Premier San Pedro de Atacama to Uyuni Tours
This journey from Atacama to Uyuni is the ultimate travel experience, discovering the unearthly world of the Altiplano through some of the world’s most isolated hiking routes and remote mountain homes, which are nicer than any of the hotels in the area. (hotels are very basic). Can also be done in reverse.
Starting 15 March 2023, the season will be extended and operate continuously throughout the year. Travelers will now be able to enjoy this unparalleled private journey through the Atacama Desert to the Uyuni Salt Flat from January to December.
This sample 8 night itinerary is described departing from San Pedro de Atacama, but you can decide to start from Uyuni. If you want to depart from Uyuni you need to have started your acclimation process (have been above 3,000 m.a.s.l./ 9,842 f.a.s.l. for at least 3 nights).
Day 1 - San Pedro de Atacama, Chile
We pick you up at the Calama airport and transfer you to the oasis of San Pedro de Atacama, located at 2,407 meters above sea level/ 7,897 feets above sea level. It is a 1-hour drive to the explora Atacama hotel, where your arrival sparks an immersion in the essence of the remote. After your welcome, we introduce you to the region with a talk either just before lunch, or after your first exploration, depending on the time you arrive. In the end of the day, you and a guide discuss and decide where and what you will be exploring in the next few days.
We do recommend you start off by exploring the oasis, the La Sal and Domeyko mountain ranges, the Atacama salt flat and the unparalleled canyons, landscapes and ecosystems. After that, adventuring yourself over the Altiplano’s 4,000 m.a.s.l/ 13,123 f.a.s.l. is an experience you will not regret. But above all, experiencing the Puritama hot springs with your own senses is a must.
This is the perfect start for the transforming journey ahead of you. Warm up body and mind by unravelling the many charms that astonishingly bloom in the Atacama desert.
Days 2 and 3 - Atacama Desert
Delve into the world’s driest desert and feel its inextricable aura in every step and landscape. The plan you and your guide have idealized together begins to unfold at your own pace in this private program. The activities range from light to difficulty levels, short to long durations, and multiple exploration methods: hiking, horseback, bike rides, drives and short walks, and even mountain climbing, for the adventurous-spirited. And remember: any weather makes a perfect day for exploring. But if the skies happen to be clear, dive into the fresh desert night sky in an astronomy session in the observatory at our hotel.
Day 4 - Crossing the border
Time to get back on the move. As sunlight cracks the deep blue sky, we depart from San Pedro de Atacama early in the morning and leave behind the oasis – but all we have lived and learned these first few days remains with us for life. We begin the trip through the Andes and reach the border at Hito Cajón, 47 km/ 29 miles away from our starting point. We are now in Bolivia. Along with an explora guide, we switch vehicles and carry on our journey through the captivating entrails of the Altiplano.
The exploration continues as we go. We visit the Sol de la Mañana geysers and a myriad of salt flats, wetlands and lagoons. The Colorada lagoon is the perfect spot to sight flamingos in their natural habitat, and is also where we savour lunch as we gaze at the colours of the Altiplano vividly mingling.
We then proceed until we reach the mountain home at Ramaditas, where we watch the sun set into the horizon and finally rest for a new day. As we close our eyes, we can feel and listen to the vast silence, the lonely beauty of the territory we have just started to unearth
Day 5 - From Ramaditas to Chituca
The wondrous landscapes are never-ending as we approach the Uyuni salt flat. In the morning, we set off to Chituca, where we will spend the next night. On the way, we get to walk through ancient mines and valleys. The Turquiri lagoon, with its great diversity of birds and rock formations, is the perfect setting for a restoring lunch. It is then time to explore the region in greater depth: choose between hiking or alternating drives and short walks. After the exploration is done, we continue the drive towards Chituca, where we will learn about the culture and lifestyle of local families. At nightfall, the silence of the Altiplano fills the air as we wonder at the starry shimmering sky, which has served as a map for the villages in the region for centuries and centuries.
