San Pedro de Atacama - Hito Cajones - Laguna Verde (Green Lagoon) - Siloli Desert
10:00: Pick up from your Hotel in San Pedro de Atacama.
Private transportation from San Pedro de Atacama to the border crossing at Hito Cajones. You will go through migration and meet your Bolivian driver and the other tourists that will share the tour with you.
Next we will enter the Eduardo Avaroa National Park. Our first stop is at Laguna Verde (Green Lagoon) at the feet of the impressive Licancabur Volcano. This remarkable lake has a surface of over 17 square kilometers and contains salt water with an elevated content of magnesium, arsenic, lead and calcium carbonate, that give this lagoon a brilliant emerald green color.
Continuing the tour we will drive through the Salvador Dalí desert named after the Spanish painter for its surreal landscapes. We will visit the Sol de Mañana geysers, where you can observe steam and bubbling mud emerge from the depths.
The highlight of the first day is the beautiful Red Lagoon (Laguna Colorada). The red colour of the water is caused by the presence of microscopic algae from the Dunaliella Salina species. The lagoon is also home to large numbers of the three species of flamingos endemic in the region: the Andean Flamingo, the James Flamingo and the Chilean Flamingo.
Finally we will head to the hotel and on the way we will visit the Stone Tree (Árbol de Piedra), a very peculiar tree-shaped rock formation. The hotel "Tayka del Desierto" stands in the middle of the colorful Siloli Desert at 4600 meters above sea level.
Meals: Box lunch, Dinner
Siloli desert - Minor Lagoons - Salar de Uyuni - Tahua
After breakfast we will head towards several smaller lagoons, known as "Andean Jewels" (Joyas Andinas Lagoons). The first one is called "Laguna Honda" or Deep Lagoon, and is the smallest of the surrounding lagoons with a great variety of wild ducks and andean geese. The Laguna Hedionda (Stinking Lagoon) is a rather strange lake where the sulphur in the water gives off an odor that can be felt from several kilometers away. The waters of Cañapa Lagoon contrast majestically with the surrounding mountains, extinct volcanoes and the flamingos that inhabit the area.
Close to the border with Chile is the active Ollague volcano. You can see the smoke rising continuously near its peak.
We will go to the Hotel Tayka de Piedra at San Pedro de Quemes for lunch. Close to the hotel is the Burnt Town, burned down by chilean troops during the war with Bolivia at the end of the XIX century.
Finally, we will enter the Salar de uyuni and drive towards Incahuasi Island. This ancient coral island stands in the middle of the salt flat and is the highlight of the day. The stunning and unique flora and fauna make it one of the the most popular sights in the area. You can make a short hike to the top of the island and take spectacular photos.
We continue our trip driving north through the magnificent Salar de Uyuni and head towards Hotel Tayka de Sal at the village of Tahua for the night.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Tahua - Salar de Uyuni - Colchani village - Uyuni town
At 08:00 we will start the day by driving up the Thunupa Volcano. After a 2 hour trek we will reach the Colorado viewpoint (Mirador Colorado) and observe the "Ruta Intersalar": the Salar de Coipasa, Salar de Empexa and the majestic Salar de Uyuni in all its splendor.
Next we will head back to the Salar to take beautiful pictures. We will visit the Playa Blanca Hotel built from blocks of salt. The construction is very basic and since it is in the middle of the salt flat it is surrounded by an astonishing landscape. Afterwards we will observe the "Ojos del Salar" (Eyes of the salt flat), which are holes on the surface of the salt where the brine (salty water) located under the superficial crust bubbles up.
Finally, we will arrive at Colchani village whose residents extract the salt using rudimentary tools. You can buy some salt handicrafts here. Our last stop is the Train Cemetery where you can see a number of old and rusty steam locomotives and rail wagons from the early days of the bolivian railroads.
Arrival to Uyuni town at around 17:00.
* The above itinerary may change without prior notice due to weather conditions or other events beyond our control.
The tour includes:
- Shared transportation 4x4 (4 passengers per vehicle)
- Hotel Tayka del Desierto
- Hotel Tayka de Sal
The tour rate does not include:
- Entrance tickets to the following attractions:
- Eduardo Avaroa National Park, 150 BOB (22 USD) per person.
- Incahuasi Island 30 BOB (5 USD).
- Tunupa Volcano 30 BOB (5 USD).
- Beverages in restaurants and hotels.