Border information: if you are joining in Santiago, you will most likely enter Chile at Santiago Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport (IATA code: SCL).
Welcome to Santiago, the cosmopolitan Chilean capital! There will be an important group meeting at 6:00pm at the joining hotel - please look out at the hotel reception for a note from your leader with more details about this important meeting.
The following day is a free day to explore the incredible city, soak up the atmosphere of its streets, and discover its amazing culture, art, and music.
Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Santiago before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Santiago.
In Santiago we will stay in a centrally-located hostel.
Hotel for the night: Happy House Hostel
Happy House Hostel
Tel - +56 2 2688 4849
Learn more about Santiago and its history on a free walking tour of the centre from a knowledgeable local guide : Free
Take in the breathtaking vista of the city skyline backdropped by the mighty Andes, from the viewpoints at Cerro San Cristobal or Cerro San Lucia : Free
Discover all of Santiago's sights on a hop-on/ hop-off bus around the city : CLP 21000
Chile's capital, Santiago, is a large, modern city with a very European atmosphere. In the centre of the city, wide tree-lined boulevards lead to pleasant plazas and leafy parks, and on a clear day the snow-capped peaks of the Andes provide a magnificent backdrop to the Santiago skyline. Much of the centre is pedestrianised, which together with the wide streets and efficient metro system make Santiago an easy city to explore on foot. There are plenty of interesting museums where you can learn more about Chilean history and culture, from the City of Santiago Museum which chronicles the city’s history, to the Natural History Museum and Museum of Pre-Colombian Art. The city's many wonderful parks are also worth a visit, particularly O'Higgins and San Cristóbal which offers great views of the city from Cerro San Lucia. As you would expect from a capital city of this size, Santiago is full of busy bars and restaurants and has some lively nightlife to offer. For cheap eats full of local flavour, head to the Mercado Central which is packed full of food stalls and simple cafes and restaurants. For a real treat, you might want to head out to one of the more upmarket neighbourhoods like Bellavista or Providencia, home to some really world-class restaurants and great bars. Barrio Brazil is also worth a look; this old neighbourhood attracts an arty and bohemian crowd and there are often interesting events going on here. If you have the time, there's also plenty to do in the area surrounding the city. Santiago is right in the middle of Chile's wine producing region, so it is relatively straightforward to arrange full day or half day tours out to the local wineries. You may also be interested in visiting the seaside town of Valparaíso, which can be visited as a day trip from Santiago.
Border information: Exit Chile at Paso Cristo Redentor, enter Argentina at Los Libertadores.
Today we will drive over the stunning Cristo Redentor pass in the high Andes, passing Aconcagua (the highest mountain in the Southern Hemisphere) and heading to the Argentine wine capital of Mendoza, nestled in the dry flats underneath the shadows of the largest mountains of the Andes. Mendoza is the centre of Argentine wine production, and one of the nine 'Wine Capitals of the World' - it is especially famous for its Malbec, grown at some of the highest altitude vineyards to be found in the world.
Estimated Drive Time - 11-12 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).
On the following day we will have a free day to explore the incredible region, head out on various adventure activities, or of course take a tasting tour of the incredible wineries in the region.
In Mendoza we we stay in a centrally located hostel in dorm accommodation.
Head out on a trek through the incredible valleys surrounding Mendoza : ARS 270
Enjoy a day out rock climbing in the stunning landscapes near Mendoza : ARS 930
Go for a horse ride through the arid foothills west of Mendoza : ARS 800
Discover Argentina's wine capital and explore the vineyards of the Mendoza and Maipu region, either on an organised tour or by cycling between the bodgeas : ARS 300
Take an exhilarating white water rafting trip down the Mendoza River : ARS 600
Relax in the beautiful thermal baths in Cacheuta, in the hills above Mendoza : ARS 100
Take a mountain biking trip through the dramatic landscapes of the Andean foothills near Mendoza : ARS 600
Mendoza is a vibrant city full of pleasant leafy boulevards and atmospheric plazas where the locals catch up over coffee in the many street cafes and bars. A university town and an important economic centre, the city has a bustling cosmopolitan feel and has some great restaurants, lively nightlife, interesting museums and galleries, and great shopping. On summer weekends, open-air concerts and markets often take place in the beautiful plazas. Mendoza and the adjacent town of Maipú are perhaps most famous for their wine. Whilst Mendoza is located in the dry deserts just underneath the Andes, extensive artificial irrigation has ;made it possible to grow grapes and olives here, both of which benefit from the long, hot, sunny summers - the region produces around two-thirds of Argentina's wine, and is especially renowned for its Malbec, Temperanillo and Sauvignon Blanc varieties. The wine made here is world class, and tours of local vineyards and wineries are easily arranged. Mendoza is also used by many adventurers as a base from which to explore the colossal mountains in the area. The highest mountain in the Americas, Mt. Aconcagua (with a summit 6,962m above sea level), is in the high Andes just to the west of the city making the city a big draw for mountaineers, and skiing is popular in the winter months.
