Atacama, Salt Flats & Gauchos Northbound - 21 Days

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  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • What's Included
  • Dates
  • On The Go Tours

Kicking off in Santiago take a 3 week epic journey through Chile, Argentina and Bolivia. Discover Argentina's beautiful winelands, stay on an Argentine gaucho ranch, marvel at the vast expanse of the Atacama desert and the spectacular Uyuni salt flats before finishing in lofty La Paz.

  • Santiago - Chile's cosmopolitan capital. Free time to explore the city on your own
  • Mendoza - Argentina's wine capital at the foot of the Andes mountains. Opt to visit some of the many vineyards in the region or go white water rafting in the Mendoza River
  • Estancia stay - spend three nights at a unique cattle ranch in Argentina, learn all about being a gaucho and go horseriding
  • Cafayate - visit the impressive rock formations of 'El Amphiteatro' and 'La Garganta del Diablo'
  • Salta - independently explore this charming town in the foothills of the Andes. Opt to take a cable car to San Bernardo Hill or mountain bike the mountains and forests
  • Atacama Desert – cross the Andes to explore the world's driest desert, marvel at the famous El Tatio Geysers and the lunar-like landscape of the Valley of the Moon
  • Salar de Uyuni – cross Bolivia's spectacular dazzling white salt flats on a jeep adventure
  • Altiplano - take an unforgettable journey across the wilds of the Altiplano, a spectacular desolate desert landscape dotted vividly coloured lakes
  • La Paz – explore the sights of Bolivia's highest city at your own pace and opt to see the fascinating Witches' Market or take a mountain bike trip down the World's Most Dangerous road
Age Policy
Minimum age 12, no maximum. Anyone 70 and over to complete our Tour Suitability Form 
  • Argentina
  • Bolivia
  • Chile
  • South America
Tour Types
  • Small Group

Location: Santiago

Welcome to Chile! Make your own way to our centrally located joining hostel. Tonight at 6pm we have an important group meeting where you will get the chance to meet others in your group and the crew. Day 2 is free to explore this fascinating city and partake in the optional activities available.

Location: Mendoza

Santiago - Mendoza (Argentina). Heading into Argentina on day 3 we pass Aconcagua (highest mountain in the Southern Hemisphere) and across the Cristo Redentor pass up in the high Andes as we head to Mendoza, Argentina's wine capital. Day 4 is free for us to explore the region at leisure. Our accommodation in Mendoza is a centrally located hostel.

Location: Cordoba

Mendoza - Cordoba. This morning we have an early start and after breakfast continue our drive to the lively university city of Cordoba, located at the heart of the Argentinian sierras. This evening is free to explore and soak up Cordoba's vibrant atmosphere or enjoy its excellent nightlife.

Location: Gaucho Ranch

Cordoba - Estancia. We drive to a unique Anglo-Argentine Estancia, or cattle ranch on day 6, 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.

Location: Tafi del Valle

Estancia - Tafi del Valle. Today we will drive north across the lush flat pampas and start climbing into the drier mountains and onto Tafi del Valle, nestled in the valleys of the Sierra del Aconquija. We'll set up camp in a basic campsite for the night.

Location: Cafayate

Tafi del Valle - Cafayate. Today we will have an included visit to the ancient ruins of the indigenous city of Quilmes en route, then arrive in the serene town of Cafayate. This small unassuming town is the centre of one of Argentina's principal wine producing regions, famous for the quality of its Torrentes 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! In Cafayate we stay at a campsite with good facilities.

Location: Salta

Cafayate - Salta. Departing Cafayate we drive through the incredible rock formations of the Quebrada de las Conchas en route to Salta on day 12. Day 13 is at leisure to explore Salta. Salta has a number of interesting museums and stunning surrounding hills which are great to explore by bike or on foot. You could always take a cable car to the San Bernardo Hill viewpoint or the famous Train to the Clouds for some impressive mountain scenery.

Location: San Pedro de Atacama

Salta - San Pedro de Atacama (Chile). It is a long drive day across the mighty Andes as we depart Argentina at the Paso Jamo border and cross into Chile on day 14 towards our destination for the evening - San Pedro de Atacama.

Location: The Altiplano

San Pedro de Atacama - Altiplano. In the morning we depart our hostel and continue our journey to the desert oasis town of San Pedro de Atacama. We make our first stop for plenty of photographs and enjoy lunch at the famous El Tatio Geysers, which are the world’s highest at an elevation of 4,300 metres. Our afternoon finds us driving through the stunning Reserva Nacional Alto Loa before reaching our destination for the evening. Tonight's camp is a remote bush camp with no facilities.

Location: Uyuni / Salar De Uyuni Region

Altiplano - Uyuni. Today we drive south to Uyuni, the gateway to the incredible salt flats of the Salar de Uyuni. We spend the night in a friendly hotel, famous for serving the highest pizzas in the world!

Location: Uyuni / Salar De Uyuni Region

Today 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 the cactus-filled 'Fish Island' en route, with plenty of time throughout the day to get some perspective-bending photographs.

Location: La Paz

Uyuni - La Paz. Today we will leave Cochabamba and drive north to La Paz, Bolivia’s seat of government and the highest administrative capital in the world. Day 20 is at leisure in La Paz. Why not 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 Trip Notes for more information on optional activities on offer in La Paz.

Location: La Paz

Our incredible journey comes to an end in La Paz this morning. If you would like to extend your stay in Santiago we can arrange post tour accommodation upon request.

  • 20 breakfasts, 8 lunches and 7 dinners
  • 7 nights multishare hostels, 7 nights camping (including 2 nights wild camping) and 6 nights simple hotels
  • Services of two crew and local guides along the way
  • Day trip on the surreal Salar de Uyuni Salt Flats including the Uyuni train graveyard
  • Visit the incredible Moon Valley and the El tatio geysers in the mountains above the Atacama desert
  • Visit the impressive rock formations of 'El Amphiteatro' and 'La Garganta del Diablo'
  • Visit the ancient ruins of the indigenous city of Quilmes en route
  • Spend 3 nights at a traditional estancia (ranch) with gauchos
  • Transportation in an overland expedition vehicle and 4x4

NB - the following are not included:

-Items of a personal nature, additional meals and drinks
-International flights and visas
-Tipping – an entirely personal gesture
-Sleeping bag and roll mat - please bring your own for camping
-Local payment - $830pp, paid in USD

Dates Price Single Availability
20 Nights
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Dates Price Single Availability
20 Nights
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Dates Price Single Availability
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20 Nights
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Dates Price Single Availability
20 Nights
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Touring with On The Go Tours

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With three different ranges of trips to choose from, there’s sure to be something for everyone. Signature tours are everything that makes On The Go Tours special, with local tour guides, small groups and a great quality of accommodationEssentials tours keep the costs down whilst still delivering true adventure, with a mixture of public transport in Japan and overland trucks in Central Asia, Africa and Latin America.  Whilst on their Handpicked tours, On The Go Tours work with local partners to deliver authentic experiences in amazing destinations, from Iceland to the Galapagos archipelago.

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tour details

This tour is operated by On The Go Tours

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