small private observatory. During the this stargazing experience, we observe the stars, planets and constellations by the naked eye and through professional telescopes (16”). We learn about the importance of the region for modern astronomy as well as for ancient central Andean cultures. It is possible to observe the Milky Way, the stars that make up the constellations and the rotation of the sky. We continue with the technical observation of different types of nebulae and star clusters with the help of a telescope. Pickup and completion time vary depending on the time of year, weather conditions and the moonrise.
Astronomical evening tour
This morning you will be collected from your hotel for a tour of San Pedro de Atacama, the archaeological capital of Chile. The small oasis town is one of the main cultural settlements in Atacama located near the mouth of the main river that feeds the salt flat. It lies on an arid high plateau in the Andes Mountains in the heart of some of northern Chile’s most spectacular scenery. During this excursion, visit the most important archaeological sites of San Pedro de Atacama. In the XII century aborigines built the fortress of Quitor to defend their people to the attack of enemies, foreigners or border natives. Tulor village is the oldest archeological human establishment of the entire region and it was occupied between 300BC and 500AC. Also visit the Ayllus De Coyo, most important part of the archaeological route. There you will find circulars constructions, antiques Lickanantay’s residences and can appreciate the original fauna and flora. On completion of the tour, you will be taken to your hotel. Please note this is a small group tour.
Archeological Quitor & Tulor Tour

This afternoon, you will be collected from your hotel to travel across Cordillera de la Sal (Salt Mountain Range) to reach the Valle de la Luna (Valley of the Moon), one of the main attractions of this region. Located 19km from San Pedro de Atacama, the valley's landscape resembles the surface of the moon with small but sharp crested hills created by the wind. This tour is available only in the afternoon when the setting sun brings out the best of the valley's incredible colours. On completion of this tour, you will be taken to your hotel. Please note this is a small group tour.

Moon Valley Tour
This afternoon you will be collected from your hotel to visit the Salar de Atacama, one of the world’s largest salt lakes and the most important lithium reserves in the world. At Chaxa Lagoon, we will be able to enjoy watching a variety of bird species, including the three types of flamingos that inhabit Chile -Andean, Chilean and James’- and the pink color of their feathers. The deep blue of the Atacama sky, the altitudes of the Andean volcanos and the red sunset will bid us farewell before returning to San Pedro de Atacama. En route to the Salt Lake, visit the town of Toconao. The houses in this small picturesque village are built from bricks of white volcanic stone and its friendly inhabitants are famous for their fine wool knitting skills. On completion of the tour you will be taken to your hotel. Please note this is a small group tour.
Atacama Salt Lake & Toconao Tour

This morning you will be transferred from San Pedro de Atacama to Hito Cajon, the mountain pass on the border between Chile and Bolivia. You will be met at the border by your Bolivian guide.

San Pedro de Atacama to Hito Cajon

Pick up in the Bolivian border of Hito Cajon to enter the REA Reserve, visiting the Green Lagoon in the foothills of Licancabur Mountain, the highest desert in the Pampas de Dali. Continue onto Chalviri Lagoon and the hot springs of Polques and the Geysers of Sol de Mañana. Through to the Red Lagoon, declared a RAMSAR site due to the nesting of over 30,000 Andean flamingos (approx. 3 hours travel) before we finally reach Villamar (approx. 2 hours travel).
Lunch is included in today's services.
Dinner is included at tonight's hotel.

Hito Cajón / REA / Villamar

This morning after breakfast we continue across Valle de las Rocas, a famous rock formation caused by wind erosion. We pass the villages of Alota, Culpina K and San Cristobal. Culpina K features artwork designed by the Bolivian artist Gaston Ugalde, including several metal trees. The town is built from natural materials and the houses painted with natural pigmentation. San Cristobal was relocated from its original location because of the zinc and silver deposits in the vicinity. The San Cristobal silver mine is one of the largest silver mines in the world. The colonial church was moved stone by stone from its original location.
Continuing to the Trains Cemetery to finally reach Colchani Village on the shores of the Uyuni Salt Flats.
A picnic lunch is included in today's services.
Dinner is included at tonight's hotel.