Today we will compete our drive to our unique Anglo-Argentine Estancia, where we will stay for 3 nights.
Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.
During our time at the Estancia, we will head out horseback riding, taste the excellent wines produced by their vineyards, be entertained by a local musician, learn some of the skills of the gauchos, and enjoy a traditional asado (Argentine BBQ). This isa magical experience in a beautiful and atmospheric location, and many people's highlight of the trip!
Please note that some of these activities are subject to weather conditions. Please also note that there is a strict weight limit of 15 stone (210lbs) or 95kg to partake in the horse riding - if you should weigh more than this, then unfortunately you will not be able to participate in the horseback riding.
In the Estancia we will camp with facilities in the grounds near the main house.
Spend 3 special days at a unique Anglo Argentine Estancia, to experience the gaucho way of living and see the beautiful countryside by horseback : Included in Kitty
Tafi Del Valle
Today we will drive north across the lush flat pampas and start climbing into the drier mountains.
Tonight we will camp in a basic campsite in the town of Tafí del Valle.
Estimated Drive Time - 9-10 hours.
Cafayate / Quilmes Ruins
Today we will have an included visit to the ancient ruins of the indigenous city of Quilmes en route, then arrive in the serene town of Cafayate. This small unassuming town is the centre of one of Argentina's principal wine producing regions, famous for the quality of its Torrentes and Tannat wines! We will have the opportunity to go to a few of the vineyards nearby to see how the wine is made, and of course to try them!
In Cafayate we stay at a campsite with good facilities.
Estimated Drive Time - 2-3 hours.
Explore the atmospheric ruins of the indigenous city of Quilmes in north west Argentina : Included in Kitty
Visit the impressive rock formations of 'El Amphiteatro' and 'La Garganta del Diablo' en route through the primeval landscape of the Quebrada de las Conchas : Included in Kitty
Explore the vineyards of Cafayate and discover the area's delicious wines and bodgeas on a wine-tasting excursion : ARS 50
Cafayate is a small town in north west Argentina, and is world-famous for its wine production. The surrounding vineyards produce some of the best quality wine in South America - Cafayate is particularly renowned for its Torrontes, a distinctive and crisp white wine that is typically Argentinian and similar in style to a Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio. Cafayate itself is small and has a sleepy laid-back feel, although it can become busy during Argentinian holiday periods. Many of the local bodegas offer tastings and tours of their wine cellars which can be easily organised while you are here. Also worth seeking out is the local ice-cream parlour, which together with the more usual flavours also offers red and white wine ice-cream!
About Quilmes Ruins:
The ruins of the city of Quilmes are located on a remote hillside in the Tucumán province in north west Argentina. The people of Quilmes were an indigenous tribe who inhabited this area as far back as 850 CE, fiercely resisting attempted Inca invasions in the 15th and 16th Centuries and even holding out against the Spanish for over 100 years before finally succumbing to a siege led by the colonial powers in 1667. After the siege, the Spanish took the area over and deported the few surviving indigenous people to a 'reservation' close to Buenos Aires. The 2000 remaining Quilmes Indians were forced to make this 1500km journey on foot, causing many to die along the way. The ruins of the city are the largest and most important preColumbian site in Argentina - at its height the city would have housed nearly 5000 people, however today there are only a handful of Quilmes' descendants left in Tucumán.
oday we will drive through the spectacular rock formations of the Quebrada de las Conchas, and reach the beautiful colonial town of Salta.
Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.
