Santiago to La Paz Trip Notes

Santiago to La Paz

Last Modified: 07 Sep 2016
Santiago to La Paz
Trip code: GDOF
Validity: 01 Jan 2017 to 31 Dec 2017
Travel to South America and set off on an unforgettable adventure through the soaring Andes, meeting friendly locals and discovering the rich culture and breathtaking scenery of this remarkable region. Starting in Chile's vibrant Santiago, this incredible journey continues through Argentina's picturesque wine region and includes an estancia stay – the perfect opportunity to unleash that inner gaucho. Discover the delights of colonial Salta before crossing into Bolivia to admire the mesmerising salt flats of Salar de Uyuni and fiery-red Laguna Colorada before finishing the adventure in colourful La Paz. This amazing trip is the perfect way to experience the best of this spectacular region.
Table of Contents
StyleAccommodationEmergency contact
ThemesAccommodation NotesVisas
Why we love itMeals introductionWhat to take
MapMealsHealth
ItineraryMoney mattersTravel insurance
Itinerary disclaimerGroup leaderA couple of rules
Physical ratingSafetyResponsible Travel
Included activitiesJoining pointThe Intrepid Foundation
Important notesJoining point instructionsFeedback
Group sizeFinish point
Your fellow travellersFinishing point instructions
Style
Basix
Themes
Overland
Why we love it
- Explore Chile's cosmopolitan Santiago
- Visit Argentina and chill out in beautiful Mendoza
- Tuck into a barbecue feast on a cattle ranch
- Sip Argentine wine in Cafayate
- Admire the colonial architecture of Salta
- Be amazed by Bolivia's Salar de Uyuni
- Learn about mining in Potosi
- Keep up with the bustle of La Paz
Map

Itinerary
Day 1 Santiago
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
Moneda 1829
Santiago
Chile
Tel - +56 2 2688 4849

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES 

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

About Santiago:
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. 
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 2 Mendoza
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. 

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES 

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

About Mendoza:
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. 

Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 3 Mendoza
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. 
 
OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES 
 
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
 
About Mendoza: 
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. 
 
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 4 Rio Ceballos
Today we will leave Mendoza and start our journey through the beautiful San Juan and Cordoba provinces to wards Rio Ceballos.

We will aim to camp in one of the small rural towns en route, possibly near the town of Mina Clavero.

Estimated Drive Time - 6-7 hours. 

About Rio Ceballos:
To the east of the Andes in the centre of Argentina is the country's second major city, Córdoba. Rising just to the west of the city are the beautiful rolling hills of the Sierra de Córdoba, where we spend three nights at a unique Anglo-Argentinian estancia. The estancia has been in the same family for four generations, and is a working cattle ranch farming the prized Argentinian Aberdeen Angus cattle. Here we will sample the traditional hospitality of the Anglo-Argentinian ranching community, with fantastic food straight from the farm. An asado (Argentinian BBQ) will be enjoyed on one of our nights here, as well as an evening of traditional music, a chance to try lassoing and fantastic wine tasting featuring some of the local produce. Daily horse riding excursions will also be arranged to ride through the hills on the fabulous horses and even completely inexperienced riders will feel like gauchos in a short time. Please note that these activities are subject to weather conditions. Please also note that there is a strict weight limit for all riders of 15 stone (210 lbs, 95 kg) to ensure the horses' well-being. If you are heavier than this weight you will unfortunately be unable to ride. 
Accommodation
Bush camp (no facilities) (1 nt)
Day 5 Rio Ceballos
( Day 5 to 7 )

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. 

INCLUDED ACTIVITIES 

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

Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Day 6 Rio Ceballos
( Day 5 to 7 )
 
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. 
 
INCLUDED ACTIVITIES 
 
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
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Day 7 Rio Ceballos
( Day 5 to 7 )
 
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. 
 
INCLUDED ACTIVITIES 
 
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
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Day 8 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.

Included Activities
  • Quilmes Ruins
    Accommodation
    Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
    Day 9 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. 

    INCLUDED ACTIVITIES 

    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 

    OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES 

    Explore the vineyards of Cafayate and discover the area's delicious wines and bodgeas on a wine-tasting excursion : ARS 50 

    About Cafayate:
    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. 

    Included Activities
    • Vineyard Tour
      Accommodation
      Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
      Day 10 Salta
      ( Day 10 to 11 )

      Today 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 mountain scenery nearby.

