2019 - 2020 DEPARTURE DATES & COST
Departures: Each Friday based on minimum of 2 people
Cost: $ 3,685 USD per person
DAY 1 ARRIVE LA PAZ
La Paz – the highest capital city in the world at 3700 meters (10,500 feet) above sea level – is in a valley surrounded by snow capped Andean volcanoes. You will be plunged into a unique and colourful cultural environment. La Paz is a giant street market, beautiful textile crafts, and a place for fascinating people watching. Allow time to acclimate today by taking it slow and drinking local coca tea. Hotel Ritz
DAY 2 LA PAZ – SUCRE
A short flight to Sucre, the "White Jewel" with beautiful restored 16-18th century colonial architecture, churches and convents, a fantastic textile museum and the opportunity to purchase highest quality local textiles. Balance of day and evening at leisure. Overnight 3 nights Samary mi Pueblo.
DAY 3 TARABUCO MARKET
Full day guided excursion to the famous weekly market where the indigenous peoples of the surrounding villages meet to buy, sell and trade their wares. Only once a week on Sundays.
DAY 4 SUCRE – Cultural tour and weaving villages
Visit the mountain area around Sucre. See weaving villages and the Jatum Yampara Community, a project that aims to preserve and protect the identity and the cultural & artistic values of the Yampara culture (J'alqas and Tarabucos). Observation and participation in the process of the making of ceramic and textiles.
DAY 5 SUCRE – POTOSI
Drive to Potosi, approx. 2 hour. Half day city tour in Potosi visiting The Mint Museum, The Cathedral (Exterior), The Tower of the Company, The Historic Arch of Cobija, The Church of San Lorenzo, The Church of San Francisco (Exterior). Visit to a craft market. Hotel Patrimonio.
DAY 6 MINES & UYUNI'S SALT FLATS (Potosí – Tahua)
A 5-hour drive on an unpaved road from Potosí to Uyuni, travelling in the comfort of 4X4 vehicles. On route, visit the famous colonial mines of Porco, or the mines of Pulacayo, before arriving at Uyuni. This is the cradle of one of the most important workers movements in Latin America during the XX century. Arrival to the city of Uyuni for lunch. Enter the salt flats through Colchani and observe how the salt is processed manually. This is the last stop before arriving to the skirt of Tunupa Volcano. Many travellers are overwhelmed by the grandeur and remote beauty when they first see the white salt flats. Arrive Tahua. Overnight at the comfortable Salt Hotel constructed of, you guessed it, salt! Takya del Sel
DAY 7 TAHUA - SAN PEDRO DE QUEMEZ
Caves, fossils and islands are today's attractions during an unforgettable trip through 12,000 km² of fantastic landscapes of salt. The blinding white geology of Uyuni's salt flats resembles an immense glacier. In winter (dry season, from May to October), when the surface hardens, otherworldly geometric figures are formed by the salt particles. Continue toward Chillguilla with a stop at the pucara (Pre-Columbian ruins) – visit a cave of the "fossil whale" and the Mummies of Coquesa. Observe stromatolites (mineral silts that are testimony to the activity of the first unicellular inhabitants of the planet). Enjoy an outdoor lunch break at the Fish Island, located in the middle of the salt flats. Heading south through the salt flats, we encounter Bell Islands enroute to San Pedro de Quemez. Overnight Hotel Takya de Piedro.
DAY 8 SAN PEDRO DE QUEMEZ - OJO DE PERDIZ
Crimson lakes, flamingos, and multi-coloured deserts make for an unforgettable day. After an early start, visit the Burnt Town and Refuge Town, both towns built with stones. On the way back, pass near the still-active Ollagüe Volcano. Visit several lagoons: Honda, Cañapa, Hedionda and Chiarkhota, where three species of flamingos, and well as other birds can be observed. The minerals make for multicolored hues surrounding the lakes. Enter the enormous desert surfaces of sand and stone, leaving behind any sense of defined routes and set directions – you are surrounded by red, orange, ochre, bronze, brown and beige. Enter the Protected Area of Eduardo Alvaroa Reserve (REA), a protected area for rare Andean flora and fauna such as the untamable vicuñas. These cameloids, rare relatives of the llama, endangered due to the demand for their ultra fine wool, travel in small groups. Overnight Hotel Takya de Desierto
DAY 9 OJO DE PERDIZ – SAN PEDRO DE ATACAMA, CHILE
Very early start with one more visit to the reserve to spot the nesting grounds of three species of red and pink flamingos. On our way to Chalviri, see the famous Geysers of the Morning Sun. The Chalviri's Desert and salt flat is another area of extraordinary beauty, which combines the white of the snow and the borax, the ochre of the desert and the blue of the water. Take a bath in the thermal waters and enjoy a field breakfast. After leaving, another great extension of land opens up: The Ladies of the Desert with rocks that have resisted the wind for millennia. And almost as an excess for the senses, when leaving this desert valley, come across the Green Lagoon at the base of the Licancabur Volcano. In the distance, in the Soniquera region, Stone City is often recognizable. Whimsical and sometimes artistic shapes have been sculpted by the wind through time. Continue to the Chile border through the border town of Hito Cajón, about 45 minutes drive, have border formalities and drive 2 hours to the town of San Pedro de Atacama. Overnight 3 nights Casa de Don Thomas.
DAY 10 SAN PEDRO DE ATACAMA
Day at leisure. Options for tours include a visit to the Valley of the Moon, the cultural archeological museum with incredibly preserved local mummies from ancient cultures, exceptionally preserved due to the dryness of the climate. Atacama boasts the 2nd driest climate in the world. An exciting expedition goes to see the geoglyphs in the Hiervas Buena Gorge in the direction of Calama. Here an impressive collection of rock designs tells the ancient history of life in the Atacama. Walks in and around San Pedro take you to the little villages and ancient fortresses that remain. San Pedro itself is full of history and charm, with a church dating from the 1540s, one of the earliest Spanish buildings in Chile. You can also rent mountain bikes and see local sites around the town.
DAY 11 DESERT GEYSERS & HOT SPRINGS
An exciting journey into the Atacama region to visit the cordillera of the Andes to El Tatio geysers where the planet's geothermal energy is visible to man. The geysers burst dramatically forth at sunrise, in a plain surrounded by volcanoes. Visit Puritama Hot Springs.
DAY 12 SAN PEDRO DE ATACAMA
Trip ends in San Pedro de Atacama. OPTIONAL EXTENSIONS IN CHILE can be arranged and added.