Day 6 - From Chituca to the Uyuni Salt Flat
After a fulfilling breakfast, we set off to one of the explorations of your choice. Explore the surroundings, roaming the cactus forest and the ancient agricultural terraces nearby. Or visit the village of San Pedro de Quemes, a former Spanish settlement with bewildering panoramic views of the Altiplano and the salt flat. We then continue our journey towards the Gruta de Las Galaxias, an astonishing cave with rare geological formations where you will discover and experience a fascinating part of Andean history.
Resuming our trip, 10,000 km²/ 3,861 mi2 of pure white majestically emerge out of thin air before us – we arrive at the Uyuni salt flat. This is the salt flat with the greatest area and the highest altitude on Earth, located at 3,665 m.a.s.l./ 12,024 f.a.s.l. We stop for lunch at the salt flat, where your next exploration sets off: an explorative hike at the Pescado Island or an overland journey to it. Once complete, we drive to Uyuni lodge, settled on the slopes of the Tunupa volcano.
Day 7 and 8 - Uyuni Salt Flat
Enjoy the wonderful view of the Uyuni Salt Flat from the comfort of our lodge, operated in partnership with local families.. Your guide will help you decide the explorations you would like to go on. You can choose from hikes, overland trips, and bike rides. Climbing the multi-hued slopes of the volcano up to 5,432 m.a.s.l/ 17,835 f.a.s.l., biking across a section of the salt flat, or cruising the slopes of the volcano and stopping by at villages along the way are a few of the possibilities. What you see here will remain imprinted in your heart, soul and fondest memory for the rest of your life.
Day 9 - Uyuni
After a nourishing breakfast, we drive across the eastern area of the salt flat towards the Uyuni airport, recalling all we have lived for the past days as we gaze off into the rare beauty and enormity of this extraordinary place. A last glance. For now.
Should your journey start from Uyuni, please consider beginning the crossing after spending at least 2 nights above 2,500 m.a.s.l/ 8,202 f.a.s.l., so as to give your body time to adapt to local conditions and prepare for the journey ahead.
Extra Night in Atacama - Extension to 9 Nights
We believe San Pedro de Atacama and its surroundings deserve an extra night of your stay for deeper exploration, although time will never seem enough to unravel the essence of the Atacama desert in its entirety. Extending your stay is also an option for those who prefer to savour the moment in no hurry, and to enjoy a relaxing afternoon in our swimming pools or reading in the living room.
Add one more night at explora Atacama to your 8-night itinerary and go even deeper into the remote. You will never regret it.
Or we can offer a 2 night extension to the 8 night itinerary so that you can explore more in the remote areas. For example:
Day 5 - Ramaditas
Fresh exploration possibilities come to life with every inch of the Altiplano illuminated by the new morning. Ahead of you: a day full of discoveries. Choose from hikes, overlands, and mountain climbs to unfold the beauty and spirit within the shimmering lagoons, vast valleys, bewildering salt flats and majestic rocky formations – some of them so grand we call “cathedrals” – surrounding the mountain home. When night starts to fall, we return to the refuge and spend the evening at the heart of the Altiplano, connecting with nature and with ourselves.
Day 7 - Chituca
Another new day in Chituca allures deeper exploration of this abundant region. You may delve into the wonders of the territory in a full-day exploration, or return for lunch at the mountain home. Trail ancient routes, discover shepherds’ havens, sight the colours of quinoa plantations, decipher petroglyphs and pictoglyphs that depict Andean history, and even climb the mountains to presence the region’s active volcano. At nightfall, the silence of the Altiplano fills the air as we wonder at the starry shimmering sky, which has served as a map for the people in the region for centuries and at which we will be able to have an exceptional look through a astronomy binocular.
Book with up to 20% off!
All our new bookings with stays between 14 April and 15 October 2023 can receive up to 20% off.