      In Salta we will stay in a local hotel or guest house. 

      OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES 

      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 

      About Salta:
      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. 
      Accommodation
      Hotel (1 nt)
      Day 11 Salta
      ( Day 10 to 11 )
       
      Today 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 mountain scenery nearby. 
       
      In Salta we will stay in a local hotel or guest house. 
       
      OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES 
       
      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 
       
      About Salta: 
      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. 
      Accommodation
      Hotel (1 nt)
      Day 12 Purmamarca
      Today we will have some more free time in Salta before heading up to the small village of Purmamarca, at the base of the aptly-named 'Hill of the Seven Colours'

      In Purmamarca we will camp at a local campsite.

      Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.

      About Purmamarca:
      The tiny and atmospheric town of Purmamarca is stunningly located in the Quebrada de Purmamarca valley in the far northwest of Argentina at the base of the Andes. It is a beautiful desert village which is nestled in the spectacular valley opposite the Cerro de los Siete Colores (Hill of the Seven Colours), a colourful rainbow-coloured mountain face.
      Included Activities
      • Valle de la Luna Excursion
        Accommodation
        Hostel (1 nt)
        Day 13 San Pedro De Atacama
        ( Day 13 to 14 )

        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. 

        OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES 

        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 

        INCLUDED ACTIVITIES 

        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. 
        Accommodation
        Hostel (1 nt)
        Day 14 San Pedro De Atacama
        ( Day 13 to 14 )
         
        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. 
         
        OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES 
         
        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 
         
        INCLUDED ACTIVITIES 
         
        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. 
        Accommodation
        Hotel (1 nt)
        Day 15 Bolivian Altiplano
        Border information: Exit Chile at San Pedro de Atacama, enter Bolivia at Uyuni.

        Today we will climb back up into the deserts and cross the Bolivian border into the wilds of the Bolivian altiplano, a surreal and desolate desert landscape that stretches all the way to the town of Uyuni. We will visit the spectacular coloured lakes of Laguna Colorado and Laguna Verde en route.

        In the Bolivian Altiplano we will stay in a basic mountain refuge.

        Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.

        INCLUDED ACTIVITIES 

        Take the epic journey across the southern Bolivian altiplano - an incredible high-altitude, off-road adventure through a surreal desert landscape, taking in bizarre rock formations, hot springs, and the phenomenal coloured lakes of Laguna Colorada and Laguna Verde : Included in Kitty

        About Bolivian Altiplano:
        The high Bolivian altiplano stretches hundreds of kilometres from the small town of Uyuni out across to the borders with Argentina and Chile. This is real wilderness - there are no roads up here, just a few tracks to follow, and you're more likely to see a flamingo or llama than another human being! The only way to cross the altiplano is by travelling in a specialist expedition vehicle like one of our overland trucks. The crossing is an adventurous one - travelling across the high-altitude dirt tracks can be challenging and rough, and the trip from Uyuni to the border normally takes a couple of days - but it's without a doubt one of the most unforgettable journeys you'll ever make, as the landscape here is out of this world. Wild and remote, the high altiplano is made up of barren semi-desert open plains dotted by streams and lakes, many of which appear vividly coloured due to the mineral deposits in the water. The lakes are flanked by the impressive volcanic peaks of the high Bolivian Andes, which are awe-inspiringly beautiful and undoubtedly some of the most spectacular mountain scenery you'll ever see. You'll also pass a few remote villages, inhabited by Quechua farmers who try their best to eke out a living up here from the rough pasture, grazing a few llamas and alpacas. The altitude here is considerable and it can be very cold and windy. When travelling here you should be prepared for the cold temperatures. and it is worth making sure you have a really good quality sleeping bag. 
        Included Activities
        • Jeep tour of Uyuni Salt Flats
          Accommodation
          Hotel (1 nt)
          Day 16 Uyuni
          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.

          About Uyuni:
          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. 
          Accommodation
          Hotel (1 nt)
          Day 17 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! 

          INCLUDED ACTIVITIES 

          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! 
          Accommodation
          Hotel (1 nt)
          Day 18 Potosi
          Today we will leave Uyuni and head to the colonial mining town of Potosí, the highest town in the world, and once famous for the area's abundance of silver!

