TRAVESIA TO UYUNI (BOLIVIA) (11 days /10 nights)
Day 1: arrival at San Pedro de Atacama We will be there to welcome you at the airport in Calama and will take you to our Hotel de Larache in the San Pedro de Atacama oasis, at 2,500 meters (8,200 feet) above sea level.
Days 2, 3 and 4: Hotel de Larache While staying at Hotel de Larache, each day you may choose from a variety of different explorations. These explorations will allow your body to adjust to the altitude and prepare you for the travesía to the Bolivian Altiplano. You will also have the opportunity to experience the complex geography of Atacama, its wildlife and ancient culture. At the end of each exploration, our lodge is always there waiting for you: a place to enjoy and regain the energy you will need to keep on exploring.
Day 5: crossing to Bolivia We will depart from Hotel de Larache early in the morning. We will cross into Bolivia through the Hito Cajón pass in the extreme southeastern corner of that country, first passing by the volcanic mountain range where the Licancabur volcano is located. We will hike through the geothermal plains of Sol de Mañana at 4,700 meters (15,400 feet) above sea level and later discover a series of salt flats, wetlands and lakes. Especially interesting is the Colorada lagoon, an excellent location for watching flamingos (phoenicopterus chilensis). We will eat lunch while taking in views of this spectacular environment and later continue with the travesía. In mid- afternoon we will reach the Cañapa inn, our first campsite, at 4,300 meters (14,100 feet) above sea level.
Day 6: from Cañapa to Chituca The morning will be spent hiking around the area, and later on we will continue our journey through the Bolivian Altiplano at altitudes that range between 4,300 and 3,600 meters (14,100 and 11,800 feet) above sea level. We will pass by former mining camps and take a 2-hour trek around a lake, home to a number of native animal species. In mid-afternoon we will arrive at Chituca, our second campsite, located at 3,750 meters (12,300 feet) above sea level.
Day 7: arrival at Uyuni After breakfast we will trek around the area, taking in the old cultivated terraces and the cactus forests that surround our campsite. Continuing our journey, we will visit some geological formations. In no time we will find ourselves at the Salar de Uyuni, which, with a surface area of over 10,000 sq.km (3,861 sq.miles) and located at 3,665 meters (12,025 feet) above sea level, is the largest and highest altitude salt flat in the world. We will go for different treks here. Continuing on our journey we will arrive at Tahua, a small town on the shores of the salt flat, where our third campsite is located.
Day 8: around the Tunupa volcano Beginning our trek early, in 3 to 4 hours we will reach the foot of the Tunupa volcano, at an altitude of 5,432 meters (17,820 feet). At this point we can choose to visit any of the many interesting sites in the surrounding area, or climb the volcano, which takes a little more time. In the late afternoon, we will visit the small towns bordering the salt flat: Tahua, Coquesa and Jirira. We will return to our campsite in Tahua to eat dinner and spend the night.
Day 9: crossing to Chile We will set out early, heading towards the Chilean border. On our way we will pass through the town of Llica, where we will stop to try some “salteñas”, a traditional Bolivian empanada (pasty or turnover). At lunchtime, we will eat a picnic on the banks of the Salar de Coipasa, at 3,600 meters (11,811 feet) above sea level. Later, we will arrive at Colchane, on the border with Chile. Normally, the border crossing procedure takes a little while. At nightfall, we will arrive at Aravilla, our campsite at 4,200 meters (13,779 feet) above sea level, where we can go trekking through a large wetland area.
Day 10: descent to the Pacific In the morning, we will trek to the small town of Mauque, climbing to some high altitudes along the way. In Mauque we will eat a picnic lunch. After lunch, we will begin the descent from the Altiplano, starting from an altitude of 4,000 meters (13,000 feet) back to sea level at the Chilean port of Iquique on the Pacific Ocean. You may want to go swimming at the beach in Iquique. In the evening, we will dine in the city and spend the night at a local hotel.
Day 11: departure from Iquique In the morning we will take you to the airport in Iquique or, if there is enough time before your flight, we will walk around Iquique with you.
Lodging The first four nights of the travesía will be spent at our Hotel de Larache in San Pedro de Atacama. Throughout the travesía, travelers sleep at our campsites in the Altiplano: Cañapa, Chituca, Tahua and Aravilla, located at altitudes between 3,300 and 4,300 meters (10,827 and 14,108 feet).
Climate Because they are at similar altitudes, the climate of San Pedro de Atacama, Chile is similar to that of Cachi, Argentina. San Pedro de Atacama has over 328 days of sunshine a year. Average daytime temperatures range from 8oC to 23oC (46oF to 73oF) in the winter (June to September) and from 12oC to 25oC (54oF to 77oF) in the summer (December to March). In Cachi there is plenty of sunshine and rain is rare. In the summer (December to March), the average daytime temperature is 25oC (77oF), with a maximum of 35oC (95oF) and a minimum of 5oC (41oF). On winter nights (June to September) the temperature can drop as low as -5oC (-23oF), or even lower in some regions.
Altitude Whether starting out from Chile or from Argentina, the travesía starts from an altitude of 2,500 meters (8,200 feet) above sea level. The explorations during the first three days, whether in San Pedro de Atacama or in Cachi, will reach altitudes as high as 4,000 meters (13,124 feet) above sea level, thus helping you to acclimate well enough for the rest of the journey. Over the course of the travesía, the highest altitude we will reach will be on the Abra del Acay road, at a height of 4,900 meters (16,075 feet) above sea level.
How to get here From Chile: Upon arrival at the airport in Santiago, Chile, take the connecting 2-hour flight to Calama. At the airport in Calama our staff will pick you up and take you by minibus to Hotel de Larache, a journey which takes about one hour. At the end of the travesía, in Salta, an explora minibus will take you to the airport, where you can take a flight to Buenos Aires, which takes about two hours and 15 minutes. From Argentina: Upon arrival at the airport in Buenos Aires, Argentina, take the connecting flight to Salta, which takes 2 hours and 15 minutes . Our staff will pick you up early in the morning from the hotel you’ve chosen in Salta.
Requirements Physical health compatible with walking at high altitudes between 2,500 and 4.700 meters above sea level and in temperatures that during the day can dropto0oC(32oF)and-20oC(68oF) at night. A spirit of adventure, good attitude and flexibility in the face of unexpected occurrences. Necessary equipment, principally: • Trekking boots. • Trekking pants. • A base layer of thermal underwear, with thick socks. • A thin fleece as a second layer. • A wind-proof jacket as a third layer. • A goose-down jacket as a fourth layer. • Thick gloves, and ideally an additional thinner pair. • Sunglasses with UV protection, ideally with lateral protection. • Sunblock (factor 30 minimum). • Small backpack for trekking (20 to 30 liters). • Casual shoes. *Visitors can buy necessary equipment in our store at the Hotel de Larache.