Embark on an overland adventure from La Paz to Santiago, taking in the natural wonders of the Uyuni salt flats and the Altiplano in Bolivia, Chile's spectacular Atacama Desert and Argentina's winelands. You'll also learn how to be a gaucho on a ranch - all in an unforgettable three weeks.
Location: La Paz
Welcome to Bolivia! Make your own way to our joining hotel in the historical centre of La Paz. Tonight at 6pm we have an important group meeting where you will get the chance to meet others in your group and the crew. 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. The city sits 3500m above sea level.
Location: La Paz
Today is at leisure in La Paz. Perhaps explore the famous witches market, take an optional excursion to visit the Tiahuanacu Inca Ruins or go mountain biking on the 'World's Most Dangerous Road'. See the Trip Notes for more information about the optional activities on offer in La Paz.
Location: Uyuni / Salar De Uyuni Region
La Paz - Uyuni. Today we journey south to Uyuni, the gateway to the Salar de Uyuni, which is the world's largest salt pan. We spend the night at a hotel in Uyuni that's famous for serving pizzas at the highest altitude in the world. <br/><br/> On day 4 we spend a full day exploring the incredible landscape of the Salar de Uyuni by jeep and on foot. Stretching for 12,000 square kilometres, the blinding white crystals of the salt flats reflect the sky perfectly, making the horizon disappear. We visit the nearby train graveyard and cactus-filled 'Fish Island' en route, with plenty of time throughout the day to get some perspective-bending photographs.
Location: The Altiplano
Uyuni - Altiplano (Chile). We continue our journey across the wilds of the Altiplano. This impressive, desolate desert landscape stretches all the way to Chile and is dotted with streams and lakes that appear vividly coloured due to the mineral deposits in the water. These lakes are flanked by the impressive volcanic peaks of the high Bolivian Andes, which are awe-inspiringly beautiful and undoubtedly some of the most spectacular mountain scenery you'll ever see. We have plenty of photo stops along the way as we cross into Chile and to our camp for the evening. Tonight's camp is a remote bush camp with no facilities.
Location: San Pedro de Atacama
Altiplano - San Pedro de Atacama. In the morning we break camp and drive through the stunning Reserva Nacional Alto Loa to reach the desert oasis town of San Pedro de Atacama. En route we stop off for photographs and enjoy lunch as the famous El Tatio Geysers, which are the world’s highest at an elevation of 4,300 metres. <br/><br/> The following day is free to explore the Atacama Desert, with an included trip to the extraordinary Valley of the Moon to witness the sunset over this incredible landscape. This region is considered one of the best in the world for astronomy and, provided there isn’t a full moon, we have the chance to go stargazing tonight.
San Pedro de Atacama - Salta (Argentina). We depart Chile at the Paso Jamo border and cross into Argentina on day 8. It's a long drive day across the mighty Andes towards our destination for the evening - Salta. Day 9 is at leisure to explore Salta. This city has a number of interesting museums and stunning surrounding hills which are great to explore by bike or on foot. You could also take a cable car to the San Bernardo Hill viewpoint or the famous Train to the Clouds for some impressive mountain scenery.
Salta - Cafayate. Departing Salta we drive through the incredible rock formations of the Quebrada de las Conchas en route to Cafayete on day 10. This small town is in the heart of Argentina's premier wine producing region and there will be the opportunity to visit some of the local vineyards.
Location: Quilmes ancient ruins
Cafayate - Quilmes - Recreo. On day 12 we continue south through some beautiful mountains before arriving in the pampas that Argentina is famous for. We explore the ancient ruins of the indigenous city of Quilmes on the way and tonight we enjoy a wild camping experience.
Location: Gaucho Ranch
Recreo - Estancia. Today we drive to a unique Anglo-Argentine estancia, or cattle ranch, where we stay for the next three nights at a camp near the main house. This estancia is a working ranch farming prized Argentinian Aberdeen Angus cattle and has been in the same family for four generations. <br/><br/> Here we experience the traditional hospitality of the ranching community and enjoy an Argentine BBQ called an <i>asado</i> on one of our nights here. We also enjoy an evening of traditional music, a wine tasting of local produce and the chance to learn how to lasso. What's more, there are daily horseback riding excursions into the surrounding hills that'll make you feel like a true gaucho in no time.
Estancia - Cordoba. This morning we enjoy a leisurely start and after breakfast continue our drive to the lively university city of Cordoba, located at the heart of the Argentinian sierras. This afternoon is free to explore and soak up Cordoba's vibrant atmosphere or enjoy its excellent nightlife.
Cordoba - Mendoza. We have an early start on day 17 as we take a full day to drive to the beautiful town of Mendoza in the foothills of the Andes. Mendoza is well known as one of the 'Wine Capitals of the World' and is renowned for its delicious Malbec. The following day is free to explore this region, head out on various adventure activities or take a tasting tour of the incredible wineries.
Mendoza - Santiago (Chile). Heading back into Chile on day 19 we drive across the Cristo Redentor pass in the high Andes. We pass Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the Southern Hemisphere, as we head to the Chilean capital of Santiago. Day 20 is free for you to explore the city independently. Our accommodation in Santiago is a centrally located hostel.
Our incredible journey comes to an end in Santiago this morning. If you would like to extend your stay in Chile we can arrange post tour accommodation upon request.
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