Altiplano & Gaucho Explorer

  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • Reviews
  • Dates
  • Dragoman

This is a journey across the roof of the Andes, from the high Altiplano to the heart of Argentina's grasslands. It crosses the spectacular passes of the Andes three times along remote seldom travelled routes with spectacular volcanoes and high lakes studded with flamingos. This is overlanding at its best and you will travel from the high plateau to the depths of the Atacama, the driest desert on Earth and the desert settlement of San Pedro, before heading to the west of the Andes and the grasslands of Argentina. It contrasts the historic cities of La Paz and Salta with the cosmopolitan centres of Mendoza and Santiago, capital of Chile. It offers a wonderful insight into the life and culture of the Argentinean Gauchos as we spend a couple of days exploring the cordilleras with gauchos on their horses at a working Estancia.

Highlights
  • 2 nights in the world's highest capital city, La Paz
  • Day trip on the surreal Salar de Uyuni Salt Flats
  • Visit the Uyuni train graveyard
  • 2 day crossing of the desolate and surreal Altiplano
  • Star gaze at Moon Valley at San Pedro de Atacama
  • Spectacular drive down Route 40 to see Quebrada de las Conchas
  • Visit vineyards in Cafayete
  • Walk around the ruins of Quilmes
  • 3 night stay in an traditional isolated Argentian estancia with gauchos
  • Ride beautiful horses in unspoilt location
  • take a wine tour in the Malbec capital of the world, Mendoza
  • Drive to the Cristo Redentor and pass through stunning Andean mountains
  • Explore the cosmopolitan and stylish city of Santiago
Transport
Overland Expedition Vehicle, Jeep
Tour Staff
Two Dragoman Crew Members, Local Guides where necessary
Destinations
  • South America
  • Argentina
  • Bolivia
  • Chile
Tour Types
  • Overland
  • Adventure
  • Discovery
  • History
  • Attraction-Based Hike
  • Active
  • Bicycle
  • Camping
  • Cultural
  • Eco
  • GAP Year
  • Trekking
  • Walking
  • Historical
  • Horse Riding
  • Local Guide
  • Local Living
  • Overland truck
  • Sightseeing
  • White water rafting
  • wine tasting
  • Foodie
Day La Paz

Border information: if you are joining in La Paz, you will most likely enter Bolivia at La Paz El Alto International Airport (IATA code: LPB).

Welcome to La Paz, Bolivia’s seat of government and the highest administrative capital in the world! There will be an important group meeting at 6:00pm at the joining hotel - please look out at the hotel reception for a note from your leader with more details about this important meeting.

A note on altitude: If you are joining in La Paz, we strongly recommend arriving at least 24 hours before the trip begins to allow additional time to acclimatise.

Location: La Paz

Day La Paz

Today we will have a free day to make the most of the extrodinary city of La Paz, explore the witches market or take a mountain biking trip down the World's Most Dangerous Road.

Location: La Paz

Day Uyuni

Today we will drive south to Uyuni, the gateway to the incredible salt flats of the Salar de Uyuni.

Location: Uyuni

Day Uyuni

Today we will venture out onto the salt flats of the Salar de Uyuni, spending a full day exploring this phenomenal location by jeep and on foot. En route we will explore the nearby train graveyard and the cactus-filled 'Fish Island', and take all the time we need to get plenty of perspective-bending photographs!

Location: Uyuni

Day Altiplano

Today we will head off across the wilds of the Altiplano, a surreal and desolate desert landscape that stretches all the way into Chile. We will make plenty of stop for photographs on the way and at the end of the day we aim to cross the border into Chile, making camp soon afterwards.

Tonight we will bush camp in a remote spot with no facilities!

Location: Altiplano

Day San Pedro de Atacama

After breakfast we will break camp, and drive through the stunning Reserva Nacional Alto Loa on the Chilean part of the Altiplano, stopping off en route for photographs and a lunch stop at the famous El Tatio Geysers, the worlds highest Geyser field at 4300m. Afterwards descending down to San Pedro de Atacama.

Please note: The weather in this region can be unpredictable and has been known to close the road to the border.  On these occasions we will take an alternate route across the Altiplano, crossing into either Chile or Argentina at a different border point.  Your trip leaders will keep you informed of any changes that may be necessary.

