Pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable journey through the natural beauty and thrilling adventures of South America. Guided through the eyes of local experts, you will have the chance to admire extraordinary sights and uncover remote hidden treasures. Embark on an Epic overland adventure through the heart of the Atacama Desert and traverse into the Altiplano plateau as your expedition takes you in regions experienced and known by few. Enjoy a custom trip with fascinating excursions and unique lodging experiences catered to your own interests and requests. As the perfect platform for adventure discovery, this expedition is sure to leave you hooked and wanting more!
Welcome to Chile! Upon arrival at the airport in Santiago, you will be greeted by our driver, holding a sign with your name on it. You will be transferred directly to your hotel, for a smooth and comfortable start to your adventure. Get settled into your room and enjoy the rest of the evening at your leisure. (This service is on a private basis.)
A city, which for many years has played second fiddle to Buenos Aires and Rio, Santiago is used to being the underdog metropolis in South America. However, since it's 200-year anniversary, public work projects have aimed to rejuvenate a once stale region, into a desirable destination in itself. The result is that now, more than ever, Santiago is turning into a city worth visiting. New and trendy restaurants, modern hotels, excited locals and bustling shops combine for the perfect gateway to Chile.
Today, you will be picked up from your hotel to embark on a Half Day Tour of Santiago, beginning at the bustling Mercado Central. This well-renowned market, popular with both locals and tourists, supplies many Santiago homes and businesses with fresh fish and produce year round. Next, you will make your way to the Plaza de Armas, Santiago’s main square and kilometre zero, the point from which all distances in the country are measured. Famous architecture in the square includes the Metropolitan Cathedral and the central post office, originally built as a house for Spanish conqueror Pedro de Valdivia. Close by, you will find the Justice Tribunal in a neo-classical building housing the Supreme Court, ex-Congress and beautiful gardens.
Your tour continues towards the Alameda, the main street of the city center, via the busy pedestrian walkway Paseo Ahumada. This walkway is famous for its crowds, shops and diverse people. Once you reach the Alameda, you will walk a couple of blocks west to the Presidential palace, La Moneda. The palace, a model of 18th-century colonial architecture, is one of Santiago’s most recognizable landmarks and a symbol of Chile’s political past and its famously turbulent history. Before heading back to the hotel, you will climb Cerro Santa Lucía, where Santiago was founded in 1541 by Pedro Valdivia. From the top of the hill, you will be rewarded with an incredible 360-degree panoramic view of the city. Your last stop will be to visit the bohemian Lastarria neighbourhood, lined with cafés, restaurants, small theatres, bookstores and boutique shops. (This service is on a private basis.)
This morning, you'll be met by our driver in your hotel lobby and transferred to the airport in time for your domestic flight to Calama to begin your Desert Adventure. On arrival in Calama, you'll be met by a hotel representative to transfer you to your hotel.
* Please note that this flight is not currently included but we can assist upon request.
From wide, flat saltpans, to jagged mountains and an overly-dry atmosphere, there are few matches to Atacama's beauty in South America. Atacama's alien landscape continues for miles and miles in every direction. Traveling here very much feels like removing oneself from society, from civilization, from everything. Its expansiveness allows for tons of activities from hiking to off roading, so despite the huge emptiness of the high plateau, you'll never run out of things to do.
This afternoon, you'll do your first hike in the vast and amazing Valle de la Luna. You'll trek over sand dunes until you reach a viewpoint of one of the world's most beautiful regions. The Valle de la Luna is an area of outstandingly beautiful geological formations that are every bit as poetic as the name suggests. Crinkly peaks and jagged cliffs seem to burst out of the otherwise flat surface, while the combination of abundant craters and drifting sand make it easy to see why this valley was named after the moon. (This service is on a shared basis.)
Today you will visit Salar De Atacama and Altiplanic Lagoons.
The Atacama Salt Flat is the largest salt flat in the whole of Chile at around 3,000 km². It is also unusual in that while most salt flats in the world have a smooth, crisp surface, the top layer of the Salar de Atacama is churned up and pitted, since unlike the others it is never covered in water. It does, however, have a sinkhole lake which is so salty it creates a similar floating effect to that found in the Dead Sea.
