This itinerary is perfect for those looking for a short trip through some of the most awe-inspiring natural sites in Chile and Bolivia. Start your trip in the Chilean desert town of San Pedro de Atacama, head to the otherworldly terrain of the Valley of the Moon and the Valley of Death, hike around the Licancabur Volcano, and end your trip with a tour of the Uyuni Salt Flats.

Highlights

  • Go sandboarding and watch a sunset in the Valley of Death
  • Bathe in hot springs at the Sol de Mañana geysers
  • See wild flamingoes at the Eduardo Avaroa Andean Flora and Fauna Reserve
  • Visit the Uyuni Salt Flats and see giant cacti on Incahuasi Island

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in San Pedro de Atacama San Pedro de Atacama
Day 2 Visit the Valley of the Moon & the Valley of Death San Pedro de Atacama
Day 3 Eduardo Avaroa Andean Flora and Fauna Reserve - Villa Mar Villa Mar
Day 4 San Cristobal - Colchani colchani
Day 5 Colchani - Uyuni Salt Flats - La Paz  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in San Pedro de Atacama

Church of San Pedro de Atacama
Church of San Pedro de Atacama

Welcome to Atacama! A representative will pick you up from Calama's El Loa Airport (CJC) and transfer you to your hotel in the town of San Pedro de Atacama. After check-in, you will have the rest of the day free to enjoy the town. 

Day 2: Visit the Valley of the Moon & the Valley of Death

Rock formations in the Valley of Death
Rock formations in the Valley of Death

The Atacama Desert is one of the planet's driest ecosystems, and the landscapes found there are often compared to those of the moon and other planets. Today, a driver will take you to two of the desert's most famous sites. First, you'll see the Valley of the Moon, with its unique stone and sand formations carved by wind and water erosion. If you'd like, you can watch a dramatic pink and purple sunset among the rocks.

You'll also get to explore the Valley of Death, known for giant sand dunes that you can climb and sandboard, or you can witness them from rocky outcrops that surround the sandy expanse. Off in the distance, you'll see volcanoes that reach six thousand meters above sea level! We return to the hotel in the afternoon for some free time! 

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Day 3: Eduardo Avaroa Andean Flora and Fauna Reserve - Villa Mar

Green Lagoon and Licancabur Volcano
Green Lagoon and Licancabur Volcano

After breakfast this morning, a driver will pick up from your hotel and take you across the border into Bolivia. After you get through migration procedures, you'll change vehicles and start a 4x4 tour through the spectacular sites of the Eduardo Avaroa Andean Flora and Fauna Reserve. You'll visit the Sol de Mañana geysers at a breathy altitude of 5,000 meters above sea level, and you can also take a bath in the hot springs. After this, you'll see the Green Lagoon at the foot of the Licancabur Volcano and watch the water change colors as the sun passes overhead. Later, you'll continue on to visit the Red Lagoon and look for three species of Flamingoes. At the end of the day, you will arrive at the village of Villa Mar where you'll have the evening free to relax and have dinner.

Day 4: San Cristobal - Colchani

Flamingos on a lagoon in Bolivia
Flamingos on a lagoon in Bolivia

After breakfast, you'll continue your adventure through the high desert as you see even more volcanoes and colorful lagoons. You will also be able to enjoy closer views of unique Andean wildlife like flamingos. In the early afternoon, your driver will stop in the village of San Cristobal where you can have lunch, explore, and see the Valley of the Rocks before continuing on to your unique salt hotel in Colchani.

Day 5: Colchani - Uyuni Salt Flats - La Paz

View of the salt flats from Incahuasi Island
View of the salt flats from Incahuasi Island

Today, a driver will pick you up at your hotel in Colchani and drive you to the great Uyuni Salt Flats where you can visit the small salt museum (which was constructed with salt!) and tour the salt flat, known as the salar. You'll also get to walk around the otherworldly Incahuasi Island that is covered in enormous cacti, and it boasts amazing views of the flats.

After you explore this area, you'll return to the salt-harvesting village of Colchani to see how the locals produce salt. Then, you will visit the famed train cemetery that's filled with rusting train cars that were once used to transport minerals and people to and from Uyuni.

At the end of the day, you'll be transferred to El Alito International Airport (LPB) in La Paz.

Map

Map of San Pedro de Atacama & Great Uyuni Salt Flats - 5 Days
Map of San Pedro de Atacama & Great Uyuni Salt Flats - 5 Days