The 8-night/9-day travel itinerary has the following cost per person, double occupancy: USD 8,720
The 9-night/10-day travel itinerary has the following cost per person, double occupancy: USD 9,810
The 10-night/11-day travel itinerary has the following cost per person, double occupancy: USD 10,400
The 11-night/12-day travel itinerary has the following cost per person, double occupancy: USD 11,440
The rates are valid for bookings for 2023.
Per every 2 people travelling together they will have one car, one driver and the guide, so if you have 3 couples travelling together, they will do it with 3 cars, drivers, guides.
With more than 90% of sunny days, San Pedro de Atacama has a privileged weather all year-round. During the day, temperature goes from 8°C to 23°C in winter (June to September) and from 12°C to 28°C in summer (December to March).
Uyuni´s weather is as dry as San Pedro’s but, because it is at higher levels, it is usually colder. During the winter (June to September), daily temperatures fluctuate between 2°C and 18°C, and during the summer (September to December) between 5°C and 20°C. Temperatures at night can be as low as -20°C.
Between January and March, the area if affected by “the Altiplano Winter” whose heavy rains deeply damage the tracks. For this reason, the journeys are only available from April to December. In San Pedro, explora Atacama is open all-year round as the effect of the climatic phenomenon is much lighter.
During the journey, we use special vehicles, well equipped and with satellite communication. A maximum two people can take part in the journey, along with an expert guide and supporting staff.
The guides have been carefully selected and trained in a School of Guides. Where they all know perfectly the explored areas and hold the Wilderness First Responder (WFR) Certification, a guarantee that they are capable of helping people in remote places. In all the journeys, they travel with a complete first aid kit and oxygen equipment.
To be healthy enough to be able to face heights and fluctuating temperatures. Adventure and good spirit.
Some people are sleep deprived when in altitude. Only in that case, we advise you to bring some products that can help you sleep.
Accommodations: (all with hot water and heaters)
Explora Atacama, Chile (2,407 m.a.s.l – 7,897 f.a.s.l)
This hotel in the desert is only steps away from the village of San Pedro de Atacama. Every detail, from architecture to cuisine, has been idealized for your maximum comfort and fulfilling rest in the end of a day of discoveries in the remote. Explore towering sand dunes, marvelous salt esplanades, and monumental volcanoes under the clearest sky on Earth by foot, bicycle, horseback, van and hiking, or even from our observatory. Besides 50 rooms, it has an observatory, stables, a swimming pool and hot tub area, and a traditional adobe house, where our typical barbecue takes place, with local music and folkloric dances. A legitimate Andean experience.
Mountain home at Ramaditas, Bolivia (4,075 m.a.s.l – 13,369 f.a.s.l.)
Vivid multi-coloured lagoons and the centenary silence of the Andean mountains mesh with the mountain home at Ramaditas, a combination of cozy common areas and 4 double or matrimonial rooms in the very heart of the Altiplano. Staying here includes a myriad of exploration possibilities, such as geysers, salt flats, lagoons, rocky formations, ancient commercial routes and extensive Andean valleys. Truly breath-taking.
Mountain home at Chituca, Bolivia (3,732 m.a.s.l – 12,244 f.a.s.l)
The panoramic view of the Altiplano and salt flat that once used to be admired by shepherds from their settlement is today’s view from the mountain home at Chituca. There are many more past settlements and other cultural relics in the region for exploring, besides Andean landscapes, colourful quinoa fields, and local villages full of history waiting to be shared. Once it is time to rest, you may relax in the cozy living room, and appreciate the incredible view from our dining room as your relish the final meal of the day.
Uyuni Lodge, Bolivia (3,681 m.a.s.l – 12,077 f.a.s.l)
North of the Uyuni Salt Flat, on the foothills of the impressive Tunupa Volcano, our lodge –operated in partnership with local families– welcomes you with an outstanding view of the vastest salt flat on Earth. The region allures exploration. Climb the polychromous slopes of the Tunupa, travel across the islands of the salt flat, and discover local villages, wetlands and archaeological sites all around us.