Buckle up for a 4WD adventure across the incredible Atacama Desert and Bolivian Salt Flats
Cruise across the otherworldly landscapes of the Atacama Desert, past ice-capped mountains and colour-shifting lakes, on this 4WD safari. The beautifully unforgiving salt flats and high plains of Bolivia are both a source of history and inspiration, a place where the local Boliviano's have battled with the elements for centuries. Visit the remote towns that make their homes on the outskirts of the world's driest desert, climb among the rusted ruins of the abandoned train cemetery, and create hilarious perspective-bending portraits on the seemingly never-ending salt flats. Embrace freezing temperatures and windy conditions to be rewarded with a luxurious soak in a thermal hot spring. See the twisted geometric formations that inspired Salvador Dali and witness roiling fumaroles and geysers. This is an adventure in its truest sense, taking you to the edge of the Earth on a journey you won't soon forget.
If you've ever dreamt of walking on water (well, at least on a lake), this is your chance. Cross the epic white expanse of Bolivia's salt lakes on a 4WD adventure across the rocky Atacama Desert
Empty, haunting and spectacular, the laws of earthly physics bend on the surreal Salar de Uyuni saltpan
Uyuni is full of unexpected sights - just one of these is families of abandoned geriatric locomotives left to rust slowly in the sun at the eerie Train Cemetery
Ancient mummies don't just exist in Hollywood movies. See some real ones in the Coquesa Caves, which happen to sit at the foot of a dormant volcano
As you explore the rocky island of Isla Wasi, rising from the salt pans and covered with flowering cacti, you might feel like you've stepped inside a surrealist painting
This Short Break Adventure is a ‘join in’ group departure, which means you are not accompanied by an Intrepid group leader – instead you will have two separate local representatives (one in La Paz and one in Uyuni) – and the configuration of any fellow travellers in the group might change during the trip.
This trip visits places that are at high altitude, and as a result some people can suffer from altitude sickness, regardless of age or physical health. Please see the ‘Health’ section of the trip notes for more important information on this.
You'll be spending a lot of time in a 4WD crossing some bumpy surfaces. This is the best way to see the sights in and around Uyuni, and is all part of the adventure.
In Bolivia (especially in Uyuni), sometimes things don't go to plan. For example, an attraction may be closed for the day with no notice or reason. Although this doesn't happen very often, please be prepared for the possibility.
Making your way across the Andean Desert and salt flats isn’t exactly luxurious. Temperatures in the area can be very cold, especially at night, so bring warm clothes with you. Meals are simple, toilet facilities are basic, showers can be cold and the multi-share accommodation is dormitory-style. This is all part of the adventure. Without a doubt, this amazing experience will be one of the highlights of your trip to South America.
This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2017 to 31 December 2017. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2018 - 31 December 2018
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There are currently no scheduled departures on our Bolivian Salt Flats & The Andean Desert trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.
SHORT BREAK ADVENTURE
This Short Break Adventure is a ‘join in’ group departure, which means you are not accompanied by an Intrepid group leader – our local representative fills this role – and the configuration of any fellow travellers in the group might change during the trip. This trip will run with a minimum of one person, so you may be joined by other travellers (some possibly booked through different companies) booked on the same date as you, or you may be on your own. The vehicles used are normally Toyota Land Cruisers and they can take up to six passengers plus the driver.
BASIC DORMITORY ACCOMMODATION – SALT FLATS & DESERT, BOLIVIA
Accommodation in the Salt flats & the desert is basic multi-share accommodation. Shower facilities can be unreliable and cold, as the pipes often freeze in the winter months. Electricity is generated by solar panels, there is no heating and not enough power to charge electronic devices.
Night time temperatures are often well into the minuses it can often get as cold as -5 degrees. Please ensure you are well prepared by referring to the packing section of your essential information.
WET SEASON ITINERARY ALTERNATION
From December to March during the wet season it’s likely we will not be able to cross the Salt Lake due to flooding, therefore your itinerary will be altered slightly and alternative activities will be scheduled.
During this time there are countless photo opportunities. The water covering the slat lakes creates a mirror effect.The mirroring effect of the water results in the striking illusion of there being two skies, two sunsets and two sunrises.
You will still have a full day on the salt lake and it will be mainly spent driving around searching for best photos.
The night usually spent in the Salt Lake hotel will instead be spent in the hotel in Uyuni town.
BOLIVIAN VISA FOR U.S CITIZENS
Nationals from the United States need a visa to enter Bolivia and you we highly recommend you obtain this visa in advance from your nearest Bolivian consulate or Embassy. Not obtaining the visa in advance is likely to cause long delays at the border.
Please see the visa information on these trip notes for more information.