          The afternoon will be free to explore Potosí, and there will be a chance to visit the infamous silver mines of Cerro Rico near to the town.

          In Potosí we will stay in a friendly local hotel.

          Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours. 

          OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES 

          Explore the claustrophobic tunnels of the Cerro Rico silver mines, an infamous mine originally built by the Spanish : BOB 110

          Visit the the Casa de la Moneda museum in Potosí, to learn all about its colonial past and the silver that once flowed from the area : BOB 60

          About Potosí:
          Potosí is a colonial mining town, founded in the 16th Century after the Spanish discovered huge silver deposits in the nearby Cerro Rico mountain. Situated at over 4,000m altitude, high up on the Bolivian altiplano, the city can claim to be one of the highest in the world. Whilst in Potosí you can arrange to visit a mine that is still being worked, which offers a challenging and yet fascinating insight into how mining has shaped the history and culture of this town. Entering a dark maze of tunnels you will descend to four levels below, down to the work face where miners use hammers, chisels and dynamite, more reminiscent of the 1800s than the 21st Century, to dig out the remaining metal. Most of the silver here is long gone - it's tin the miners are looking for now. If you do choose to head down into the mines it's become a custom to take the miners gifts of dynamite, fuses and coca leaves in exchange for their stories of how their working conditions have not changed in centuries. Life is harsh for all who work here, but the mines have now all been organised into co-operatives and so at least today the men have a say in their own future. You should note that visiting these primitive mines is not for everybody as it is pretty tiring, you will be in enclosed spaces and it can be dangerous. Back in the city of Potosí itself, the winding streets are worth a wander. The town has a bit of an air of fading grandeur, many of it's beautiful colonial buildings and plazas having seen better days, but it's a fascinating place to explore nevertheless. You can also visit the "Casa de la Moneda", the old mint, which is a great place to learn more about Potosí's history and the story of the mines. 
          Accommodation
          Hotel (1 nt)
          Day 19 La Paz
          ( Day 19 to 20 )

          Today we will leave Potosí 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. 

          OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES 

          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'! 
          Accommodation
          Hotel (1 nt)
          Day 20 La Paz
          ( Day 19 to 20 )
           
          Today we will leave Potosí 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. 
           
          OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES 
           
          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'! 
          Accommodation
          Hotel (1 nt)
          Day 21 La Paz
          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. 
          Itinerary disclaimer
          ITINERARY CHANGES Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff. We are here to help you! Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary from time to time.

          We must emphasise that the routes, activities and places visited described in these trip notes are intentions and are meant as a rough guide only. We intend following the route detailed but exact night stops cannot be guaranteed. It sometimes happens that we decide to make a change to our basic planned itinerary. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, road or bureaucratic conditions may demand it. Or it may be because we find a better, more interesting route. While actually en route, unexpected hospitality, a local festival or a great place to chill out can determine our exact route and itinerary on any given trip. Overnight stops and driving distances each day may vary to best suit the needs of the group.

          OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES: A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are approximate and are for entrance only and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability and it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.
          Physical rating

          In these parts of the world you'll need to be healthy enough to cope with extremes of climate; from hot deserts through to the cold of high mountain areas.

          Overland travelling can be demanding - long, rough travel days and dusty conditions can be challenging to some. You'll need to be fit enough to help every day with the camp chores (cooking, washing up, general camp set up) as well as putting up, and taking down your own tent. There are some long driving days and some early morning starts. The step-up into the overland vehicle, while not overly high, can become tiring. You need to judge if you are physically fit enough to haul yourself up and down the step at least 8-10 times a day.
          Included activities
          Quilmes Ruins
          Vineyard Tour
          Valle de la Luna Excursion
          Jeep tour of Uyuni Salt Flats
          Important notes
          1. This trip is run by our experienced overland partner Dragoman.
          2. Please note that this trip requires minimum numbers to depart, and may be cancelled up until 56 days prior to departure. The places showing on the dates and availability page are an indication only so please contact Intrepid to check if your preferred date will depart before making any final arrangements, such as booking non-changeable flights.

          Group size
          Maximum of 22 travellers per group.
          Your fellow travellers
          GROUP TRAVEL
          As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure.