On the following day, we will have a free day to explore the town of Salta, visit its many museums, or explore the beautiful surrounding hills on foot or by mountain bike. We will also have the chance to take the cable car to the viewpoint on San Bernardo Hill overlooking the town, or take the famous 'Train to the Clouds' through some of the incredible mountian scenery nearby.
In Salta we will stay in a local hotel or guesthouse.
Take the cable car up to the top of San Bernardo Hill, and take in the breathtaking views out over the city of Salta below : ARS 110
Explore the beautiful mountains and forests near Salta on a mountain biking trip : ARS 690
Salta is an attractive town in the north west of Argentina. Nicknamed "Salta la Linda" (or "Salta the Beautiful"), the city is well known as being a stunning town in a beautiful area. Home to some fantastic colonial architecture, the old town centres around the main plaza which is lined with cafes and restaurants, a great place to independently explore and soak up the serene Argentine atmosphere. To get a better view of the city and surrounding area you can take a cable-car from Parque San Martín up to the Cerro San Bernardo viewpoint overlooking the city, and the many churches and the cathedral are also worth a visit. Salta is also home to some fantastic museums, making it a good place to learn a bit more about Argentinian history and culture.
San Pedro De Atacama
Border information: Exit Argentina at Paso Jama, enter Chile at Paso Jama.
Today we will have a drive day to cross the mighty Andes, cross the border into Chile, and then descend all the way into the Atacama desert.
Estimated Drive Time - 9-10 hours.
On the following day we will have a free day to explore the incredible highlights of the Atacama desert surrounding San Pedro. In the evening we will take an included trip out to the extraordinary Moon Valley, where we will hopefully see an incredible sunset. At night we will also have the chance to go stargazing, in one of the world's premier regions for astronomy (please note that this is only possible when there is not a full moon).
In San Pedro de Atacama we will stay in a centrally located hostel.
Observe the night skies through the powerful telescopes of the observatory in the Atacama Desert near San Pedro, and learn all about the heavens on a fascinating talk from one of the astronomers (not available during the week of a full moon) : CLP 20000
Visit the incredible salt plains of the Salar de Atacama, and take a swim in the salty pools of Laguna Cejar : CLP 2000
Take a tour of the stunning Lagunas Altiplánicas, backdropped by the incredible deserts and volcanic scenery of the region : CLP 30000
Relax in the blissful natural volcanic hot springs of Puritama, in the hills above San Pedro : CLP 15000
Explore the dramatic, other-worldly landscape of the Moon Valley, and take in an incredible sunset from one of its high viewpoints : Included in Kitty
About San Pedro De Atacama:
San Pedro is a small oasis town in the Atacama desert in northern Chile. It's a quirky little place - low-lying adobe buildings line the narrow streets, leading to a sleepy tree-lined plaza that's home to a pretty white-washed church and a fascinating small museum with some interesting mummies and various other Indian artifacts. Pleasant though the town is, the real attraction here is the phenomenal surrounding landscapes and scenery. Perhaps most well known is the unusual desert landscape of "Moon Valley", just a short distance outside San Pedro, where other-worldly rock formations, unusual layer-cake landscapes and huge dunes combine to create some incredible views. The sunsets here can be amazing, the changing light turning the stone and sand a kaleidoscope of different colours, so the end of the day is definitely the best time of day to visit. There are a whole host of other activities on offer here, from star-gazing and visit the Atacama salt flats, to horse-riding and mountain-biking in the surrounding countryside. The town itself is also a pleasant place just to kick-back and relax, with some good bars and restaurants thanks to the developing tourist-trade.
We will depart San Pedro de Atacama early today to drive to the world's highest Geyser field, at 4300m above sea level, the El Tatio Geysers are an impressive sight first thing in the morning. After time to explore, we will continue our journey into the Reserva Nacional Alto Loa, we will have plenty of opportunities for photographs along the way on this scenic drive.
Tonight we will bush camp in a beautiful, remote spot close to the Bolivian Border.
Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.
Please note: The weather in this region can be unpredictable and has been known to close the road to the border. On these occasions we will take an alternate route across the Altiplano, crossing into either Chile or Argentina at a different border point. Your Tour Leaders will keep you informed of any changes that may be necessary.
