Bolivian Salt Flats & Desert - Extension

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Bolivian Salt Flats & Desert - Extension
La Paz to La Paz
Duration: 6 days
Tour code: GSAD

Highlights

  • Ever dreamt of walking on water? Now’s your chance. Kind of. The sprawling salt lakes of Bolivia serve up some seriously mind-bending photo opps
  • The Train Cemetery at Uyuni will send a shiver down your spine. Who would have thought dead machines could be so… charming? Must be that romantic desert skyline
  • Ancient mummies don't just exist in Hollywood movies. See some real ones in the Coquesa Caves – at the foot of a dormant volcano, no less
  • The trippy ‘Salvador Dali Desert’ is named that for a reason. Dali probably didn’t a have a 4WD this sweet though
  • Get amongst the weird and wonderful in La Paz, from the strange brews of the witches’ market to the tasty treats of Mercado Lanza

Perspective-bending salt plains, bone-tingling hot springs, snow-capped desert volcanoes, remote villages, friendly Bolivianos, mummy caves and proper witches. This action-packed Bolivia bash has it all and more. All you need is a 4WD. Check. And a taste for adventure. Check!

Hot tip: head to Mercado Lanza in La Paz for scrumptious pastry snacks called saltenas and tucumanas, if you know what’s good for you.

What's included?

Meals

5 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 2 dinners

Transport

4x4 , Plane

Accommodation

Dormitory (2 nights), Hotel (3 nights)

Included activities

  • Uyuni - Full-day 4x4 tour of Salar de Uyuni including a visit to Isla Inca Wasi
  • Salt flats - Altiplano tour including Laguna Colorada and Laguna Verde

Itinerary

Day 1
La Paz
Kamisaki! Welcome to Bolivia. Today is an arrival day, so there's nothing planned until an important welcome meeting at 6 pm in the hotel with your local representative. Look for a note in the lobby or ask reception where it will take place. We'll be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so make sure you have these handy. If you're going to be late, please let the hotel know. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you might like to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).

Stay: Hotel (1 night)

Day 2
Salar de Uyuni
Today take a flight from La Paz to Uyuni. The flight time will be advised at your evening meeting on Day 1. 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 towards the border with Argentina and Chile. So it's hardly surprising that the town has a bit of a wild west feel about it. Uyuni is best known for its proximity to the Bolivian salt flats known locally as the Salar de Uyuni. The town was once a distribution hub for trains carrying minerals on their way to Pacific Ocean ports. In the 1940s, the mining industry collapsed and many trains were abandoned. Spanning over 12,000 square kilometres, and heaving with around ten billion tonnes of salt, Salar de Uyuni is the world’s largest saltpan, and there are plenty of opportunities for perspective-bending photographs with your group (using props really adds to it).  Stop by the small town of Colchani, where you'll see how locals farm and process salt from the Salar. After you'll visit Isla Wasi – a rocky, cactus and coral-like structure covered island erupting from the monotonous salt crust like a hallucination.

Included activities: Uyuni - Full-day 4x4 tour of Salar de Uyuni including a visit to Isla Inca Wasi

Stay: Dormitory (1 night)

Meals: breakfastlunchdinner

Day 3
Andean Desert
Drive through the spectacular landscape of the Atacama Desert, which is sprinkled with other-worldly volcanoes and lakes. During this drive you’ll reach an altitude of approximately 4,900 metres above sea level, so it’s important to revisit the notes on altitude sickness (please see the ‘Is This Trip Right For You?’ and ‘Health’ sections of the trip notes). Stop by Laguna Colorada, a rich red lake vividly coloured by algae and rich minerals. Perhaps one of the strangest sights in such an arid and inhospitable landscape is the abundant wildlife, with llamas, flamingos, vicuñas, and foxes frequently making appearances on the Altiplano.

Included activities: Salt flats - Altiplano tour including Laguna Colorada and Laguna Verde

Stay: Dormitory (1 night)

Meals: breakfastlunchdinner

Day 4
Natural Hot Springs / Uyuni Town
This morning we will visit the picturesque Laguna Verde (Green Lake) a mineral salt lake, located 4300 metres above sea level at the foot of Volcano Licancabur. Apart from incredible vistas and snow-capped volcanoes, the arid landscape of the Atacama Desert also hosts some stunning natural hot springs. We'll stop at one of the desert’s natural thermal baths. Soak in the soothing outdoor baths and watch steam rise from the water against the morning sun. Afterwards hop back into the 4WD and travel back to Uyuni, passing geysers and volcanic vents along the way (today will be a long day, approximately 12 hours before arriving back at Uyuni Town)  Back in town, wander around the streets of this remote settlement and chill out before heading back to La Paz tomorrow.

Stay: Hotel (1 night)

Meals: breakfastlunch

Day 5
Uyuni / La Paz
Catch a morning flight (included) to La Paz and enjoy a free day to explore this incredible city's irregular-shaped streets and alleys at your leisure. Perhaps pay a visit to the intriguing Witches Market (Mercado de Hechiceria), stop in for an impromptu tour at the La Paz Chocolate Factory, or try some empanadas at the Mercado Camacho. Maybe head to the Mirador Killi Killi Lookout, located on top of a steep hill in the neighbourhood of Villa Pabon, and one of La Paz’s most impressive viewing points. Nearby is the National Museum of Ethnography and Folklore, which exhibits a wide collection of stunning works that takes you through Bolivian history. Toast the end of your high plains adventure with a glass of api and plate of chicarron.

Optional activities:

  • Atacama Desert - Thermal Baths Entrance fee ($1)
  • La Paz - Visit to the 'Witches Market' - Free
  • National Museum of Ethnography and Folklore, La Paz - Free
  • Chocolate Factory, La Paz - Free
  • Mirador Killi Killi Lockout, La Paz - Free

Stay: Hotel (1 night)

Meals: breakfast

Day 6
La Paz
Your trip comes to an end this morning. Flights can depart at any time, as there are no activities planned for today. At Geckos, we're always looking for ways to improve our trips, and your feedback can really help. It tells us what we're doing right and what improvements could be made to help future travellers choose and enjoy Geckos. At the end of your adventure, it would be great if you could take a few minutes to complete our on-line feedback form. Just go to https://bookings.geckosadventures.com/bookings/en_AU/feedback/. We’d love to hear what you have to say!

Meals: breakfast

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