          SINGLE TRAVELLERS:
          Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.
          Accommodation
          Camping ( 6 nights ), hotel / hostel / lodge / cabin ( 14 nights )
          The type and variety of accommodation is determined by conditions on each of our routes. Each route is different - on some we use a mixture of campsites and wild camps; on others we also use hostels or hotels. Where it's not practical to camp (ie: in towns and cities), we use hostel or hotel accommodation and eat out in local restaurants. The frequency and regularity of hostel and hotel stops depends on the route and area.

          Campsites will range from rather basic to those with excellent facilities, including swimming pools, restaurants and bars. In some cases it may also be possible to upgrade locally to bungalows, lodges or even tree-houses. One of the highlights of overlanding is that in more remote areas we will wild camp. This allows us to get far away from the tourist crowds to some beautiful, secluded spots. On some of our trips we are able to stay in villages or local homestays, which allows us to get close to indigenous populations and ensures our money stays within local communities.

          Please note that camping is participatory, which means you will be expected to set-up and pack down your own tent.
          Meals introduction
          While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. On our camping trips we often cook the region's specialities so you don't miss out. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.

          On an overland journey you are more than just a passenger - you're part of the crew. You are expected to pitch in to set up camp, shop for food, cook and generally help out. As part of your trip you will be assigned a truck job which could be collecting water and firewood, sweeping out the truck, loading the back locker, etc. You will be divided into smaller units of 3-4 people and take it in turns to cook for the whole group according to a rota system. When it is your turn to cook you will have to plan the meal, shop for the ingredients in local markets or supermarkets and then prepare the meal for the whole group. The secret to cooking for 20+ people in a basic camping kitchen is to keep it simple!

          If you have any dietary requirements please tell us at the time of booking and also remind your crew at your welcome meeting. An example of a typical camp breakfast might be toast with spreads, fruit and cereal as well as tea and coffee. When time allows it will also be possible to serve something hot such as eggs or pancakes. Lunch is almost always a sandwich heaped high with healthy salad and assorted fillings, with fruit to follow. Dinner might be a BBQ, risotto or pasta dish and there is always the chance to try some local cooking. Generally our passengers find the more they put into a trip, the more they benefit from it.

          All meals while camping are included.
          Meals
          No meals included
          Money matters
          On this trip it's compulsory to contribute to a kitty. The kitty is an on-ground payment put into a central fund and overseen by travellers and the crew. It helps fund accommodation, camp meals and all included activities. Kitty amounts are subject to change to reflect local price increases.This Kitty price indicated on the trip notes below is indicative only. Please refer to the 'Check availability' page on the website for the up-to-date amount 48 hours prior to your trip commencement.

          Your kitty will be collected when you arrive for your trip, either on day 1 or, if on a combination trip, in stages throughout your trip.

          You may pay your kitty in a mixture of US Dollars cash and the rest in local currency (amount and type of currency to be agreed by the leader at the start of the trip). Most of our travellers chose to bring a cash passport with them for withdrawing local currency (you can visit www.cashpassport.com for further information on these). This is a very secure way of carrying your money whilst travelling. You treat them exactly like an ATM card and draw out local currency from an ATM to give to your leader within each country.

          If you do choose to pay part in local currency your trip leader will confirm the current exchange rates with you so you will know exactly how much to hand over.

          Travellers cheques have become increasingly difficult to change around the world with passengers and our leaders experiencing huge frustration and numerous hours spent trying to find a bank which will change travellers cheques. For this reason we no longer accept them on our trips.

          Kitty does not cover food while staying in hotels and hostels.

          KITTY CHANGES:
          We constantly monitor local price changes and exchange rate fluctuations that could affect kitty expenses. Final kitty contributions are likely to be different from those quoted in the brochure or at the time of booking so you must check the final amount just before departure.

          The official currency of Chile is the Chilean Peso (CLP).

          The official currency in Argentina is the Argentine Peso (ARS).

          The official currency of Bolivia is the Boliviano (BOB).

          With ATMs being widely available in major towns and cities, credit and debit cards are the best way to access money in Latin America (note though that charges are made for each transaction). Please check with your bank before departure that your card is accepted in the countries you are travelling to. Also ensure your bank is aware of your travel plans as - suspecting fraud - they may cancel your cards after the first few international transactions.

          Be aware that your withdrawing limit may vary from country to country (regardless of your withdrawing limit in your home country) and it can be as low as the equivalent to USD100 per day.

