Today we will have an unforgettable trip through 12.000 km² of fantastic landscapes of salt. Prepare your photo camera! The blinding white mantle of Salar de Uyuni resembles an immense glacier. In winter (dry season, from May to November/December), when the surface hardens, geometric figures appeare formed by the particles of salt amassed in polygons. In summer (rainy season, from December to March/April) the saline desert becomes a gigantic mirror auf water that melts into the purest sky in America. We will enter the salt flat through Colchani, where the small family run salt factories are located. We will visit one of them, where we will receive an explanation about the economy of the salt that governs the town's life based on a cooperative organization. Next we will have the privilege of visiting Incahuasi Island that has an ascension path to its peak that turns into an extraordinary 360 degree viewpoint. This island surprises by the quantity of giant cactus (Echinopsis atacamensis) that populate the Island. We will have a box lunch on the island and later we'll go towards the dominant and magic figure of the Tunupa Volcano to whose foothills is located the village of Coquesa, from where the ascent will begin in our 4x4 to reach an appreciable height from where the views of the Monumental Salt Desert are impressive. A short walk takes us to see the¨chullpares¨ - rock graves, which are old burials sites of ancient mummies. A neighboring village of Coquesa is Tahua, where we arrive to our hotel for the night. Accommodation in the Hotel Tayka de Sal, with private bathroom, hot water and heating (Bx, D).
Today we will dedicate us to the part of the Salt Flat ignored by tourism yet, also called ¨Salar Sensual¨. We will head our 4X4 car towards Ch'jini, a place little visited by the tourism despite of its nonpareil beauty. Here, we will ascend to the "cathedral", rock formation at the shore of the salt lake of approximately 40 m high where a ¨pucara¨ or ruins are located as a presume remain of an old Tiwanacota civilization. The challenge of ascending to the very crest of the "cathedral" is simple but with the guaranteed means of security, it is an opportunity to distill adrenaline in order to reach one of the most exceptional viewpoints in the world. Next we will visit the cave of Ch'jini, result of a sub aquatic geologic formation. The beauty and fragility of these geologic formations have forced the community to organize the visit in small groups. Continuing our travel, we will have the privilege of crossing from north to south the most beautiful part of the white desert, the ¨Salar Sensual¨, far from the usual route of the tourists. Going towards the Fish Island we will have a brief walk and will continue through the bay of the ¨Islas Campanas¨ (Bell Islands) dominated by the image of the Volcano Caltama configuring a nonpareil landscape and environment. We will abandon the Salt flat leaving through ¨Charagua¨, and it will take us one more hour to arrive to the Burnt Village of San Pedro de Quemes, where we will walk through its narrow alleys and constructions that have inspired the Tayka de Piedra Hotel. Lunch at the Hotel. In the afternoon the dominant figure of the Volcano Ollagüe that remains active, will lead us towards the bouquet of colorful mountain lakes: The lagoons Cañapa, Hedionda, Chiarkota, Honda and Ramaditas, in which you will enjoy to photograph great quantity of flamingos. Later on we will enter in desert surfaces of sand and stone of enormous extension, without routes, almost without direction. These fantastic deserts owns the whole palette of terracottas, red, oranges, ochers, brasses, browns and beige fighting in every curve of the road for the traveler's attention. In front of this palette of colors was lifted the Hotel Tayka del Desierto, with private bathrooms, hot water and heating (B, Bx, D).
We will leave early at dawn towards our first contact with the Andean Flora and Fauna at Eduardo Avaroa Reserve when visiting the ¨arbol de piedra¨ (Stone Tree). Next we will have a visit to the stunning ¨Laguna Colorada¨ (Red Lagoon) to observe its great population of flamingos. We will continue toward the Geisers of Sol de Mañana in order to get surprised by their most active moments. This will be the highest point on the route, near 5000 m.a.s.l. The desert and Salt Flat of Chalviri is scenery of great landscape value that combines the white of the borax, the ocher of the desert, and the blue of the water. In one of its corners we will be able to take a bath in the hot springs of Polques. When leaving we will pass in front the scenery of the desert ¨Las Damas del Desierto¨, masterpieces of rocks carved by wind and the wheater. And once again, now as an excess, we will see the ¨Laguna Verde¨ (the Green Lagoon) at the feet of the Licancabur Volcano, other pearl of the Reserve.
The border crossing will be at Hrs 13:00, for the SEMI-private transfer to San Pedro de Atacama (B, Box). End of our services in San Pedro de Atacama.
Optional: Continuing to Uyuni
From the ¨Laguna Verde¨ (Green Lagoon), we will go back to Uyuni. On the way having lunchtime in Polques. We will say goodbye to the last llamas and vicuñas that have accompanied us from the beginning on of our journey and we will continue looking for the suri or Andean ñandu that is not easy to been seen.
Uyuni was the first place in Bolivia where the whistle of a train was listened. It became the hub of the first railway line of the country in 1890. Today the most important remains of its railroad history (that date from 1890), can be observed at the so called "The train cemetery" located at 3 Km in the outskirts of the city of Uyuni. It consists of steam locomotives and wagons, being one of the most important attractions in its kind worldwide. End of our services in Uyuni.
List of hotels:
1N: Hotel Tayka de Sal, Tahua (http://www.creativetoursbolivia.com/hotel-tayka-de-sal/)
1N: Hotel Tayka del Desierto, Ojo de Perdiz (http://www.creativetoursbolivia.com/hotel-tayka-del-desierto/)
- Logistical support and on call emergency services are available 24hs.
- Driverguide in Spanish language highly specialized for travel in the region.
- Shared Transportation in 4WD (max. 4 passengers per car), equipped with satellite communication
- (opt. transfer from the bolivian-chilenean border at the Hito Cajon to San Pedro de Atacama, driver only)
- 2 nights in a double room
- Meals as described in the itinerary (B= Breakfast, L= Lunch, D= Dinner).
- Local taxes
- Statutory taxes and fees
- Entrance fees
- Guide in another language other than Spanish
- Travel insurance, tips or other expenses of personal nature
- All services not mentioned in the program
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