The Miscanti and Miñiques Lagoons are found in an area of outstanding beauty, lying high up in the Andes mountain range at the feet of two volcanoes. The two brackish lakes were once joined as one large lake until an eruption from one of the nearby volcanoes split them down the middle. Aside from being a great place to soak up the views, there is also an abundance of birdlife on the lakes including horned coots, silvery grebes and Andean gulls. It is an ideal place to spot vicuñas, a wild camelid similar in appearance to a llama since they’re only found above 3,200 metres. A gentle walk takes visitors from the road close to the Miscanti lagoon to appreciate the wildlife before they continue on to its sister Miñiques. (This service is on a shared basis.)
The very early wake-up call from the hotel will be well worth it when you arrive at the Geysers of Tatio and see them in action. From almost 900 meters below the earth, boiling steam bursts up to 40 meters over the surface of the earth. A scrumptious breakfast will be served upon arrival before we walk through the geothermal fields with the geysers erupting nearby. As you return from the Geysers, you'll witness a magnificent view of the Tocopurri and Sairecabur volcanoes.
You'll arrive back in town in time to have lunch. The afternoon will be free to rest or explore San Pedro. (This service is on a shared basis.)
San Pedro de Atacama is the archaeological capital of Chile, not only are its landscapes part of the region's appeal, its history will also enrich your stay and your experience. This morning, you will visit the most important archaeological sites in the area and will travel to the past to learn about the origins of the Atacameña and Licanantai culture. At an Atacameña Farm, you will see how a family combines the ancestral traditions of agriculture and livestock with tourism, and have the opportunity to taste some locally produced products. Then, you'll head to the Village of Tulor, the oldest settlement in the Salar de Atacama basin and one of the first indicators of sedentarism in the region. Finally, you will move to the center of San Pedro de Atacama to travel back in time to the first colony, where one of the most symbolic constructions is the Church of San Pedro, built of adobe this church has been miraculously preserved to this very day.
After lunch, you'll head to discover the Yerbas Buenas Valley, which is the junction of the Domeyko mountain range, the Salt mountain range and the Andes. Here you'll observe petroglyphs from different ages, and then continue your journey to the Rainbow Valley, which is full of colorful mud caused by the diverse minerals found in the soil.
Lastly, you’ll visit the town of Rio Grande, where you'll find clay craftsmen, garlic and onion farmers, and a former pass used by llamas caravans between San Pedro and Chiu-chiu. (This service is on a shared basis.)
Your 4x4 expedition with a drive from San Pedro de Atacama to the Bolivian border crossing Hito Cajones. Once you cross the border, the scenery will be dominated by the Licancabur Volcano and the Green Lagoon at its base, one of the jewels of the Eduardo Avaroa National Reserve. You'll continue driving and enter the Valley of the Desert Ladies, then head to the Hot Springs of Polque for a relaxing bath in the natural hot pools before making a visit to the Sol de Mañana Geysers.
Afterwards, you'll continue driving and arrive at the Red Lagoon, famous for its different species of flamingoes. The red color of the lagoon is produced by active algae reacting with the wind and the sun's radiation. The same algae produces the the pink color of the flamingos feet and feathers. The variety of color in the desert is astounding, you'll be surrounded by scenery soaked in red, orange, ochre, brass, brown and beige. While on the move, you'll also want to keep an eye out for wild Vicuña, with their elegant figures and other Altiplano wildlife. Continue on and end the day in Ojo de Perdiz, where you'll spend the night in the heart of the Siloli desert. (This service is on a shared basis.)