          It's also advisable to carry some cash in small denominations bills, for those times when ATMs may not be available. US dollars is the most readily changeable currency.

          VERY IMPORTANT:
          USD100 bills with serial number CB or BE and any other USD bills that are old, torn, written or stamped on will not be accepted by local banks.

          SPENDING MONEY
          When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities and laundry. It's always better to bring a little more than you think you'll need. Also make sure you've read your trip details thoroughly so you know what's included in the trip price and what isn't. This should make budgeting a little easier. You'll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that's this document).

          PRICES IN CHILE & BRAZIL:
          Chile and Brazil are amongst the most expensive countries in South America. While in other countries you can expect to have a main meal for US$5-10 and take part of an optional activity for US$15-20, Brazil and Chile's prices are closer to what you would expect to pay in Western countries. You'll need to budget accordingly.

          If you're happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations.

          The following amounts are per person suggestions based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:

          Restaurants: Local markets and basic restaurants - round your bill up. More up-market restaurants we suggest 10% to 15% of your bill.

          Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your tour leader. We suggest USD2-USD4 per passenger per day.

          Drivers: You may have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We suggest USD1-USD2 per day for drivers.

          Your Tour Leader: You may also consider tipping your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline USD2-USD4 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.

          In total, we recommend you budget approx USD5-USD10 per day of your trip to cover tipping.

          Please allow BOB15 for the domestic departure tax and US$25 for international airport departure tax in La Paz.

          Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveller feedback but you may choose to spend more or less.

          EMERGENCY FUNDS
          Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$500, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (e.g. a natural disaster, civil unrest, strike action or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
          Group leader
          On all of our Dragoman-operated Overlanding trips you will be accompanied by two Western crew members who are responsible for the group and the overall organisation of the trip.

          While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad knowledge of the places visited and to offer suggestions of things to do and see. Dragoman trips use local guides who may stay with us for just a few hours or will actually travel with us for some or all of the journey. In these cases they become a third crew member and are able to offer their local knowledge as well as a real insight into the lives of the local people. Our crew are chosen for their leadership skills, and most importantly have a passion for the region and its people.

          We endeavour to provide the services of an experienced leader and crew; however, situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders

          On any Overland trip, there are a number of tasks that need to be done. Our overland trip leaders will organise the group into smaller groups of two or three who will take turns in the daily shopping and cooking, vehicle cleaning, disposing of rubbish, etc. There are also a number of other jobs that need doing e.g. collecting water and firewood, luggage loading, supervising the kitty and food stores, which may be assigned to particular people or on a rota system according to group size, make-up, and so on. You must come prepared to 'pull your weight' and share in these duties; you will become very unpopular with other group members if they have to do your share. The more you put into a trip, the more you'll benefit.
          Safety
          Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.

          We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.

          Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.

          For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:

          http://www.intrepidtravel.com/contact-us/safety

          The vehicle has fully lockable doors and windows, which is an obvious advantage, but it will probably be necessary to guard it at times and everyone should be prepared to share in this responsibility.

          In most areas there is very little to fear from the point of view of violence. But in all areas 'tourists' are a tempting target for pickpockets and con-men. Always be aware of this and be especially careful when leaving banks or money-changers, in any crowded areas, etc. NEVER leave things lying around - they will almost certainly get stolen. We cannot emphasise enough how important it is to always be security conscious and to take all necessary precautions. Great inconvenience and distress can be caused by having your documents or possessions stolen.

          A few of our past group members have had the unhappy experience of having their belongings stolen before the trip starts. Beware of carrying your passport and other valuables around with you in cities. We strongly suggest you deposit your valuables in your hotel safe on arrival.

          FIRE PRECAUTIONS:
          Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.

          TRAFFIC AND DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD:
          Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware!

          PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY:
          While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.

          MONEY WITHDRAWAL:
          In order to avoid fraud, it is advisable that you withdraw money from ATMs located inside banks or guarded shops during business hours only.

          TRAVEL ADVISORY:
          Where we use a local partner to fully operate one of our itineraries, we use the travel advisory of the country where that operator is based rather than the Australian DFAT advisory. This itinerary is operated by our local partners Dragoman, and as such will follow the British Government (FCO) Travel Advice. To view these travel advisories please log on to:

          http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travelling-and-living-overseas/travel-advice-by-country
          Joining point
          Happy House Hostel
          Moneda 1829
          Barrio Brasil
          Santiago
          CHILE
          Phone: +56 (2)26884849
          Joining point instructions
          Taxis are readily available from outside the airport. A taxi fare to your hotel will cost approx. US$50.

