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Deserts and Salt Flats of Chile and Bolivia

  • TAILOR-MADE HOLIDAY IDEA

Duration

12 Days

Prices Start from

£10,795pp (ex. flights)

This immersive overland adventure is brimming with superlatives and other worldly beauty. Journey from the driest desert in the world to the largest salt flat on earth. Travel in a top of the range 4×4, accompanied by private driver and guide and staying in award winning lodges. 

Cross the altiplano, exploring the Atacama Desert in Chile, the vast salt flats of Uyuni in Bolivia and everything in between. Follow a section of an ancient Inca trail and traverse remote yet culturally rich landscapes peppered with volcanic mountains, tranquil lagoons and Andean wetlands.

Key Highlights of this Itinerary

View of Explora Mountain Lodge in Ramaditas with lake and mountains beyond, Bolivia 1

Outstanding Accommodation

Stay in accommodation purpose-built for adventure and set in isolated locations.

Cycling, Islas del Salar, Uyuni Salt Flats, Altiplano, Bolivia 2

Bespoke Explorations

Plan each day with your expert guide to tailor your activities and move at your own pace.

Flamingoes, Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia 3

Ethereal Landscapes

Journey through some of the world’s most remote and wild landscapes.

Atacama Desert, Chile 4

Astronomic Skies

Get lost in the immensity of the altiplano skies, from sunrise to sunset and beyond.

Explore our suggested itinerary

  • Day 1

    Calama Airport to Atacama Desert (Explora Atacama)

  • Days 2 - 4

    Atacama Desert (Explora Atacama)

  • Day 5

    Atacama Desert to Ramaditas (Ramaditas Mountain Lodge)

  • Day 6

    Ramaditas (Ramaditas Mountain Lodge)

  • Day 7

    Ramaditas to Chituca (Chituca Mountain Lodge)

  • Day 8

    Chituca (Chituca Mountain Lodge)

  • Day 9

    Chituca to Uyuni (Explora Uyuni)

  • Day 10-11

    Uyuni (Explora Uyuni)

  • Day 12

    Depart Uyuni

Day 1

Calama Airport to Atacama Desert (Explora Atacama)

Transfer from Calama airport to San Pedro de Atacama and your accommodation, located at 2,407 metres above sea level. Spend time with your guide to plan your explorations for the coming days.

Days 2 - 4

Atacama Desert (Explora Atacama)

Spend three days exploring the region with your driver and guide, by foot, by horseback, by bike or 4×4.

Day 5

Atacama Desert to Ramaditas (Ramaditas Mountain Lodge)

Travel overland through the Andes to the border with Bolivia. Switch vehicles and continue through the altiplano visiting geysers, salt flats, wetlands and flamingo covered lagoons. Continue to your accommodation in time to see the sun set.

Day 6

Ramaditas (Ramaditas Mountain Lodge)

Explore the altiplano, a landscape of glassy lagoons, endless valleys, stark salt flats and imposing rock formations.

Day 7

Ramaditas to Chituca (Chituca Mountain Lodge)

Travel overland to Chituca stopping to walk through ancient mines and valleys. Enjoy lunch on the shores of Turquiri lagoon, home to a wealth of birdlife and striking rock formations.

Day 8

Chituca (Chituca Mountain Lodge)

Explore Chituca via ancient trails, discovering quinoa plantations and ancient rock art depicting Andean history. Climb the mountains for a view of the region’s active volcano and soak up the silence and beauty of the night sky.

Day 9

Chituca to Uyuni (Explora Uyuni)

After further explorations of the area travel overland to Uyuni and the salt flats, stopping to visit the Gruta de Las Galaxias caves. Hike or overland to Pescado Island before continuing to Uyuni lodge, on the slopes of the Tunupa volcano.

Day 10-11

Uyuni (Explora Uyuni)

Spend two days exploring with your guide.

Day 12

Depart Uyuni

After breakfast, drive across the eastern area of the salt flat towards Uyuni airport for onward travel.

Our travel experts can tailor this itinerary to suit you.