Nestled between two ranges of the rugged Andes Mountains, the Altiplano is a vast, windswept plateau that stretches more than 900 kilometers from southern Peru to northern Argentina. Most of this arid upland, which averages about 3,750 meters in elevation, sits in western Bolivia, where its surface is dotted with a series of stunning natural attractions. From the snow-white crystals of the world’s largest salt flats and flocks of pink flamingos in a brick-red lake to the startlingly azure waters of Lake Titicaca, the planet’s highest navigable lake, the Altiplano offers spectacular, vividly colored vistas for intrepid travelers
Today, you'll make your way to a chain of lagoons named Ramadita, Honda, Chiarkota, Hedionda and Cañapa. Massive flocks of Andean, James and Chilean flamingoes are in the lagoons, along with Andean seagulls and wild ducks. The lagoon is surrounded by impressive sand and rock formations, shaped by the millenary winds, borax and sulfur minerals. You'll continue towards the Mirador de Ollague, where you'll have lunch outdoors before heading to Pueblo Refugio (refugee village), known for its influx of people from Pueblo Quemado (burnt village) who arrived after a big fire destroyed many of their homes. Tonight you'll spend the night at the Tayka Stone Hotel, which is made of stone and volcanic sand. (This service is on a private basis.)
After breakfast, you'll wander the hotel grounds and Pueblo Quemado, which was burnt down in Bolivia's war with Chile in 1879. After, you'll help out a local llama herder by the name of Doña Marta round up the heard and have a chance to get up close and personal with these iconic animals. You'll then board your 4X4 and drive an hour to the abandoned hamlet of Cuye. Continuing on to Incahuasi island, you'll have great views of volcanic rock and giant cacti as you make your way up to a viewpoint of the surrounding white landscape. Here, you'll enjoy some lunch as well as an optional walk up to a panoramic viewpoint for an incredible full 360º view of the Salt Flats below.
After your break, you'll drive on to the little known Salar Sensual, passing through the beautiful Ch'jini where local inhabitants will walk up with you to the 'cathedral', or fortress ruins, on a mound 40 meters above the village. The ruins are believed to date back to the period after the Tiwanacota era. You'll then continue on to the Ch'jini cave, with its interesting and fragile formations (allowing just 5 people per visit), before visiting the place of the ancient ancestral populations on the northeastern shore. Back in your jeep, you'll continue to Coquesa and up to Thunupa where you'll do a short walk up to a cave which is incredibly still home to a few mummies. As the day ends and sunset approaches, you'll drive towards Tahua, and spend the night at the Tayka Salt Hotel offering unparalleled panoramic views of the Salar. (This service is on a private basis.)
After breakfast, you'll drive past the Tunupa Volcano, which sits at 5,321 m (17,457 ft) above sea level. From here, you'll head on to Salinas de Garci Mendoza, at the foot of the volcano, where you'll visit a local village and church representative of the colonial architecture. Continuing on to the Jayu Quta crater, you'll see a huge depression caused by a meteorite that fell millions of years ago. Due to its vast size and symmetry, the crater is known as Maracaná in reference to the famous football stadium in Rio de Janeiro. Your final lunch will be in Quillacas, which will provide you with one last stunning view of the surrounding lakes and salt flat.
With a full stomach, you'll drive towards the Thunupa volcano and continue to the city of Oruro. From here, you'll depart on the final 200km through the Altiplano to your final destination, the Bolivian capital La Paz. (This service is on a private basis.)
A city scraping the clouds, La Paz's altitude will take your breath away as much as its beauty. Thanks to immigration from all over South America, but mainly Peru, La Paz is one of the continent's fastest growing cities. Look into the mountains, and you'll be lucky to see a space not occupied by hastily-constructed homes. This fast-paced growth sometimes means that beautification has not yet caught up to utility, but the classic parts of the city boast a colonial style to be proud of. Lively markets, trendy restaurants, and fascinating museums are all popping up around the city, and its people are excited to be a part of the boom.
This morning you will be met at your hotel to begin your half-day tour of Bolivia's capital city - La Paz. First visit the famous Witch Doctor's Market, San Francisco Colonial Church and the typical handicrafts of the Sagarnaga Street. The tour continues to Plaza Murillo where the Cathedral, the Government Palace and the National Congress buildings are located. Then, visit the famous colonial street Jaen where interesting museums are clustered together, followed by a visit to the replica of the semi-subterranean temple of the Tiwanaku Culture. To change scenery the tour continues to the residential areas of Obrajes, Calacoto and La Florida. The tour ends with a visit to the unique Moon Valley, where passengers will have the opportunity to walk around, and visit a ceramic workshop with a demonstration of the art of pottery.