          Alternatively there is the CentroPuerto bus which takes about 40 minutes and costs approximately US$5. The bus drops off at Los Heroes bus terminal, from where it is about a 20 minute walk to the hostel, or you can catch the metro to Santa Ana or Cumming for a shorter walk.

          Another bus, Tur Bus, runs from the airport to the Tur Bus terminal near Moneda metro station. It also takes about 40 minutes and costs about US$5. From Moneda it is about a 20 minute walk to the hostel, or catch the metro from Moneda to Santa Ana or Cumming.
          Finish point
          Estrella Andina Hostal
          Avenido Illampu #716 (cnr Calle Aroma)
          La Paz
          BOLIVIA
          Phone: +591 22451401
          Finishing point instructions
          El Alto International Airport is 10km via the toll-road from the city centre on the Altiplano. At 4050m it is the world's highest international airport. Airport services include a news stand, ATMs, internet, souvenir shops, etc. The money exchange desk outside the international arrivals area is open 9pm to 7pm.

          The easiest way to get to the airport is by taxi. You can ask the hotel receptionist to call one for you. While you will have to negotiate the rate beforehand, you should expect to pay about USD8. The trip takes approximately 30 minutes and it is a spectacular drive.
          Emergency contact
          Dragoman have a dedicated 24 hour telephone number which should only be used once you have left home and in the event of a real emergency. Should you need to call the number, we will do what we can to help but please bear in mind that real progress or action may not be possible until normal office hours.

          If your flight is delayed or cancelled, please let us know and then make your way to the joining hotel as instructed in these trip notes. If you cannot get through leave a message and a contact number as these will be regularly checked and the crew informed if necessary.

          Emergency Number: +44 (0) 7985106564

          For further contact details please use the following page:

          For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/

          While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.

          We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.

          You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.

          Dragoman: +44 (0) 1728 86222
          Visas
          Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with acquiring visas. Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time.

          CHILE TOURIST VISA
          Australia: Not required
          Belgium: Not required
          Canada: Not required
          Germany: Not required
          Ireland: Not required
          Netherlands: Not required
          New Zealand: Not required
          South Africa: Not required
          Switzerland: Not required
          United Kingdom: Not required
          United States: Not required

          CHILE RECIPROCITY TAX:
          All passengers with passports from Australia and Mexico must pay a reciprocity tax before entering immigration control.
          At the time of writing the amounts are as follows:

          Australia - US$100
          México - US$23

          This tax applies only to travellers entering Chile via its international airport in Santiago and it can be used multiple times within 90 days from issued date.

          This tax doesn't apply to those entering Chile by another form of transport.

          Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information with the appropriate consular.

          ARGENTINA TOURIST VISA
          Australia: Not required
          Belgium: Not required
          Canada: Not required
          Germany: Not required
          Ireland: Not required
          Netherlands: Not required
          New Zealand: Not required
          South Africa: Not required
          Switzerland: Not required
          United Kingdom: Not required
          United States: Not required

          ARGENTINA RECIPROCITY TAX:
          The Argentine government charges a reciprocity tax which applies to Canadian, US and Australian citizens. The amounts are as follows:
          Australians - US$100 (multiple entry for up to 1 year from date of issue)
          Canadians - US$92 (multiple entry for up to 5 years from date of issue)
          Americans - US$160 (multiple entry for up to 10 years from date of issue)

          This fee can only be paid on line through the following website:
          https://virtual.provinciapagos.com.ar/ArgentineTaxes/

          For instructions on how to process this payment, please visit:
          http://cnyor.mrecic.gov.ar/userfiles/Online_payment_instructions_0.pdf

          A receipt for this payment must be produced at every border crossing into Argentina.

          Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information with the appropriate consular.

