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Traveling from the Atacama Desert to the Uyuni Salt Flats

Have you ever dreamt about slipping off to another planet? Or wondered what really lingers on the surface of Mars and the moon?

From the sublime valleys of the world’s driest desert to the spindly flamingos of the world’s largest salt flat, the beauty of this unique Latin American journey will defy your earthly expectations!

The four day journey from Chile’s magnificent Atacama Desert to the Uyuni Salt Flats in Bolivia is packed with wonder, mystery, and moon-like landscapes to satisfy your other worldly curiosity twice over. 

San Pedro de Atacama, Chile

Sunrise in the Atacama Desert

♦ Day one: From dawn to dusk in the Atacama Desert  

Your exciting journey begins with a pre-dawn hike to Atacama’s impressive El Tatio geyser field.

As the sunrise soaks Atacama’s volcanic peaks in changing light, the sights of the hissing geysers and billowing fumaroles are an instant reward for your early morning effort.

After a replenishing breakfast the fun carries on to Laguna Cejar, where you’ll float effortlessly in the emerald lake’s highly concentrated salt water before heading to the Valle de La Luna. Wandering through the ethereal Moon Valley at dusk puts you in the middle of a breathtaking color show where the inspiring sky transforms the faces of the peaks and valleys, from red to orange to purple. When the sky is finally black, an empyrean display of constellations dances above to justify the valley’s beautiful name. Though it’s a long day, we recommend sticking around to stargaze so you don’t miss out on the remarkable sky by night. 

El Tatio Geyser, Chile

El Tatio Geyser fields, San Pedro de Atacama

♦ Day two: Through the desert lagoons

After a night of starry dreams, the path from Chile to Bolivia journeys through the heart of one of the world’s most thrilling desert landscapes. The first stop along the road trip is in the Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve where you can snap photos of the glimmering Green Lagoon under the towering Licancahur Volcano. A quick drive past native llamas and vicuñas brings you to the geysers and volcanic holes of Sol de Mañana before a stop at the surreal Red Lagoon.

The shallow salt lake packed with red sediment is dotted by islands and three different species of gangly flamingos who’ll make you feel like you’re lost in your very own Dr. Seuss story.

A final tour through the orange Siloli Desert concludes the day’s journey in Ojo de Perdiz where you’re free to relax and revel in the overwhelming sights and sounds of your freshly made memories. 

Laguna Colorada, Bolivia

Andean Flamingos at the Red Lagoon / Source

♦Day three: Villages, viewpoints and the world’s first salt hotel

If the Valle de La Luna took your imagination to the moon, the stark 4,086 square miles of Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni will land you in an extraterrestrial atmosphere. Your first day exploring the world’s largest salt flat includes visits to the quaint villages of San Cristobal and Alota, where locals explain the legends of the prehistoric lake that evaporated to create the thick, bright crust that can be seen all the way from space.

A tour through the famous climbing spot Valle de las Rocas, a view of the Ollagües stratovolcano, and the flamingo lined shores of the Hedionda, Honda, Chiarkhota and Ramaditas lagoons unveil Salar de Uyuni’s rare geological richness.

Spend the night resting at the exotic Palacio de Sal, where architectural genius, luxurious amenities, and local inspiration make guests feel at home in the world’s first salt hotel. 

Salt Hotel, Uyuni Salt Flats

A room at Palacio de Sal, Salar de Uyuni

♦ Day four: Incahuasi Island and the neverending flats

It’s only right to spend the last day walking along the never-ending Salt Flats themselves – and don’t forget your camera for this one! Photos from the flats and Incahuasi Island will leave your friends scratching their heads at how you suddenly learned to levitate

During the rainy season (November to March) the flats flood, creating an illusion of a giant mirror. Standing alone on the sky’s perfect reflection, you’ll look as if you’ve ditched gravity to make all of your space travel dreams come true.

A final stop at the Incahuasi Island in the center of the flats reveal all that’s left of the volcano that was once submerged in the prehistoric lake. Peruse the island’s lanky cacti and fossils as a final send-off on your celestial adventure.

Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

Sunset at Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia / Source

Thanks for visiting our Central & South America Travel Blog! Feel free to contact one of our Travel Specialists via email, phone or chat to book your four day journey from Chile to Bolivia.