Transfer to main Cable Car Station to enjoy the incredible experience to fly between the mountains on board of the most modern and unique transportation mean of South America. Two lines connects the city of La Paz and El Alto. During the ride amazing views of the city will be spotted. You'll then be transferred from the station back to your hotel. (This service is on a private basis.)
Sadly, your Epic Overland exploration comes to an end today. However, you will be leaving with new and unforgettable memories and experiences! You'll be met by your driver and picked up at your hotel in La Paz and transferred to the airport in good time for your departing international flight home. (This service is on a private basis.)
We hope you had an incredible trip and we wish you safe and pleasant travels onward!
Le Rêve sits amid the embassies and private mansions on a quiet street off the bustling Avenue Providencia. Sister property to the business-oriented Hotel Plaza San Francisco, it’s only a 15-minute stroll to boutiques in Santiago’s colonial heart for shopping, or a short cab ride to the upscale Vitacura and Las Condes restaurants for dinner. The four-story town house has a Parisian facade of beige stucco with shutters and wrought-iron railings, and plushly papered corridors with etchings of formal French gardens. The 31 rooms continue the Gallic theme with a penchant for ornamentation: gilt-framed botanical prints, bronze curtain pommels, velvet-and-suede bedcovers, and enough pleated rope, tassels, and adornments to start your own shop.
Hotel Poblado Kimal is situated in the historical center of the ancient oasis town of San Pedro de Atacama, on the corner of the main street, Caracoles. The 21 charming wood and adobe cabin-like rooms with terraces are distributed amidst the calm of a fruit orchard in an arrangement reminiscent of an ancient settlement– “poblado”. Honouring a tradition of respect for the Pacha Mama (Mother Earth) and Inti (Father Sun) , solar energy has been used for lighting, every tree has been left in place and wooden pathways allow for the traditional flood irrigation of the land.
In harmony with this Andean landscape, the Tayka del Desierto Hotel opens its doors to welcome visitors from all over the world, offering the opportunity to visit one of the most beautiful places in South America, the Eduardo Avaroa Flora and Fauna Reserve, where there are the wonderful Lagunas de Colores, the Sun Geysers of Tomorrow and the Stone Tree. In its construction, volcanic stones carved for the walls were used and an architectural design specially designed to tolerate the intensity of the desert climate. Solar energy is used and there is also a heating system based on radiators that circulate hot water and emit heat. The hotel also offers food service in the restaurant, from where our passengers can enjoy a wonderful view of the majestic Siloli Desert.
A few meters from the historical ruins of the Quemado Village of San Pedro de Quemes and in the vicinity of cultural and natural attractions that you can not miss, the Hotel Tayka de Piedra stands. Located south of the Salar de Uyuni, facing a peninsula and in an environment of majestic mountains; the Hotel Tayka de Piedra welcomes all the year round a large number of visitors who visit this area in search of new and unforgettable experiences. The warmth of the staff and the comfort of the facilities created especially for you, await your visit ...
Have you ever imagined yourself being in a magical landscape as white as the clouds in the sky? This place exists, and it is located in one of the most famous natural beauties of South America. The Hotel Tayka de Sal is located on the north bank of the Salar de Uyuni, at the foot of the Tunupa volcano and at an altitude of 3700 meters above sea level. Its location next to the Salar, the Tunupa Volcano and the town of Tahua allows you to make short walks in its surroundings and familiarize yourself with the regions surroundings.
Set in a colonial-style building only 20 meters from San Francisco Square, La Casona Boutique Hotel offers rooms with free Wi-Fi, a restaurant, and a pleasant and convenient stay with Camacho Avenue located just 150 meters away. After 8 years of restoration, La Casona was declared by the local authorities as an architectural heritage site of the city of La Paz for its colonial architecture dating back to the 17th century. Decorated with parquet floors and gabled roofs, rooms at La Casona are fitted with fans, air conditioning and heating. All have private balconies overlooking the city. A buffet breakfast is served daily. Free visits to El Tapado Museum can be organized. Massage can be requested, and bikes can be rented to explore the city. La Casona Hotel Boutique is also just 15 km from El Alto International Airport.
*Pricing is based on two persons traveling together, based on availability, subject to change.