From diverse landscapes to deep-rooted cultures and contrasting destinations, this trip covers a lot of ground across South America in a relatively short period of time. La Paz provides insight into the many sides of Bolivian culture. While young people flock to the city for its booming industry, traditionally dressed residents sell ancient potions at the Witches’ Market. The landscapes of Salar de Uyuni are so unique they’re almost extra-terrestrial. Embark on a three-day adventure via 4WD across the rocky Atacama Desert and the largest salt lakes in the world – passing cactus islands, train cemeteries and mineral lakes teeming with flamingos. The last stop of the trip gives you a couple of days to get under the skin of Buenos Aires. With its eclectic neighbourhoods, emphasis on food and wine and huge theatre scene, this is the perfect way to end your adventure
Get off the tourist trail on this extraordinary adventure through Bolivia and Argentina’s wild interior. Explore La Paz and travel across the sprawling, other-worldly landscapes of the Salar de Uyuni before arriving in vibrant Buenos Aires.
Breakfast Included: 11 Lunches Included: 2 Dinner Included: 2
Welcome to La Paz, the quirky Altiplano city of your dreams. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place. If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader. As La Paz is 3600 metres above sea level, please ensure you take the necessary measurements in regards to altitude sickness (refer to ‘Is This Trip Right For You?’ and ‘Health’ sections for important information).
Your second day in La Paz is free to explore after a brief guided walk with your leader. The city is renowned for its markets, especially the Mercado de Hechiceria (Witches' Market), which sells potions, incantations, stones and artefacts. Ask a local about their significance – most people are happy to explain. Perhaps visit the Coca Museum, which isn’t too far from your hotel in the Rosario district. You might like to take part in one of our Urban Adventure day trips, such as the Food With Altitude or To 3600 Metres, and Beyond tours.
Late in the afternoon, leave La Paz on an overnight bus to Uyuni (approximately 11-12 hours). There are comfortable recliner seats on the bus, but it can be cold on-board so it’s important to bring warm clothing and wear base layers. There’s usually a toilet on the bus and the driver will also make a couple of stops along the way.
Salar de Uyuni
Arrive in Uyuni Town. This remote town sits on the edge of the high Altiplano, a wilderness area extending for hundreds of kilometres towards the border with Argentina and Chile. The area is notorious for being extremely cold, so it’s important to pack warm clothing and base layers. Upon arrival to Uyuni (early morning) venture out on a three-day 4WD excursion. Be prepared for a busy few days ahead. The first stop will be at a rusty Train Cemetery before you continue on to Salar de Uyuni – the world’s largest salt flats. While this may be a typical stop for many travellers, it’s also often a highlight. Make the most of your time on the salt flats taking lots of photos and explore Inka Wasi Isla, which is a rocky island covered in cacti and coral-like structures.
Today will be spent driving through the spectacular landscape of the Andean (Atacama) Desert, which is sprinkled with volcanoes and lakes. Stop by the red lake of Laguna Colorada, where you’ll be able to spot wildlife such llamas, flamingos, viscachas and foxes feasting in the nutrient-rich waters.
San Pedro de Atacama
This morning stop by the desert’s natural thermal baths for a soak and then head to the Bolivia/Chile border, where the Bolivian part of your trip comes to an end. Pass by geysers, salt flats and snow-capped volcanoes on your way to San Pedro de Atacama in Chile. As a small oasis town, San Pedro is surrounded by extraordinary scenery. Use your free time to wander around, perhaps checking out the quaint Church of San Pedro de Atacama or the town’s central plaza.
San Pedro de Atacama
Use today to get under the skin of this burgeoning tourist destination. San Pedro’s cafe and restaurant scene has grown considerably over the last couple of years. With a mix of Chilean, French and Italian influences, you’ll be sure to find a great spot for lunch and dinner. Perhaps head out on an optional tour to the Moon Valley (Valle de la Luna) or join an astronomical tour once the stars come out, just chat to your leader for details.
Today will be a long day of travel (approximately 12 hours), as you leave San Pedro and head for Salta, Argentina. Salta's rich history, colonial architecture, friendly locals and surrounding natural attractions make it one Argentina's main attractions.
Today is a free day to explore Salta and its attractions. If you’re after something active, hike up the 1070 steps to the summit of Cerro San Bernardo; the mountain that looms over Salta. You can take a gondola (cable car) to the top if you’d prefer. Either way, the view from the top is magnificent.
After a free morning in Salta, take an included flight to Buenos Aires, Argentina's capital, Buenos Aires. This evening, you might like to enjoy a tango show, a football match or a steak and glass of Malbec in one of the city’s fashionable restaurants.
The next two days are free to explore Buenos Aires. Join the tourists and walk among the tombs at the La Recoleta Cemetery, the final resting place of Eva Peron. There are also some great museums to check out in the Recoleta district. Visit the neighbourhood of La Boca, home to the colourful Caminito artists’ street and world-renowned soccer team, Boca Juniors. Perhaps take part in an Urban Adventure centred on the city’s love of food, such as the Malbec Trail of Palermo or the Gourmet Buenos Aires Food tour (contact us for more information). If you need to rest your feet, settle down at one of the many street side cafes to watch the world go by with the locals.
After breakfast, your adventure around Bolivia and Argentina comes to an end. There are no activities planned for the final day so you’re able to depart the accommodation at any time after you check out.