Location: San Pedro de Atacama

Day San Pedro de Atacama

Today we will have a free day to explore the incredible highlights of the Atacama desert surrounding San Pedro. In the evening we will take an included trip out to the extraordinary Moon Valley, where we will hopefully see an incredible sunset. At night we will also have the chance to go stargazing, in one of the world's premier regions for astronomy (please note that this is only possible when there is not a full moon).

Location: San Pedro de Atacama

Day Salta

Today we will have a long drive day to cross the mighty Andes, cross the border into Argentina, and reach the beautiful town of Salta.

Location: Salta

Day Salta

Today we will have a free day to explore Salta, visit its many museums, or explore the beautiful surrounding hills on foot or by mountain bike. We will also have the chance to take the cable car to the viewpoint on San Bernardo Hill overlooking the town, or take the famous 'Train to the Clouds' through some of the incredible mountian scenery nearby.

Location: Salta

Day Cafayate

Today we will drive through the spectacular rock formations of the Quebrada de las Conchas, and reach the serene town of Cafayate. 

Location: Cafayate

Day Cafayate

Free day to explore Cafayate. This small unassuming town is the centre of one of Argentinas's principal withe producing regions, famous for the quality of its Torrontes and Tannat wines! We will have the opportunity to go to a few of the vineyards nearby to see how the wine is made, and of course to try them!

Location: Cafayate

Day Recreo

Today we will drive south through spectacular mountains and arrive in the pampas that Argentina is famous for. We will visit the ancient ruins of the indigenous city of Quilmes en route. 

Location: Recreo

Day Estancia

Today we drive to a unique Anglo-Argentine Estancia, where we will stay for 3 nights.

During our time at the Estancia, we will head out horseback riding. This is a magical experience in a beautiful and many people's highlight of the trip! Please note that some of these activities are subject to weather conditions.

Please also note that there is a strict weight limit of 15 stone (210lbs) or 95kg to partake in the horse riding - if you should weigh more than this, then unfortunately you will not be able to participate in the horseback riding.

Location: Estancia

Day Estancia

Full day at the Estancia.

Location: Estancia

Day Estancia

​Full day at the Estancia.

Location: Estancia

Day Cordoba

Today we will have a leisurely start after breakfast to the city of Cordoba, where we will enjoy a free afternoon to explore the city.

Location: Cordoba

Day Mendoza

Today we will have a very early start for a full day's drive to the stunning town of Mendoza, nestled in the dry flats underneath the shadows of the largest mountains of the Andes.

Mendoza is the centre of Argentine wine production, and one of the nine 'Wine Capitals of the World' - it is especially famous for its Malbec, grown at some of the highest-altitude vineyards to be found in the world.

Location: Mendoza

Day Mendoza

Today will be free time to explore the region, head out on various adventure activities, or of course take a tasting tour of the incredible wineries in the region.

Location: Mendoza

Day Santiago

Today we will drive over the stunning Cristo Redentor pass in the high Andes, passing Aconcagua (the highest mountain in the Southern Hemisphere) and heading to the Chilean capital of Santiago.

Location: Santiago

Day Santiago

Today is a free day to explore the cosmopolitan Chilean capital.

Location: Santiago

Day Santiago

Border information: if you are finishing in Santiago, you will most likely exit Chile at Santiago Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport (IATA code: SCL)

Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Santiago. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact the Sales Team if you are interested in booking extra nights of accommodation in order to fully explore and take part in some of the optional activities listed below.

Location: Santiago


Ana M

The local guide from Uyuni to Bolivian border had a great knowledge about the places.




Christine S

Kevin the estancia owner was great.




Nicholas W

Everything from planning to the running and execution of the trip was handled superbly by everyone who was involved with my trip.




Jennifer C

Both Sinead and Oli did fanatastic jobs in, at times, trying circumstances. Sinead's organisational skills were really good ensuring that all passengers were happy. Oli was excellent, he was constantly checking the truck for safety and general maintenance. He was always in good cheer and made himself available to passengers to answer any questions.




Nicholas W

Sinead was an excellent leader, I never once felt like she wasn't in control and felt trust in her leading the trip almost immediately after meeting her. She proved herself on quite a few occasions to be resourceful and cool under changing and sometimes difficult circumstances. She did well to research upcoming places on the tour and kept us well informed, especially as it was her first time on the trip. She was very friendly, always put us first, was great fun to hang out with and an all round awesome person. Oli the co-Driver on the trip is my brother so you may think my review is biased! But having known my brother for 30 years I can say he has done an most excellent job - he is a very skilled driver which was demonstrated in the very very narrow streets of Potosi.




