Embarking on an expedition from La Paz to Potosi and venturing across the surreal landscapes of Uyuni and San Pedro de Atacama in Bolivia and Chile, this odyssey promises an extraordinary fusion of culture, nature, and mysticism.
Upon your arrival in La Paz, you will receive a warm welcome at the airport and be transported to your accommodations. Rest and acclimatize, for La Paz sits at an astonishing elevation of 11,975 feet, making it one of the loftiest capital cities globally.
Bolivia Tour Guide:
1. Exploration of La Paz
Your half-day exploration of La Paz commences in its central quarters. Delve into the Witches’ Market, where medicinal herbs, spices, spiritual artifacts, and superstitious curiosities await. Your journey continues to the venerable San Francisco Cathedral, one of the city’s oldest, and Plaza Murillo. Following this, a visit to the Valle de la Luna, a geological enigma with an otherworldly, moon-like terrain, awaits.
2. Encounter with Tiwanaku Ruins
Travel through the elevated expanse of the Andes on a picturesque hour-long journey to the Tiwanaku Ruins. At this archaeological site, you will explore the principal temples, the Pyramid of Akapana and Kalasasaya, as well as the awe-inspiring Gateways to the Sun and Moon. Amidst the conventional Tiwanaku architecture, you will encounter colossal monoliths and ancient art portraying both the people and deities of Tiwanaku.
3. Sucre, Bolivia’s Symbolic Hub
Today, you shall board a flight from La Paz to Sucre, located at an elevation of 9,214 feet. Sucre serves as the constitutional capital of Bolivia and its symbolic heart. In the afternoon, you will embark on a tour of this remarkable city, encompassing La Casa de la Libertad, the site where the act of independence was signed, and the Asur Museum, showcasing indigenous artistry.
4. Dinosaur Imprints at Cal Orcko
The morning grants you additional time to explore Sucre before you journey to Cal Orcko, home to the world’s largest collection of dinosaur footprints. Here, you will encounter approximately 5,000 imprints from 332 distinct dinosaur species that roamed during the Cretaceous era, 65 million years ago. In the afternoon, you shall ascend to even greater altitudes within the Andean highlands during your three-hour drive to Potosi, beginning at 9,052 feet and ascending to 13,320 feet.
5. Exploration of the Silver Mines at Sumaq Urqu
In Potosi, you shall venture to the renowned mountain of Sumaq Urqu, also known as Cerro Rico, once the largest silver mine globally. Subsequently, your visit to the Casa de la Moneda (Mint House) will provide insights into the captivating history of the world’s first global currency. In the afternoon, your journey continues to Uyuni, granting spectacular views of the Andes.
6. Incahuasi Island and Uyuni Salt Flats
The day commences with a brief visit to the famous yet rusting Train Cemetery of Uyuni. Following this, you proceed to the salt-harvesting village of Colchani, gaining insight into the local salt production methods. Venturing onto the expansive Uyuni Salt Flats, you will explore the enigmatic Incahuasi Island, adorned with towering cacti. Revel in the splendor of the sunset before your overnight stay in Colchani.
7. Expedition into the Eduardo Abaroa Reserve
This day unfolds a tapestry of surreal landscapes, small hamlets, Andean flora and fauna, and expansive skies. Departing from Colchani in a 4WD Jeep, you will journey southward, encountering a series of lakes and lagoons, each distinguished by its unique and often startling hues. Pause for photographs, a picnic repast, short strolls to scenic vantage points, and wildlife observation.
8. Laguna Verde and the Majestic Licancabur Volcano
Set out early to visit the Stone Tree and the geysers of Sol de Mañana, attaining the highest elevation of the journey at 16,404 feet. In Polques, you have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the hot springs of Sol de Manana. Subsequently, proceed to the Laguna Verde, nestled at the base of the Licancabur Volcano. The waters of this lagoon shift in color, transitioning from emerald green to deep green. At day’s end, you will cross the Chilean border into San Pedro de Atacama.
9. Exploration of the Valley of the Moon and Death Valley
Today’s itinerary encompasses visits to the Valley of the Moon and Death Valley, two mystical locales graced by towering dunes and volcanoes that ascend to nearly 19,685 feet in altitude. The afternoon is yours to savor at your leisure.
10. Geothermal Wonders at Geysers del Tatio & the Village of Machuca
On this day, you will journey to the geothermal realm of Geysers del Tatio, arriving at sunrise when the geysers display their most vibrant activity. These natural wonders emit steam that soars up to 100 feet into the heavens. While witnessing this awe-inspiring spectacle of nature, a delectable breakfast will be served.
Thereafter, you will journey back in time to the charming village of Machuca. This remote settlement, situated on the Chilean high plateau at 13,123 feet, features a mere 20 diminutive abodes and a quaint church, all crafted in a traditional style.
Departure from Calama
As your remarkable journey draws to a close, you will be transported from San Pedro de Atacama to the Calama airport.