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This 10-day tour of Chile and Bolivia strikes a wonderful balance between scenic exploration and immersive adventuring. Drink in the energetic and sophisticated ambience of Santiago. Marvel at volcanic magma and original Altiplanic architecture on an optional tour of the Tatio Geysers and Machuca Village. Explore Bolivia's striking coloured lagoons and make your way into the beautiful Siloli desert to see the Árbol de Piedra. Stand in awe of the iconic Salt Flats - Bolivia's most famous attraction. Finally make it to La Paz, the highest national capital in the world. All this and more awaits on the Santiago - La Paz tour.
We use a variety of hotels in each destination, so you may stay in a hotel different to that listed here. Hotels are selected closer to departure date; you will receive a confirmed list one week prior to your departure date.
Welcome to Santiago, Chile’s capital and largest city! Make your way to your hotel to meet up with the rest of your Expat Explore tour group. Get to know each other over an included welcome dinner, and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime...
Hola, Santiago! After breakfast at the hotel this morning, take a locally-guided tour of the city. As the beating heart of Chile, Santiago has a long list of attractions to see. On this tour, we’ll cover Santiago’s downtown area, the famous Alameda main avenue, Plaza de Armas, Santiago Cathedral and the Central Market. We’ll also get to Bellavista district, known for its bohemian history and San Cristobal Hill. The tour will finish around lunchtime and the afternoon is yours to explore at your leisure. This evening you can choose to join a group dinner at a local spot in town.
Today you have a clear schedule to explore Santiago exactly as you wish. Santiago offers various options that vary from cultural activities to nearby wineries and excellent foodie experiences. You have the option of a day trip to visit Valparaiso and Viña del Mar. Depart after breakfast and travel to the captivating Pacific coast of Chile. Visit the coastal city of Valparaiso, a friendly and colourful village and UNESCO World Heritage site. Then head north, with lovely scenery at every turn, and find yourself in the resort city of Viña del Mar. This is another sparkling seaside village famous for its gardens, beaches and museums. Tonight you can pick and choose where you’d like to sit down for dinner. Perhaps in the hippy Bellavista district?
Today we make our way to the desert for a whole new experience! Board a transfer to Santiago Airport after breakfast and grab a flight to the mining city of Calama in northern Chile. After arriving in Calama, travel by coach to San Pedro de Atacama, enjoying the Atacama desert views passing by. The landscapes are dramatic and other-wordly. On arrival we'll take an orientation tour followed by some free time for lunch, before checking into our hotel. Then take a trip just outside the town to Moon Valley. Welcome to the driest desert in the world! Tonight you can roam free at your leisure. You have the option to join your tour leader for dinner and/or a late-night stargazing tour for any keen astronomers.
Take an early morning drive (with breakfast packed for the road) to get to the Bolivian border. Here we get adventurous and jump on 4x4 trucks - our transport for the next three days. Head further into Bolivia to be enthralled by the immense natural beauty of this part of South America. It’s all different-coloured lagoons, windswept deserts, and even flocks flamingoes out here. And if there’s enough time, there might be an opportunity to jump in the Polques hot springs and bathe in the healing thermal waters (so pack some swimwear in your day bag). At day’s end, we make it to our homestay, where a local family will host us and greet us with traditional food. This is a great opportunity to experience and appreciate how these local communities live in this isolated yet beautiful environment.*
* Due to the remoteness and limited accommodation available in this region, please note that we will be staying in basic, multi-share rooms with limited hot water and simple amenities. Please be mindful of the fact that the level of accommodation is quite different to the normal hotel standards offered throughout the rest of the tour.
After breakfast, we jump back into our 4x4 trucks and continue our incredible journey through southern Bolivia. Today, we’ll visit Laguna Hedionda, famous for the resident flamingo population as well as Laguna Canapa and Laguna Honda. Later in the day, after a picnic lunch, we’ll catch a glimpse of Ollague Volcano, which provides a fantastic backdrop against the rugged landscapes of the desert. We'll also travel to the Uyuni Train Cemetery - an area with abandoned trains from the early 20th century after the local mining economy collapsed. This evening, our second and final night in the desert has us staying with another local family at their humble homestay accommodation.
*Due to the remoteness and limited accommodation available in this region, please note that we will be staying in basic, multi-share rooms with limited hot water and simple amenities.We ask you be mindful that the level of accommodation is quite different to the normal hotel standards offered throughout the rest of the tour.
After breakfast, join in on a full-day exploration of the Uyuni Salt Flats - one of Bolivia’s most famous attractions. With the aid of a local guide and the assistance of 4x4 vehicles, travel to the very heart of the salt flats and back. Salar de Uyuni is one of the largest salt flats in the world and becomes a natural mirror in the rainy season. We’ll visit the tiny village of Colchani to learn about the importance of salt for the local people here, before heading towards Incahuasi Island, an oasis in the middle of the Salt Flats that is covered in huge cacti. Arriving at our Uyuni hotel at the end of the day, the rest of the evening is yours to spend as you wish.
We leave Uyuni behind and fly north to the world’s highest administrative capital, La Paz. Located in a deep canyon below the Andean peaks, the setting is extraordinary, with scenery straight out of a picture book. La Paz is a bustling city of contrasts where the old is merged with the new. It simply begs to be explored! Check into the hotel upon arrival and spend the day at your leisure. We have an included dinner for everyone tonight.
After breakfast today, fall even deeper in love with La Paz as you set out on a city tour. Wander around beautiful squares like Plaza Murillo, and lay eyes on San Francisco Church - the most famous church in the city. Also visit La Paz’s famous Witchdoctor's market. Round if off with a trip on the “subway in the sky” - La Paz’s cable car. A trip to the Teleferico viewpoint offers the view of a lifetime over the city and surrounding area. After lunch you have the option of exploring the city some more at your own pace. It was once a sacred center in the Andean region. This evening, choose to find dinner in town or join the group at a local restaurant with your tour leader.
Your Santiago to La Paz tour ends today. Enjoy one last breakfast with your tour mates and be sure to take each other’s details so you can share photos and memories once you arrive home. We look forward to seeing you back on an Expat Explore coach tour soon!
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