          BOLIVIA TOURIST VISA
          Australia: Not required
          Belgium: Not required
          Canada: Not required
          Germany: Not required
          Ireland: Not required
          Netherlands: Not required
          New Zealand: Not required
          South Africa: Not required
          Switzerland: Not required
          United Kingdom: Not required
          United States: Yes - in advance

          Please note: if you are required to apply for a visa to enter Bolivia, you will need the following to support it:
          - a copy of the Intrepid voucher that you receive after purchasing your trip
          - a copy of the Itinerary which you can obtain from the Trip Notes for your specific trip on our website.
          What to take
          What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage, although you won't be required to walk long distances with it (max 30 minutes).

          Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.

          Below we have listed the essentials for this trip:

          http://www.intrepidtravel.com/pdf/trips/packinglist.pdf

          ARGENTINA & BOLIVIA:
          During the winter months in Argentina and Bolivia we will spend a higher proportion of nights in hotels and less time camping. Kitty may be higher than expected and you should allow extra funds for this and personal funds for more meals out. There may well be snow and you should be aware that it can get very cold at night. Please ensure that you bring a decent sleeping bag and adequate clothes, including thermals.

          CAMPING EQUIPMENT:
          Sleeping Bag - Check the expected climate en route. Nights in desert and mountain regions can be very cold in winter months. One that zips down all one side is useful for warm nights and a sleeping bag liner for cold nights.
          Mattress or compressed foam - Compressed foams are the lightest, most convenient but probably the least comfortable. Self inflating mattresses are convenient, comfortable, light and small when rolled up; they are more expensive and do puncture so bring a suitable repair kit.

          WATER BOTTLE
          Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion ends up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. Although it can be difficult to avoid bottled water when travelling, please consider water purification techniques such as iodine or micropur and use the water dispensers which are provided at some of our accommodation. When unable to avoid bottled water it is better to buy the largest available and distribute into your smaller bottle for the day.

          In countries like Argentina, Uruguay and the Patagonia region of Chile, tap water is treated and safe to drink so please avoid the purchase of bottled water by refilling from the tap.
          Health
          All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid Travel reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.

          You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.

          ALTITUDE SICKNESS:
          Parts of your trip go above 2800 metres / 9200 feet where it is common for travellers to experience some adverse health effects due to the altitude - regardless of your age, gender and fitness. It even happened to Sir Edmund Hillary!

          Before your trip:
          Some pre-existing medical conditions are known to severely worsen at high altitude and be difficult to adequately treat on the ground, leading to more serious consequences. It is imperative that you discuss your pre-existing medical condition/s with your doctor. We understand certain medications are reported to aid acclimatizing to high altitude. Please discuss these options with your doctor.

          During your trip.
          While our leaders have basic first aid training and are aware of the closest medical facilities, it is very important that you are aware of the cause and effects of travelling at altitude, monitor your health and seek assistance accordingly.

          Please read the following document carefully and, during your trip, utilise the table on the back daily to record your own perspective of your general health and any symptoms you may experience:

          http://d3oxn90f3yphmd.cloudfront.net/sites/default/files/file_attach/52735_product_altitude-sickness.pdf

          DENGUE FEVER:
          Dengue Fever is common in Latin America and can occur throughout the year. Argentina, Bolivia, Uruguay, Brazil and parts of Mexico are currently suffering from a serious outbreak. This virus is transmitted by mosquitoes. There is no vaccination against it, but there are preventative measures that you can take such as wearing long clothing, using repellent and being indoors particularly around dusk and dawn.

          WHO REPORTS:
          The World Health Organisation has countries in Latin America registered as zones affected by hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, cholera, rabies and malaria.

          YELLOW FEVER:
          A valid international certificate of vaccination against Yellow Fever is required in many countries. You may need to present this on arrival at the airport or border crossing. Some countries will refuse entry if you are unable to present your certificate. It's also quite common for your home country to request a Yellow Fever certificate on your arrival back home.

          It is your responsibility to check with your doctor well in advance of leaving home about the Yellow Fever requirements for the countries you'll be visiting.
          Travel insurance
          Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.

          When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.

          If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.

          http://www.intrepidtravel.com/insurance.php
          A couple of rules
          Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader or local representative has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
          Responsible Travel
          We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller.

          http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/rt/responsibletraveller

          Latin Americans can be very conscious of appearance so try to be casual but conservative in your dress. Outside of beach areas halter tops and very short shorts should not be worn. When visiting churches or religious sites shoulders and knees should be covered.

          The Intrepid Foundation
          Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.

          The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$1,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year, excluding emergency appeals). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:

          http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/

          Feedback
          After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.

          http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback