Uyuni, Bolivia

Where are you starting from?

To deeply explore Uyuni, we created a tailor-made journey across the Altiplano called Travesía.

The following itinerary spans 10 days and 9 nights

Day 1: Atacama

Our van will pick you up at Calama Airport and bring you to explora Atacama, located in the oasis de San Pedro de Atacama at 2,500 masl. The transfer will take about an hour.

Days 2 & 3: explora Atacama

During two days, we will get to know the incredible wild life and abundant culture of the Atacama Desert, the driest in the world. Through different types of explorations, we will be getting ready for our travesía through the Bolivian Altiplano. We will as well enjoy and rest at the hotel, which has been thought as a point of return after days of exploration and adventure: a peaceful oasis made to recover.

Day 4: Crossing to Bolivia

We will leave explora Atacama early in the morning, leaving behind the oasis of San Pedro and starting our journey through the mountain range of the Licancabur volcano in order to cross the border to Bolivia at Hito Cajón, on the far south west of the region. We will visit Sol de Mañana, a geothermal field at 4,700 m.as.l and go on exploring a series of salt pans, wetlands and lagoons. One of them will be the Colorada lagoon, a perfect place for the observation of flamingos. After having lunch next to the lagoon, we will go on with the travesía towards Cañapa, our first shelter. The shelter of Tambo Cañapa, located at 4,300 masl, is made of five containers that were redesigned with all the facilities that an explora traveler can expect. By spending the night there, we will have the chance to live and feel the immensity and solitary beauty of the region that we will just have started to discover. We will slowly understand how unique and remote the Bolivian Altiplano is.

Day 5: From Cañapa to Chituca

Thanks to the diversity of the Altiplano, we will have the possibility to choose among a few explorations. You will be the one deciding what you want to do. Each option will give us the chance to see how geography, flora and fauna magically spread out in front of our eyes. We will remain at a high altitude, between 4,300 and 3,600 m.a.s.l, walking through former mines, abrupt valleys and boundless plains until the Turquiri Lagoon and its diversity of high plains birds. We will have a quiet lunch there before going on towards our second shelter, located at 3,750 m.a.s.l. We will spend the night a Chituca, a former shepherd settlement. It is made of small stone cabins redesigned by explora. Their location and simplicity are enchanting. After a good dinner, already seated next to the fire with a good glass of wine, we will face the silent of the Altiplano and grasp a hint of what is to come at the Salar de Uyuni.

Day 6: From Chituca to Tagua / Crossing the Salar

After breakfast, travelers will have the possibilities to choose between different activities. One of the options is to discover the surroundings of the shelter, visiting the cactus forest and the old terrace farms. Another option is to visit the village of San Pedro de Quemes, a former Spanish settlement with a panoramic view to the plateau and the Salar. Our journey will go on towards Las Dos Estrellas, also called the cave of the galaxies, surprising geological formations that are kept safe by the human craniums of a former cemetery. Death, present everywhere, will connect us to the myths and stories of this part of the world as well as its culture and depth. All of a sudden, 10,000 km2 of salt will appear in front of us: the Salar de Uyuni. Located at 3,665 m.a.s.l, it is the largest and highest salt pan on earth. Trying to understand its overwhelming immensity is a hopeless thought. We will have no choice but accept our helplessness to simply appreciate its beauty and infinity. With this idea in mind, we will explore the Salar and its immensity. We will walk through some of its islands and grasp the scale if its seemingly eternal white, cloud-like salt flats. Only our bodies will break the chromatic harmony between the salt under our feet and the infinite sky above our heads. We will have lunch there before going on towards Tagua, a small village on the side of the Salar where, down the Tunupa volcano, we will find our third shelter.

Day 7: Around the Tunupa Volcano

The Tunupa volcano, an incredible mass made of red, orange and yellow tones, will arise up to the 5,432 m.a.s.l. This is not an easy hike, it requires a good physical condition, but the experience is worth it. No real mountain lover would miss this adventure. If you prefer to choose an easier hike, you will also have the option to walk around the volcano flanks. Going through small villages, wetlands and archeological sites. The Salar will always remain present, changing color throughout the day but still like magically attached to the sky.

Day 8: Return to Chile

We will leave early towards the Chilean border, walking through the village of Llica, where we will shortly stop to try the famous salteñas, typical Bolivian empanadas. For lunch, we will stop next to the Salar de Coipasa at 3,600 m.a.s.l before heading to Cochane at the border with Chile. Crossing usually takes time as the administrative procedure is quite long. In the evening, we will reach Aravilla, a small village on the Chilean side of the border at 3,660 m.a.s.l that has been abandoned a few decades ago and where we will find our last shelter. Depending on our arrival time, we will visit the wetland next to the shelter which is, in our humble opinion, the most beautiful of the Altiplano, or simply sit down and enjoy a glass of wine and the last sunset of our travesía.

Day 9: Descending to the Pacific

In the morning, we will walk towards the small village of Mauque. There, we will have a light lunch and then start descending to Iquique. This amazing route will take us through mountain chains of complex color ranges: the perfect farewell to a wonderful journey. At the end of the route, we will come across Humberstone, a giant and old saltpeter work from the 1920´s. Its buildings, once full of life, are now only inhabited by the wind and the desert sand. It is definitely a magic place where the travelers can go back in time and feel part of an era that changed Chilean history forever. We will reach Iquique in the late afternoon, ready to enjoy a farewell dinner at one of the traditional city sites.

Day 10: Leaving Iquique

We will take you back to the airport in the morning. If you have booked a plane later on, we recommend you discover the city and enjoy its beaches.

The following itinerary spans 8 days and 7 nights

Day 1: From Potosí to the Salar de Uyuni.

We will leave Potosí in the early morning and will start our journey towards the village of Uyuni. En route, we will hike descending the canyon of the Saga-Saga River, following its winding track. At the end of the canyon, we will come across an area of terrace farms where the locals still work. We will then reach the village of Uyuni where we will walk through the market and its surroundings. Without a warning, the Salar de Uyuni and its 10,000 km2 of salt will appear in front of us. Located at 3,665 m.a.s.l, it’s the largest and highest salt pan on earth. Trying to understand its overwhelming immensity is a hopeless thought. We will have no choice but accept our helplessness to simply appreciate its beauty and infinity. With this idea in mind, we will explore the Salar and its seeming infinite white plains. We will walk through some of its islands, feeling like walking in the clouds. Only our bodies will break the chromatic harmony between the salt under our feet and the infinite sky above our heads. We will have lunch there before going on towards Tagua, a small village on the side of the Salar where we will find our first shelter, our home for the next two days.

Day 2: Around the Tunupa volcano

The Tunupa volcano, an incredible mass of red, orange and yellow tones, will arise up to the 5,432 m.a.s.l. This is not an easy hike, it requires a good physical condition, but the experience is worth it. No real mountain lover would miss this adventure. If you prefer to choose an easier hike, you will also have the option to walk around the volcano flanks. Going through small villages, wetlands and archeological sites. As if following us, the Salar remains present, changing color throughout the day but still magically attached to the sky.

Day 3: From Tagua to Chituca

We will leave the Tagua shelter and go on with our travesía towards Las Dos Estrellas. Also called the cave of the galaxies, these surprising geological formations are kept safe by the human craniums of a former cemetery. Death, present everywhere, will connect us to the the stories and myths of this part of the world as well as its culture and its depth. We will then have lunch in Chituca, our second shelter, located at 3,750 m.a.s.l. Made of a group of stone cabins, this huge but silent haven of rest, will teach us why the people of the Altiplano decided to call it home. In the afternoon, we will hike in the surroundings, appreciating the ancestry way of living and the culture of the natives and the unique cactus forest that encircles the shelter. The third day of our journey will end with a good glass of wine next to an imposing fire.

Day 4: From Chituca to Cañapa

In the morning, we will start hiking towards Cañapa, our third shelter. En route, we will find an unexpected oasis of high plain birds, the Turquiri Lagoon, where we will have lunch. We will continue the travesía through a series of landscapes and mountain chains until reaching Cañapa, our third and highest shelter, located at 4,300 m.a.s.l. This time, the shelter is a group of five containers re-designed to explora standards and the luxury of the essential. If we reach before dark, we will take a walk to observe the endemic fauna of flamingos and vicuñas.

Day 5: Crossing the Chilean border

Heading to Chile we will walk through salt pans, wetlands and lagoons including the striking Colorada Lagoon where we will be able to observe flocks of flamingos. We will visit Sol de Mañana, a geothermal field at 4,700 m.a.s.l before crossing the border to Chile and reach at sunset explora Atacama, located in the oasis of San Pedro.

Days 6 & 7: explora Atacama

Walking, bike riding, horse riding, half day or full day, easy or extreme, you will be able to choose among explorations that were thought to discover and fully understand the oasis of San Pedro and its surroundings. We will get to know the complex geography, the wild life and the local culture of the driest desert in the world. Each explora hotel has been designed to take full advantage of the silence, privacy, and spaciousness of the surrounding landscape, ensuring deep rest after a long day of exploration.

Day 8: Leaving San Pedro de Atacama

We will bring you the Calama Airport where we will say good bye before taking a flight back to Santiago. We advise you to book the latest flight available in order to enjoy as much as possible your stay at the hotel.

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