Jonathan P

Both the leader and co-driver were great, organised and very helpful.




Kenneth S

All guides good.




Sarah A

I had the pleasure of having Jaco, Noel and Kate as my crew. They were all exceptional people to travel with and made my trip that much nicer for knowing them. I've travelled with Noel before which was one of the main reasons I booked this trip so I could travel with him again. I've already made plans to catch up with Noel and Kate on future dragoman trips. I am now lucky enough to have 3 new lifelong friends.




Paul L

Tig was my co driver on this leg and she was fantastic, a real joy.




Kate E

Both crew very approachable and helpful, and good fun!




Wibke H

Jules and Nick are great. They have, for me, the right mix between being there because you booked a guided tour, and leaving you enough leisure time.




Amardeep Kaur Sandhu H

Jacopo has amazing organisational, communication and attention to detail - Noel is just a legend, he's an excellent driver and friend, has been very helpful as well and all of us enjoyed his company and learned to enjoy AC/DC after a while :)




Alison W

Jaco was full of enthusiasm, great at communication and he worked really hard to make sure we made the most of every opportunity - Noel was awesome and really good company.




Loes v

The vehicle was amazing! Fully equiped and easy to set everything up!




Julian E

The crew Noel, Jacopo and Kate did an excellent job.




Laura M

Jaime and Jan were both very helpful and good fun. Jaime was very helpful when some passengers weren't feeling well and made sure everyone was ok.




Bryan A

All were helpful and friendly and tried to make the holiday enjoyable.




Bryan A

They were all good and had a good understanding of foreign tourists (us) always trying to make the holiday interesting by showing us local things of special interest, plants, geology, etc.




Deborah P

Jacopo is an excellent tour leader. Informative, always helpful with excellent organisational skills. He also goes out of his way to ensure that passengers always know where to go for meals, activities etc when arriving at a destination, often organising it for them and joining them. Noel is also an excellent co driver. Not only in respect of his driving and maintenance of the truck, but his enthusiasm to integrate with passengers and always be helpful in assisting with setting up tents and other equipment etc. Noel and Jacopo appeared to have an excellent working relationship and their enthusiasm was noted by most passengers which led to a very positive atmosphere. I would have no hesitation whatsoever in taking a trip again with either Jacopo or Noel as leader or driver.




Ben E

Jaime is an excellent leader!




Ben E

All local guides were good.




Louise P

The drivers were both personable, professional and just lovely people to be around. They dealt with quite a few unpredictable problems (hail in the Moon Valley, several-hour border delays, etc.) incredibly well and I am glad they were both our crew.




Jennifer C

The Inca Trail staff with were fantastic. I was really impressed with the quality of the service and would highly recoommend them.




Nicholas W

The guides for the Machu Picchu community trek were most excellent. Piero especially was fantastic as a guide and made the whole trip even more enjoyable with his knowledge, skill, friendliness and problem solving. The other crew on the community trek (wranglers and cooks) were also fantastic. Incredibly hard working and professional with a smile.




Els v

The leaders were great!




Loes v

Sinead was amazing! Always happy, always friendly, always helpull. You just have to love her! She and Oli took very good care of us.




Jonathan P

All the local guides were excellent.




Louise P

Bolivian altiplano guide, Braulio, was informative and friendly.




Sandra J

The truck was more comfortable than I expected and the tents were very good.




Hanneke M

We've seen a lot, the group was great the guides were amazing. But less active then I expected.




Catarina C

Absolutely loved it, every single aspect of the trip was perfect




EUNICE T

Organised, structured, everything was on time. Great teamwork on part of the guides as well.




EUNICE T

Enjoyed driving through the most remote parts of countries otherwise inaccessible, eg. the Bolivian altiplano, the winding downhill roads of Chile and Argentina




Kirsty M

This was an awsome trip so much to see and the crew were fantastic .




Peter S

Overall the trip from La Paz to Santiago was very good and met my personal aspirations fully.( mountains and remoteness of Bolivia and N Chile).




Christopher R

We absolutely loved the whole trip, from exciting schedules to friendly crew was amazing!




