Your day-by-day itinerary

Jeep tour across the Atacama

Day 1

Across the border, and into the Altiplano

This morning you’ll be picked up early, and will meet your guide and cook for the next few days, as well as your fellow travellers on this epic journey across the desert. First order of business is to get across the border at Hito Cajones – one of the highest, and possibly least glamorous customs offices in the world. After some (hopefully) brief formalities, you’ll continue your ascent into the Altiplano and will be met by views of the Licancabur volcano towering over the bright green Laguna Verde.

flamingos beside a lake on the altiplano

After stopping for a break at Laguna Verde, you’ll head up to the volcanic geysers of Sol de Mañana, before continuing onto Laguna Colorada. In a strange twist of nature this lake is filled with algae which give it a red colour, and also attracts huge numbers of flamingos who feed on the algae – it makes for a pretty surreal sight! You’ll continue through the desert landscape until you arrive at your high-altitude lodge, where you’ll have a hearty meal, take in the pristine star-filled sky, and then wrap yourself in some thick blankets to get some sleep.

Through the desert

Day 2

Through the desert

Today you’ll continue your journey through the moon-like landscape, which begins to descend towards Uyuni. There’s quite a lot of driving today, but you’ll make plenty of stops along the way. The route takes you past a number of picturesque lagoons, home to different flamingo species, as well as the vast ‘Salvador Dalí Desert’ – so called because of the surreal rock formations formed over millions of years by the prevailing winds.

a lake on the altiplano

In the afternoon you’ll visit the huge Thunupa volcano, where you may spot some of the indigenous types of ducks and gulls who live around here, before continuing your descent. You’ll spend the evening in a simple lodge near the edge of the area’s most famous landmark – the vast Salar de Uyuni.

Across the Salar de Uyuni

Day 3

Across the Salar de Uyuni

Make sure you’ve still got some battery left in your camera, because today you’ll be travelling across the world’s largest salt lake. In rainy season (usually Jan-Apr) there may be a thin layer of water which creates a mirror effect, and the rest of the year you’ll experience a seemingly endless sea of flat white salt – against the blue sky it’s a spectacular sight.

sitting on the Salt Flats

Weather allowing, you’ll visit a cactus island in the middle of the Salar, from where you’ll have a panoramic view across the huge expanses of the flats. You’ll also have plenty of time to wander around on the salt surface, take a thousand pictures from different perspectives, and spend a few moments just to appreciate your unique surroundings. You’ll arrive in the town of Uyuni in the late afternoon, where we’ve booked a cosy hotel where you can get some well-earned rest!

llamas in the Bolivian countryside

Day 4

Departure from Uyuni

Uyuni is a dusty little town and there isn’t a whole lot to do here, so we’d usually recommend moving on today. We can arrange transport by land or air to your next destination. Not sure where to go next? Take a look at our Bolivia trips!

*the exact itinerary described above can be a little different sometimes, as changes are occasionally made due to weather conditions.

Combine this trip with...

Where to next? This trip goes together well with these:

Llamas on the Moon

3 days - 2 nights (flexible)

San Pedro de Atacama - Valley of the Moon - San Pedro de Atacama

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All roads lead to Santiago de Chile

3 days / 2 nights (flexible)

Santiago de Chile

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Combine this trip with Bolivia

Continuing your journey in Bolivia? Here are a couple of ideas:

Bolivia

Wandering through the Lanes of La Paz

3 days / 2 nights (flexible)

La Paz

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Bolivia

Springtime in the White City

3 days / 2 nights (flexible)

Sucre

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"I've been there!"

Contact our Travel Specialist, Ross, to help plan your Chile holiday.

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