Villamar to Colchani
This morning after breakfast we set off across the Great Salt Flats to Colchani village, where we observe the methods of salt extraction and salt processing. We continue to Incahuasi Island (better known as Fish Island) - an oasis with a unique and isolated ecosystem that features algae and fossils. The area is covered with giant columnar cacti up to 10 metres high, some over 100 years old. Against the backdrop of the salt flats extending to the horizon, this landscape makes for spectacular photos. After a picnic lunch, we travel north to visit the pre-Colombian Pucara de Ayque fort and the nearby chullpares on the foothills of Thunupa volcano. We then head east to Uyuni to the airport where you will travel to La Paz. Lunch is included in today's service. Uyuni, founded in 1889 by Bolivian president Aniceto Arce, is still an important military base. It lies in south-western Bolivia, 3,670 metres above sea level and situated on the edge of the Salar de Uyuni, the largest salt flat in the world. The Salar de Uyuni covers over 10,000 square kilometres of the Bolivian Altiplano and is fringed by the mountains of the Andes. Beneath it lies the world’s largest lithium reserve estimated to be about 100 million tons and accounting for around 70% of the world’s lithium reserves. The salt in the salt flats is over 120 metres deep. The area is remote, arid and cold, stark, yet stunning, boasting extraordinary beauty and a silence that is captivating.
Uyuni Salt Flat - Uyuni
Flight from Uyuni to La Paz. as scheduled.
Flight Uyuni to La Paz
On arrival, please make your way through to the Arrivals Hall where our representative will be waiting for you to transfer you to your hotel. He/she will be holding a sign with your name on it. Please note this service is with a driver only. El Alto airport is the highest International airport in the world at 4,080 metres above sea level.
Arrival transfer in La Paz

La Paz has a spectacular setting in a deep bowl surrounded by snow-capped mountains of the Altiplano. It lies in the shadow of the towering 6,438m high Mt. Illimani, always snow-covered and visible from many parts of the city. The city (from the main square) is 3,636 metres above sea level but the neighbouring city of El Alto where La Paz International Airport is located lies at over 4,000 metres. Some of the highlights of La Paz itself include Plaza Murillo, San Francisco Church and the ’’Witches Market’’ where vendors sell dried llama foetuses and frogs, dried llama dung, herbs, remedies and other ingredients used in Aymara traditions and rituals.

La Paz
This morning you will be collected from your hotel to discover the fascinating city of La Paz, on a full day city tour. Visit the Gold, Murillo and Costumbrista Museums and also visit the 'Mirador de Killi Killi' from where you will magnificent views of the city. Also visit various street markets including a traditional market selling agricultural products from the highlands, and the famous Witches Market. Take a cable car ride (the highest in the world) for more outstanding views of the city before driving to the outskirts of the city to the Moon Valley, where a clay Mountain has been impressively shaped by erosion. On completion of your tour you will be transferred to your hotel. Lunch is included in today's services.
La Paz City and Moon Valley
This morning you depart La Paz for Puno. Travelling along the Pan-American Highway through the Bolivian highlands, visiting the millenary Tiwanaku ruins (1½ hours), it was one of the oldest centres of American culture. Carbon 14 dating gives an average between 400 AD to 1100 AD and is considered the cradle of the American man and one of the most developed cultures at the time. Its main buildings are Kalasasaya temple with its most notable works: Puerta del Sol (Sun gate), Ponce and Fraile monoliths; Akapana pyramid and Semi-underground temple. This trip continues on for 1 hour to the border with Peru. After clearing Peruvian immigration, you will continue on to Puno (3 hours) stopping on route at Pomata church and Hayu-Marca, where we will visit Aramu Muru (honoring an Inca priest called Aramu), a “dimensional door”, 7mts high and 7mts long. Nowadays locals do rituals in order to try to open this door. 10km from this mystical place is Juli, also known as little Rome, where we will visit 2 of its 4 colonial churches from the 16th Century: San Pedro and San Juan with an impressive painting collection from the colonial times and from the “Cusco School”. Our last stop will be in Chucuito town, here we will visit the Inca-Uyu ruins which used to be an Inca Fertility Temple. Also allow time to admire the colonial churches, Santo Domingo, and the Assumption Temple. You will be dropped off to your hotel on arrival into Puno. Lunch is included in today's services.
La Paz to Puno

Puno lies on the shores of Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world. It is the largest city in the Southern Altiplano and an important agricultural and livestock (llamas and alpaca) region. It sits at an altitude of over 3,800 metres and is a picturesque hillside city and a melting pot of the Aymara and Quechua culture.

