Argentina to Chile via Bolivia with Uyuni salt flats tour

Trip ideas
Duration (in days): 8

From: Salta

To: San Pedro de Atacama

From

£2,055

Exc. International flights (per person, based on 2 sharing) 
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Overview

This discovery of the Andes and Bolivia’s Altiplano (‘high plains’) will introduce you to a little of Argentina, Bolivia and Chile in a week.

Begin in colonial Salta in Bolivia, before taking the long (but worthwhile!) journey by bus and a train through canyons, mountains and lagoons to reach the Uyuni salt flats. Witness towering, 12m high ancient cacti and take the Uyuni salt flats tour to see the gleaming, brilliant white salt lake, before spending the night in a hotel made entirely of salt!

Next, you’ll continue your drive into the vast Atacama desert of Chile, spotting hundreds of flamingos and stopping to look at the entrancing volcanic activity and 'fumaroles'. Finally, you’ll visit one of the world’s largest geothermal fields at dawn, to see these giant geysers spout hot water into the cool morning air creating vast pillars of steam. This epic trip is jam-packed with incredible natural wonders you’ll find nowhere else and guarantees no shortage of memorable, out-of-this-world experiences!

This Chile itinerary can be tailored to suit your requirements; please contact one of our consultants to start planning your dream trip.

Highlights

  • Visit Argentina, Bolivia and Chile in one trip
  • Explore the colonial city of Salta, Argentina
  • Take a scenic train ride from Villazon to Uyuni
  • Try a typical Bolivian lunch surrounded by hundreds of giant cacti
  • Witness the spectacular salt flats at Uyuni and Atacama
  • Discover the striking landscapes between Bolivia and Atacama, Chile
Itinerary

 

Itinerary in brief:

  • 2 nights in Salta, Argentina
  • 1 night in Uyuni, Bolivia
  • 1 night near the Salt Lake
  • 3 nights in San Pedro de Atacama, Chile

 

Day 1: Arrive in Salta, Argentina

On arrival at Salta airport, you will be met and taken by private transfer to your hotel where you will check in for a 2-night stay. 


Day 2: Free Day

You now have a full day to explore Salta and its surroundings. The north west of Argentina is culturally rich, so why not explore the colonial city centre? If you prefer, we can add a full day excursion to see the beautiful landscapes and national parks dotted with cacti or perhaps a vineyard tour. Speak to one of our consultants to add a tour. 


Day 3: Bus to La Quiaca     

You have the morning and afternoon free before you are collected from your hotel and taken by private transfer to the bus terminal where you will board the comfortable, overnight tourist bus service to La Quiaca. You’ll arrive the following morning. 


Day 4: Train to Uyuni, Bolivia    

Once you arrive in La Quiaca you’ll have a few hours free to have some breakfast, relax or explore before your next journey.

Around noon, you will be picked up at the border between Argentina and Bolivia and taken by private transfer to the train station in Villazon, to board the train to Uyuni. Although you’ve spent a long time travelling, this is the best way to get around here, and your next destination makes it worthwhile!

When you arrive in Uyuni, you will be collected and driven by private transfer to your hotel where you will check in for a 1-night stay. 


Day 5: Uyuni Salt Lake       

Today, you’ll be picked up at your hotel and taken for a private tour to the Uyuni Salt Lake and Isla Incawasi. Uyuni is the largest salt flat in the world and is home to some stunning and surreal landscapes, so get your camera ready!

You’ll have lunch at Isla Incawasi, an interesting oasis with formations of algae and fossils, covered by thousands of giant columnar cacti! Some of these cacti are more than one hundred years old and can grow to a height of over 12 metres. In the late afternoon, you will be driven to the fascinating Salt Hotel near the salt flats, and check in for a 1-night stay, dinner and a good rest! The hotel is quite cosy, but it’s made entirely of salt!


Day 6: Uyuni to San Pedro de Atacama         

In the early morning, you will be collected from your hotel to start the private, overland journey to the Atacama Desert in Chile. The journey today reaches altitudes of around 4,900m above sea level, so we suggest a light dinner and an early night the day before.

The drive itself is mesmerising, passing through distinctive landscapes and lagoons of different colours from red to green. You’ll see plenty of local wildlife too. At Laguna Colorada, you’ll see three species of flamingo: ‘tokoko’ with red plumage, ‘chururu’ with whit-ish plumage and ‘jututu’ with pink plumage.

You’ll have a packed lunch provided today, before continuing to Sol de Mañana geysers to witness some spectacular and intense volcanic activity, including some fumaroles (openings in the earth’s crust). You’ll reach San Pedro de Atacama after crossing the border; then you’ll be taken to your hotel where you will check in for a 3-night stay.

In the late afternoon, we’ve included a small group tour so you can visit the Death and Moon valleys, to witness the sunset over these magnificent sand and stone formations. After your tour, you’ll be driven back to your hotel.


Day 7: San Pedro, Toconao and Atacama Salt Lake

After breakfast, you will go on a tour of San Pedro followed by a visit to the 3,000-year-old pre-Columbian village of Tulor. The archaeological remains here are the oldest evidence of human settlement in the valley.

You’ll have lunch and continue to the village of Toconao and the Atacama Salt Lake which is an inland sea that was formed millions of years ago and is characterised by stunning rock formations and crystallised salt. In the late afternoon, you will be taken back to your hotel to spend the evening at leisure. 


Day 8: El Tatio and Machuca      

It’s an early start today. You’ll be picked up before dawn and driven to the El Tatio Geysers, the third biggest and the highest in the world. By visiting at dawn, you’ll be able to see the cold morning air creating maximum contrast with the steaming geysers, and see tall pillars of steam rise from the ground. It makes for some eery photos.

The scenery is spectacular, and at 4,300m, these are the highest geysers in the world. We suggest bringing warm clothing as temperatures at this altitude and time of day are low. You’ll have a packed breakfast,  followed by a visit to the ting, traditional village of Machuca. You will return to San Pedro late morning and will have a free afternoon.


Day 9: Depart San Pedro de Atacama   

You will be collected from your hotel at a suitable time and driven to Calama airport where you will connect with your onward travel plans. 


 

Info

May to October might be the best season for this itinerary if you want clear blue skies and drier conditions, however, bear in mind that it is also the time when temperatures will be lower especially at night in the highlands and the desert.

This itinerary is purely a suggestion and can be tailor-made to your requirements, so please contact us with your dates and requests, and we’ll put together a bespoke quotation for you

What's included: 

  • 7 nights accommodation with daily breakfast
  • Return airport transfers
  • Overnight bus Salta to La Quiaca
  • Train Villazon to Uyuni
  • Meals as mentioned in the itinerary
  • Excursions as indicated in the itinerary

Not included: 

  • Flights
  • Any meals not mentioned
  • Any excursions not mentioned
  • Personal expenses
  • Tips & gratuities
  • International airport tax in Bolivia of $25.00 per person (subject to change)
  • Domestic airport tax in Bolivia of $2.5 per person (subject to change)
Accommodation

Seven nights in 4* standard accommodation. One night will be spent on the bus from Salta to La Quiaca in a semi-bed seat.

Hotels in this category include:

  • Design Suites Salta

  • Salt Hotel

  • Hotel Kimal

 

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