Take the epic journey across the Altiplano - an incredible high-altitude, off-road adventure through a surreal desert landscape, taking in bizarre rock formations, geysirs, and phenomenal coloured lakes. - Included in Kitty
Today we will have an early start to complete our epic crossing of the Bolivian altiplano, and reach the town of Uyuni, the gateway to the incredible salt flats of the Salar de Uyuni.
In Uyuni we will stay in a friendly hotel, famous for serving the highest pizzas in the world!
Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.
Arriving in Uyuni feels a bit like you've reached the end of the road, which in many ways is true. This remote small town sits on the edge of the high altiplano, a wilderness that extends for hundreds of kilometres to wards the border with Argentina and Chile - so it's hardly surprising that the town can have a bit of a wild-west feel about it. Uyuni is of course best known for being the gateway to the Bolivian salt flats known as the "Salar de Uyuni". Also nearby is the Train Cemetery, a graveyard for the carcasses of old steam engines that have been left here to rust - an other-worldly and eerie sight set in the bright altiplano sunshine against the background of the distant Salar.
Salar De Uyuni
Today we will venture out onto the salt flats of the Salar de Uyuni, spending a full day exploring this phenomenal location by jeep and on foot. En route we will explore the nearby train graveyard and the cactus-filled 'Fish Island', and take all the time we need to get plenty of perspective-bending photographs!
Take a full day tour out in jeeps to the dazzling Salar de Uyuni Salt Flats - the spectacular, perfectly-flat salt plains that are one of South America's most incredible sights : Included in Kitty
About Salar De Uyuni:
The Salar de Uyuni is a truly unforgettable sight, and a landscape quite unlike anything you'll have seen anywhere else in the world! The Salar de Uyuni is a dazzling dry lake of over 12,000 sq. kms, made of blinding white interlocking salt crystals. It is the world's largest salt pan, and is bright white expanse that stretches as far as the eye can see - when there's a little bit of water on the flats, it reflects the bright blue sky of the altiplano perfectly, acting like a mirror and making the horizon disappear!
oday we will leave Cochabamba and drive north to La Paz, Bolivia’s seat of government and the highest administrative capital in the world!
Estimated Drive Time - 8-9 hours.
On the following day we have a free day to explore the city or take part in optional activities.
In La Paz we will stay in a good hotel in the historical centre.
Take the spectacular downhill mountain-bike trip down the infamous 'World's Most Dangerous Road', a 3,500m descent from the high mountain plateau near La Paz to the steaming jungles of Corioco via the dramatic road cut into the cliff : USD 110
Take a guided tour to explore the amazing preInca ruins of Tiwanaku, once the centre of one of the most important cultures in South America : BOB 180
Take a trip out to the mountain resort of Chacaltaya and the other-worldly landscape of the Moon Valley near La Paz : BOB 120
Take a guided tour of the main sights and viewpoints around La Paz : BOB 60
Discover Bolivia's history, art, and culture in some of La Paz's many museums such as the San Francisco Museum and the Museum of Ethnography : BOB 20
About La Paz:
Bolivia's largest city of La Paz is spectacularly located lying huddled in a canyon basin, hiding from the harsh conditions of the surrounding altiplano. It is a fascinating city - the old town and more expensive neighbourhoods at the bottom of the canyon in the centre, surrounded by sprawling shanty-towns which extend up the slopes of the bowl, merging into the huge Aymara district of "El Alto" back on the plains, a suburb of La Paz that has grown to be a city in its own right. The city skyline is dominated by the snow-capped peaks of Mount Illimani, a staggeringly beautiful backdrop that leaves many visitors stunned when then catch their first glimpse of the city as they descend into the canyon. The old town is full of markets and winding cobbled streets full of people in traditional Aymara clothing selling anything and everything you could ever think of, including dried llama foetuses on sale in the witch's market! There are plenty of other activities to do in La Paz, including the famous downhill bike ride through the Yungas on the 'world's most dangerous road'!
Border information: if you are finishing in La Paz, you will most likely exit Bolivia at La Paz El Alto International Airport (IATA code: LPB).
Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in La Paz. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact the Dragoman Sales team if you are interested in booking extra nights of accommodation in order to fully explore and take part in some of the optional activities listed below.