More details

Windswept Altiplano landscapes, Bolivia
Altiplano landscapes
Flower covered plains, Chituca, Altiplano, Bolivia
Chituca

The Altiplano - Another World

Meaning high plains, altiplano is a generic term used to describe the vast region stretching from Chile to north west Argentina and into Bolivia. From the Atacama Desert to the salt plain of Uyuni, this magical, sometimes hostile yet starkly beautiful and incredibly diverse terrain is like another world. Solitude, isolation and silence are king, offering true adventure and the chance to set foot where few others have.

Flamingoes, Atacama Salar, Chile
Atacama Salt Flats
La Pukara, Atacama Desert
Altiplano lagoon landscape, Atacama Desert, Chile
Altiplano lagoon landscape
Andean Cat on rocks, Atacama Desert, Chile
Andean Cat

Atacama Desert

Sitting between the surf of the Pacific and the towering peaks of the Chilean Andes, the Atacama Desert is one of the harshest, yet one of the most beautiful, places on earth. Steep sand dunes, glistening salt flats, turquoise lagoons, geysers, hot springs and mountains lie in wait, ready to be discovered. Explore on foot, by horseback, by bike or in a 4×4; a range of walks and rides are available to suit all abilities.

Uyuni Salt Flats, Altiplano, Bolivia
Uyuni salt flats

Salar de Uyuni

Located in Bolivia, Salar de Uyuni is the largest salt flat in the world and stretches 10,000 kilometres squared. A seemingly interminable array of dazzling hexagonal shapes creates one of the world’s most unique landscapes. The sloped multi-coloured hues of Tunupa Volcano are in stark contrast to the salt flat it sits alongside. Experience the magnitude of the landscape, explore ancient trails, spot Andean wildlife and gain insight into rural life in this harsh environment.

View of Explora Mountain Lodge in Ramaditas with lake and mountains beyond, Bolivia
Explora Mountain Lodge in Ramaditas
View from Explora Mountain Lodge in Chituca, Bolivia
View from Explora Mountain Lodge in Chituca
Explora Mountain Lodges, Ramaditas, Chituca, Bolivia
Explora Mountain Lodge in Ramaditas
Exterior of Explora Mountain Lodge in Chituca, Bolivia
Explora Mountain Lodge in Chituca

Extraordinary Accommodation

Designed to ensure minimal impact and interference on the surrounding landscapes, whilst highlighting their beauty, the accommodation in this holiday idea offers an extraordinary stay for a privileged few. From the discreet design of Explora Atacama, to the visionary Bolivian properties. The remote four room Explora Mountain Lodges in Ramaditas and Chituca have been purpose built for adventure – prefabricated and minimalist, their footprint is light. Onto the slopes of the Tunupa volcano, the six rooms at Uyuni Lodge have uninterrupted views across the pure white salt flats.

How does this holiday make a positive impact?

Explora Lodges are committed to conserving the land, nature and culture within which they are privileged to have their properties. The Puritama Explora Conservation Reserve is a protected area within the Atacama Desert, spanning 8,000 hectares. The reserve allows ongoing monitoring and research of many species that are critical to the diverse ecosystem, including the elusive and endangered Andean cat.

Your stay at Explora Atacama directly contributes to the Council of Atacameño People, supporting the education of indigenous Lickan Antay youth, to whom secondary school education is not available. The project provides accommodation and catering at the boarding school to 25 local and regional students each year.

Award-winning Chilean architect Max Núñez has actualized properties within fragile Bolivian landscapes that are reversible and sustainable. Offering the utmost recognition and respect to their natural surroundings, they leave no permanent footprint while showcasing the beauty of the altiplano.

We're waiting to help you

It all starts here

Let’s put that once-in-a-lifetime trip in your hands. Get in touch with the team and we will work with you at every step to make sure that it’s extraordinary.

01285 880 980

Get in touch with our travel experts to start
creating your tailor-made holiday.

Start planning your trip

A note on price

All overland transportation, experiences, accommodation, meals and drinks are included.