Andrea M

Very interesting and amazing experience! Enjoyed most the Estancia, San Pedro de Atacama, Altiplano, Salt flats and La Paz




Christopher R

The Estancia was beautiful and the horse riding, BBQ and wine tasting were amazing. Great way for the whole group to bond and to have some time to relax.




Katie D

I had the most amazing time!




Michael C

Overall a really good route, seeing great scenery.




Michael C

Most of the Argentina route was my favourite part. Driving through the mountains.




Markus F

There are so many highlights in the tour and the tourguides are very good and helpful.




Mariana R

The travel experience with Dragoman was fantastic - a great route, a fantastic group and two excellent leaders. I absolutely loved the stay in the Estancia, the salt flats and the moon valley.




Lewis C




Gary H

Excellent trip, varied & good itinerary, lead my excellent tour leaders.




Nicole H

The tour was amazing, I loved the truck and have made some amazing friends.




Matthew H

Loved it.




Jasmina K

I greatly enjoyed exploring the Bolivian Altiplano, heading into the moon valley at the Atacama, salt flats in Uyuni and near Recreo, various camping stops, Cafayate vineyard excursion, etc. I liked being part of the group (with all its ups and downs) and even long drives on the truck were uplifted by people and turned into a sort of fun experience.




Holly W

The Estancia was the best part of the trip, so relaxing and fun




Elzbieta T

Stayed in places off the beaten track, like the bush camp in abandoned town and the Estancia




Elzbieta T

Amazing trip, a few thrills with happy ending, awesome scenery, awesome company - wish I could travel with you guys much longer than a meagre 3 weeks...



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Dates Price Single Availability
29-Nov-2020 for 20 Nights On Request Visit Website
03-Dec-2020 for 20 Nights On Request Visit Website
05-Jan-2021 for 20 Nights On Request Visit Website
14-Jan-2021 for 20 Nights On Request Visit Website
30-Mar-2021 for 20 Nights On Request Visit Website
09-Apr-2021 for 20 Nights On Request Visit Website
13-Apr-2021 for 20 Nights On Request Visit Website
04-May-2021 for 20 Nights On Request Visit Website
11-Sep-2021 for 20 Nights On Request Visit Website
24-Sep-2021 for 20 Nights On Request Visit Website
20-Oct-2021 for 20 Nights On Request Visit Website
12-Dec-2021 for 20 Nights On Request Visit Website
16-Dec-2021 for 20 Nights On Request Visit Website
13-Jan-2022 for 20 Nights On Request Visit Website
18-Jan-2022 for 20 Nights On Request Visit Website
17-Feb-2022 for 20 Nights On Request Visit Website
22-Apr-2022 for 20 Nights On Request Visit Website
26-Apr-2022 for 20 Nights On Request Visit Website
09-May-2022 for 20 Nights On Request Visit Website

Touring with Dragoman

Dragoman has a proud history, of nearly 40 years of pioneering overland adventures in their fleet of iconic, orange trucks. They aim to get you completely off the beaten track and really under the skin of the places that they visit, taking the road less travelled, mixing with the locals, learning about their culture, and ensuring that every part of the journey counts towards an amazing adventure.

Dragoman’s life changing overland adventures, visit over 55 countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America. Many trips are a convenient 14-21 days, offering a great snapshot of a region getting you off the tourist trail on a perspective-changing journey.

These short trips can also be combined to create epic journeys lasting several months be it along the fabled Silk Route, a trans-Africa expedition from Cape Town to Cairo, or travel the entire length of the Americas from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego. Or journey from Mongolia down through China, and South East Asia – or in India you can circle the continent. These are incredible journeys that will change your life!

Group sizes are limited to 22, creating a personal experience with the most popular tours having frequent departures so you can easily find a date to suit you. They guarantee more trip departures than comparable operators and strive to offer value with more inclusions, so you don't have to pay extra on the road.

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tour details

This tour is operated by Dragoman

20 nights from pp exc.flights; per Night
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Visit website Enquire 40 years of pioneering overland adventures!
Group Size:0 - 22
Suitable For: 18 plus
Accommodation:Basic Hotel 8 nights<br />Wild Camp 2 nights<br />Multishare Hostel 5 nights<br />Camping 5 nights
Difficulty:2
Meals:Breakfasts x 20, Lunches x 8, Dinner x 7
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