Puno

Early this morning you will be collected from your hotel and transferred to the port to board a fully equipped speedboat with on board service to visit various islands on Lake Titicaca. First stop is Taquile Island where you will explore a scenic and less touristy area. Enjoy time on a pristine sandy beach to relax and feel the serenity of Lake Titicaca. We then hike along a pre-Inca trail with spectacular landscapes of the island, visiting families of weavers to learn about their textile art and symbolism. In 2005, "Taquile and its Textile Art" were proclaimed "Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity" by UNESCO. After three hours on Taquile, board the speedboat for a short journey to the community of Santa Maria-Llachon, on the tip of the Capachica Peninsula. This is a picturesque off the beaten track destination. We are welcomed by the small Quechua speaking community and introduced to an intensive cultural experience, observing the traditions of the community and participating in an ancient ceremony to learn about their magical world. Experience the preparation of "Pachamanca", a traditional way of cooking meat, fish and potatoes using underground ovens, and one of the main dishes of Peruvian cuisine. Enjoy these delicacies in a small, but scenic restaurant (included in tour price). For the more adventurous there is an optional kayak along the coast of Llachon. After lunch we leave Santa Maria and arrive at a remote area of the National Reserve of Lake Titicaca to explore Uros Ccapi. These are considered to be the last authentic floating islands, less commercial and little visited. The Uros are descendants of one of the oldest cultures in South America. There are optional tours in reed boats before we depart back to Puno. On arrival at the port, you will be transferred to your hotel. Please note this is small group tour.

Please note there is a minimum number of passengers requested to operate this tour from December to March, if the required number of passengers is not reached we will offer you a similar alternative. Please also note that between the months of January and March the ceremony of "Pachamama" will be subject to weather conditions.

Titicaca Uncovered

You will be collected from your hotel at the appropriate time and transferred to the airport for your onward flight.

Transfer to the airport for onward destination
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ITINERARY ADD-ONS

  • Travel by train or by bus through the scenic La Raya pass from Puno to Cusco and add on our Signature Peru package, visiting Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley  

  • With several direct flights per day from Santiago to Atacama, spend time in Chile's capital city - Santiago, before starting this package with our Santiago Extension package.

  • Fly direct from Puno to Lima and spend time in Peru's capital visiting some of the worlds greatest restaurants, then head south to see the Nazca lines, a UNESCO world heritage site. See of Lima & Nazca Extension package

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Important Information

  • Private airport transfers
    Internal flights as part of this itinerary*
    Accommodation with breakfast daily
    Sightseeing with local English speaking guides as detailed in the itinerary
    Other meals where stated

    EXCLUSIONS: 

    International flights
    Visa and reciprocity fees (if applicable)
    Travel insurance
    Beverages
    Personal expenses
    Gratuities for tour guides and drivers
    Any items not mentioned as included
     

  • 3 (High altitude, unsealed roads and basic accommodation)
  • Available upon request

  • *** During the rainy season (Nov/Mar) the visit to Uyuni salt lake & Isla Pescado will be possible only if weather conditions permit it.

    We would recommend packing clothing suitable for a mountain environment, including sun protection and sunglasses.

    Weather at high altitude can change very quickly and the sun reflected off the Salt Lake is particularly strong.

     

     

  • Season and availability

Accommodation

We believe that appropriate accommodation should add to the authentic travel experience, as well as providing utmost enjoyment. For that reason our accommodation is scrutinised by our staff on the ground frequently, ensuring the properties adhere to our high standards. This key will help you understand the levels of accommodation available on this tour.

SPEAK TO A SPECIALIST

Your Destination Specialists will turn your South America adventure dream into a reality. With exceptional knowledge and first-hand experience, our Destinations Specialists will assist in every way possible to make your journey the most memorable it can be, matching not only the itinerary, but the accommodation and activities to suit your style of travel and budget.

Sustainability

Chimu Adventures undertakes a number of sustainability measures within its operations including:

1) Only using local guides and office staff to both maximise local employment opportunities and minimise carbon footprints. Local guides also ensure you benefit from the intimate knowledge, passion and culture of the country you’re visiting.

2) Where possible, using locally owned and operated boutique hotels to maximise the return to the local community.

3) Chimu’s “Pass it on” programme has provided funding to hundreds of local community projects in Latin America. Our aim is to empower local communities, helping them to develop their own infrastructure for the future. Since 2006, we have been working with Kiva (a well-known Non-Governmental Organisation), providing hundreds of loans to local businesses all over South America.

4) In our pre tour information we provide a range of tips and advice on how to minimise your impact on both local environments and communities.

5) Chimu Adventures’ offices also take a number of sustainability measures including carbon offsets for company vehicles and most staff travel. Chimu Adventure’s internal processes are also structures to create a paperless office and to reduce waste. There are also internal programmes to help staff minimise their carbon footprint such as our staff bike purchase assistance plan which encourages office staff to commute to work via bicycle. Currently almost half of our office based staff commute to work via bicycle.

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