Tour: Salar de Uyuni & Avaroa Reserve (3 days, from San Pedro de Atacama)

With its 10,582 square kilometeres and 3,656 metres above sea level, the Salar de Uyuni is the largest salt flat in the world. This vast, flat land of pure white salt at 3,656 metres above sea level, stands in contrast with multi-coloured lagoons, volcanic mountains, tree-like rocks and towering islands of coral to create one of the most unique and bizarre landscapes in the world.
Some of the sights within the region include: The Train Cemetry of Uyuni; Incahuasi Island in the Salar; Ojos del Salar; and the Eduardo Avaroa Nature Reserve, with a multitude of brightly coloured lakes, geysers, volcanoes and the breeding grounds of 3 of the worlds 6 species of flamingos.

Itinerary

First day: Laguna Colorada

In the morning you will be transferred from San Pedro de Atacama to the Chilean-Bolivian border at Hito Cajón, where your Bolivian driver and guide are expecting you. Not far from the border on Bolivian territory, you visit the first of many highlights - the brightly emerald-colored "Laguna Verde" at the foot of the majestic volcano "Licancabur". You continue driving through the Bolivian desert into the valley "Valle de las Damas del Desierto" - also called "Salvador Dali Desert" by tourists – composed of rock formations formed by the wind, unique in their shape, lonely in a huge sandy desert exposed to erosion. The desert gives way to the colorful Salar de Chalviri - a dried-up salt lake. Nearby, the hot thermal springs of Polques invite you to a relaxing bath after the first miles on the rugged Bolivian roads. You continue to the north towards the geyser field "Sol de Mañana" - a "devilish" spectacle of hissing water vapor columns and bubbling earth holes, where you have also reached the highest point of the trip at almost 5000 meters. From there you descend to the red-colored lake "Laguna Colorada", an absolute highlight in the heart of the Avaroa Reserve that hosts thousands of flamingos. Your journey takes you past the "Arbol de Piedra", a stone figure created by erosion, into the Siloli desert and in the middle of this seemingly empty area you reach the Tayka Hotel del Desierto where you stop for the night. Overnight in the hotel Tayka del Desierto (B/BL/D)

Second day: Lakes of the Altiplano

Todays highlights start with a ribbon of colorful highland lakes: At the mountain lakes Cañapa, Hedionda, Chiarkota, Honda and Ramaditas you will surely be tempted to take a few more flamingo photos. On the shores of these lakes, volcanoes, such as the still active Ollagüe, soar into the desert sky, their peaks often covered in snow. For lunch we stop in San Pedro de Quemes at the Tayka Hotel de Piedra. After a short walk through the Pueblo Quemado - the "burnt village" that tells the tragic story of the Pacific War - we continue north, where you reach the entrance to the Salar den Uyuni. The biggest highlight of your tour through Bolivia lies ahead now: The Salar de Uyuni, the largest salt desert of our planet with approx. 12,000 km² of salt. You cross the salt expanse from south to north, past the Campanas islands, and soon you will only see "white" - mirages and salt crystals create optical illusions - until you have reached the north shore. Here, at the foot of the Tunupa volcano, you will find an area that is almost unknown to tourism, despite the incomparable beauty of the landscape. A visit to the ruins of "Pucara de Chiquini" is next on the program. The ruins, with their centuries-old history, are evidence of an ancient fortification with residential buildings, storage facilities, guard posts, etc. Its lofty location on a 40-meter-high rock cliff above the salt lake is also called the "cathedral". A narrow ridge leads to an exposed lookout point, which opens up an unforgettable view of the salt lake. Then we take a look at the nearby Chiquini cave, with undefinable limestone structures as a geological result of subaquatic history. Not far from Chiquini is your next accommodation in Tahua, the Hotel Tayka de Sal. (B/L/D)

Third day: Salar de Uyuni

If you don't want to miss a very special spectacle, get up early to admire the sunrise over the Salar! You will return to the hotel for breakfast. In the morning you will climb the flanks of the Tunupa volcano in your vehicle to visit the cave tomb and the mummies of Coquesa. From here, the Salar is literally at your feet. And because its beauty is as hard to describe as it is to grasp, you still have the opportunity to take in the landscape of the Salar de Uyuni today, because you cross it again from north to east. You will visit the island of Inkahuasi, which is located in the middle of the salt flat and is completely overgrown by a forest of giant cacti. In the afternoon, you will leave the Salar at Colchani, where you will find the small salt pyramids - salt that has been piled to dry using a pickaxe and shovels. In the salt processing plant in Colchani, the salt of the Salar is painstakingly processed into table salt. You visit one of these small family businesses before the last kilometers to Uyuni. A short detour to the train cemetery tells the story of the blooming silver mines at the beginning of the 20th century and documents their decline after prices collapsed on the world market. Arrival in Uyuni in the evening. (B/BL /-) - END OF OUR SERVICES

Included in the package:

- Transfer of your choice from San Pedro de Atacama to the Bolivian border at Hito Cajon (unaccompanied)
- Private 4WD vehicle with Spanish-speaking driver-guide, oxygen tank and satellite emergency phone, from Hito Cajon Uyuni
- 2x overnight stays in DBL room
- Entrance fees
- Meals according to program (B= breakfast; L= lunch; D= Dinner)
- Local community taxes
- Optional: Cultural guide English/German speaking (On request)

Hotels:

- 1 night: Hotel Tayka del Desierto, Ojo de Perdiz

- 1 night: Hotel Tayka de Sal, Tahua

Reservation:

Please do not hesitate to contact us for price requests, reservation, general question, and individual tour inquiries, at: contact(at)landmarktravelbolivia.com

LINK:

www.landmarktravelbolivia.com/salar-de-uyuni

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