Trek across the Altiplano from Bolivia to Chile
This four day hike across the top of the world is little short of astonishing. At altitudes between 3,600 m (11,800 ft) and 4,300 m (14,200 ft) above sea level, the dry air and clear blue skies open up enormous vistas where hikers walk out into a landscape scarcely altered by humans, staying in some of the remotest places on earth.
But on arrival at San Pedro de Atacama, our guests can luxuriate in the comfort of the Explora Atacama Hotel, which has just re-opened after major refurbishment. For the final three days they can chose between various activities including walking, mountain biking, horseback riding and going on vehicle expeditions up to the geysers and valleys of the altiplano.
The first day starts with a trek from Potosí through ancient terraced farm land to the village of Uyuni, where you walk through the market and surrounding buildings. Suddenly without much warning, you walk out on to the Salar de Uyuni, a 10,000 sq km salt flat with shimmering white surface and boundless horizon. Put your camera to work to take some fun perspective photos! After lunch walk on to the small village of Tagua on the edge of the salt flat, where you overnight.
On day 2 you have the choice of either climbing up the Tunupa Volcano (5,400 m / 17,700 ft) or alternatively walking around its flanks, returning to Tahua for the night. On day 3 there is a half day hike to Chituca, where the second camp consisting of stone cabins is located. In the afternoon, there are various hikes around the camp to explore nearby ancient archaeological sites.
On day 4 you will hike to the Turquiri Lagoon, with various birds including flamingos, and then after lunch on to the camp at Canapa, which consists of comfortably converted shipping containers all with ensuite facilities, where you spend the night. On day 5 you will walk through salt pans, wetlands and lagoons to the striking Colorada Lagoon and geothermal field at Sol de Mañana, before crossing the Chilean border and travelling the last pat in a welcome vehicle to The Explora Atacama at San Pedro de Atacama. The last three nights are spent at the Explora.
Once at the Explora Atacama, various excursions are on offer including walking, star gazing, mountain biking and some good quality horse back riding. But for those who simply want to relax there is a great swimming pool, and the attractive centre of San Pedro de Atacama is a short distance away.
These treks are limited to six guests, but need to be planned well in advance, particularly in the high season.