This price is based on departures between April and December. Prices do not include international flights. Please ask one of our Travel Experts for an accurate quote. Flights purchased through Steppes Travel departing from the UK are ATOL protected.

This Itinerary
Price
From £10,795 Per person

When to travel

Bolivia in January

November to March is summer and wet season in Bolivia. The salt flats often have a layer of water over the top of them, which can make for stunning photographs. However the Altiplano still does not receive much rainfall, it is the Amazon and lowlands that become very wet. Roads can become impassable so river travel is a better option. Temperatures are a little higher across the country.

Bolivia in February

November to March is summer and wet season in Bolivia. The salt flats often have a layer of water over the top of them, which can make for stunning photographs. However the Altiplano still does not receive much rainfall, it is the Amazon and lowlands that become very wet. Roads can become impassable so river travel is a better option. Temperatures are a little higher across the country.

Bolivia in March

November to March is summer and wet season in Bolivia. The salt flats often have a layer of water over the top of them, which can make for stunning photographs. However the Altiplano still does not receive much rainfall, it is the Amazon and lowlands that become very wet. Roads can become impassable so river travel is a better option. Temperatures are a little higher across the country.

Bolivia in April

April to October is the dry, winter season. This is also the high season, with visitors taking advantage of the clearer skies in the Altiplano and slightly cooler temperatures in the lowlands. Altitude massively impacts temperatures in Bolivia, more than season in fact. It is worth booking accommodation in advance to secure the best places.

Bolivia in May

April to October is the dry, winter season. This is also the high season, with visitors taking advantage of the clearer skies in the Altiplano and slightly cooler temperatures in the lowlands. Altitude massively impacts temperatures in Bolivia, more than season in fact. It is worth booking accommodation in advance to secure the best places.

Bolivia in June

April to October is the dry, winter season. This is also the high season, with visitors taking advantage of the clearer skies in the Altiplano and slightly cooler temperatures in the lowlands. Altitude massively impacts temperatures in Bolivia, more than season in fact. It is worth booking accommodation in advance to secure the best places.

Bolivia in July

April to October is the dry, winter season. This is also the high season, with visitors taking advantage of the clearer skies in the Altiplano and slightly cooler temperatures in the lowlands. Altitude massively impacts temperatures in Bolivia, more than season in fact. It is worth booking accommodation in advance to secure the best places.

Bolivia in August

April to October is the dry, winter season. This is also the high season, with visitors taking advantage of the clearer skies in the Altiplano and slightly cooler temperatures in the lowlands. Altitude massively impacts temperatures in Bolivia, more than season in fact. It is worth booking accommodation in advance to secure the best places.

Bolivia in September

April to October is the dry, winter season. This is also the high season, with visitors taking advantage of the clearer skies in the Altiplano and slightly cooler temperatures in the lowlands. Altitude massively impacts temperatures in Bolivia, more than season in fact. It is worth booking accommodation in advance to secure the best places.

Bolivia in October

April to October is the dry, winter season. This is also the high season, with visitors taking advantage of the clearer skies in the Altiplano and slightly cooler temperatures in the lowlands. Altitude massively impacts temperatures in Bolivia, more than season in fact. It is worth booking accommodation in advance to secure the best places.

Bolivia in November

November to March is summer and wet season in Bolivia. The salt flats often have a layer of water over the top of them, which can make for stunning photographs. However the Altiplano still does not receive much rainfall, it is the Amazon and lowlands that become very wet. Roads can become impassable so river travel is a better option. Temperatures are a little higher across the country.

Bolivia in December

November to March is summer and wet season in Bolivia. The salt flats often have a layer of water over the top of them, which can make for stunning photographs. However the Altiplano still does not receive much rainfall, it is the Amazon and lowlands that become very wet. Roads can become impassable so river travel is a better option. Temperatures are a little higher across the country.

Why Choose Steppes?

Our knowledge and expertise set us apart. So too our curiosity. It is this that drives us to create a journey that is really bespoke to you, all the while ensuring we travel and operate sustainably.

Are you ready to discover extraordinary once again?


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