This is a journey across the roof of the Andes, from the high Altiplano to the heart of Argentina’s grasslands. It crosses the spectacular passes of the Andes three times along remote seldom travelled routes with spectacular volcanoes and high lakes studded with flamingos.
This is overlanding at its best and you will travel from the high plateau to the depths of the Atacama, the driest desert on Earth and the desert settlement of San Pedro, before heading to the west of the Andes and the grasslands of Argentina.
It contrasts the historic cities of La Paz and Salta with the cosmopolitan centres of Mendoza and Santiago, capital of Chile. It offers a wonderful insight into the life and culture of the Argentinean Gauchos as we spend a couple of days exploring the cordilleras with gauchos on their horses at a working Estancia.
Border information: if you are joining in La Paz, you will most likely enter Bolivia at La Paz El Alto International Airport (IATA code: LPB).
Welcome to La Paz, Bolivia s seat of government and the highest administrative capital in the world! 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.
A note on altitude: If you are joining in La Paz, we strongly recommend arriving at least 24 hours before the trip begins to allow additional time to acclimatise.
In La Paz we will stay in a good hotel in the historical centre.
Today we will have a free day to make the most of the extrodinary city of La Paz, explore the witches market or take a mountain biking trip down the World's Most Dangerous Road.
Today we will drive south to 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 - 9hrs
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!
Today we will head off across the wilds of the Altiplano, a surreal and desolate desert landscape that stretches all the way into Chile. We will make plenty of stop for photographs on the way and at the end of the day we aim to cross the border into Chile, making camp soon afterwards.
Tonight we will bush camp in a remote spot with no facilities!
Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.
Border information: Exit Bolivia and enter Chile at Ollague
After breakfast we will break camp, and drive through the stunning Reserva Nacional Alto Loa on the Chilean part of the Altiplano, stopping off en route for photographs and a lunch stop at the famous El Tatio Geysers, the worlds highest Geyser field at 4300m. Afterwards descending down to San Pedro de Atacama.
Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 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.
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.
Border information: Exit Chile at Paso Jama, enter Argentina at Paso Jama.
Today we will have a long drive day to cross the mighty Andes, cross the border into Argentina, and reach the beautiful town of Salta.
In Salta we will stay in a local hotel or guesthouse.
Estimated Drive Time - 11-12 hours.
On day 12 we will have a free day to explore 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.
Today we will drive through the spectacular rock formations of the Quebrada de las Conchas, and reach the serene town of Cafayate. This small unassuming town is the centre of one of
In Cafayate we stay at a campsite with good facilities.
Estimated Drive Time - 3-5 hours.
Today we will drive south through spectacular mountains and arrive in the pampas that Argentina is famous for. We will visit the ancient ruins of the indigenous city of Quilmes en route.
Tonight we will aim to wild camp en route.
Estimated Drive Time - 10 hours.
Today we drive to a unique Anglo-Argentine Estancia, where we will stay for 3 nights.
Estimated Drive Time - 5hours.
During our time at the Estancia, we will head out horseback riding. This is a magical experience in a beautiful 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.
Today we will have a leisurely start after breakfast to the city of Cordoba, where we will enjoy a free afternoon to explore the city.
Today we will have a very early start for a full day's drive to the stunning town 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 - 9 hours.
The following day will be free time to explore the region, head out on various adventure activities, or of course take a tasting tour of the incredible wineries in the region.
In Mendoza we stay in a centrally located hostel in dorm accommodation.
Border information: Exit Argentina at Los Libertadores, enter Chile at Paso Cristo Redentor.
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 Chilean capital of Santiago.
In Santiago we will stay in a centrally located hostel.
Estimated Drive Time - 10-11 hours.
Border information: if you are finishing in Santiago, you will most likely exit Chile at Santiago Arturo Merino Ben tez International Airport (IATA code: SCL)
Today is a free day to explore the cosmopolitan Chilean capital.
Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Santiago. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact the 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.
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Trip Name: Altiplano & Gaucho Explorer
Duration: 21 Days
From Price: $1,575
Supplier Tour ID: ZZS1/157994
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