Day 1 – Santiago (L, D)
After arriving and transferring to the hotel, we’ll meet for our first lunch together. Later in the afternoon, we visit the beautiful Ba’Hai Temple before going to Cerro San Cristobal Hill to watch and photograph the sunset over the city.
Day 2 – Santiago => Valparaiso (B, L, D)
This morning we enjoy a walking tour of Santiago’s historical centre, including the Presidential Palace of la Moneda, the Plaza de Armas and the Cathedral. We then commence our drive to Valparaiso, stopping to visit a winery and the scenic landscape of Casablanca Valley.
On arrival in Valparaiso, we explore the city with its interesting architecture and colourful street art before heading to a rooftop for sunset over the Pacific Ocean and a Pisco Sour workshop.
Day 3 – Valparaiso (B, L, D)
Today we enjoy a full-day tour of Valparaiso, visiting local attractions and walking the colourful streets with their beautiful street art.
We will head out early morning to visit the local fish market, a funicular railway and more of the local streets with street art. As this is a walking tour, we will have an extended lunch break in the middle of the day before continuing our tour in the afternoon. Our day will conclude with sunset and twilight shoot from a strategic vantage point. Watching all the city lights come on is a beautiful sight to see and photograph.
Day 4 – Valparaiso => Calama => San Pedro De Atacama (B, L, D)
This morning we get up very early and transfer to the airport for our flight to Calama. On arrival, we meet our local guide/driver before having a light lunch. After lunch, we enjoy a unique tour of Chuquicamata Copper Mine, which by excavated volume is the largest open-pit copper mine in the world.
It’s now time to commence our drive to San Pedro de Atacama, our base for the next four nights, stopping at Mars Valley to photograph the sunset over the Andes.
Day 5 – Atacama Desert (B, D)
This morning we rise early and go to Valle de la Luna (Moon Valley) for sunrise. After a picnic breakfast, it’s time to drive into the valley to explore and photograph the otherworldly landscape. On return to San Pedro de Atacama, you’re free to relax or explore the town.
Depending on the conditions in the Atacama, we have an option of either going to Laguna Tebinquinche or Valle del Arcoíris (Rainbow Valley) for sunset. Atacama is also one of the best places in the world for astronomy so tonight we will enjoy an astrophotography tour.
Day 6 – Atacama Desert (B, L, D)
We have a long day of travel up into the altiplano lagoons surrounding the Atacama basin. We’ll be visiting the famous Piedras Rojas (Red Stones) also known as Salar de Talar followed by Laguna Tuyacto a short distance further. The landscape in this region is amazing and there will be numerous stops as we travel.
On our return journey, we take a short detour to visit two more lagoons, Laguna Miscanti and Laguna Miniques, both at the foot of Cerro Miscanti volcano. On our return journey to San Pedro de Atacama, we will have brief stops at the small towns of Socaire and Toconao.
Day 7 – Atacama Desert (B, D)
We rise very early this morning for our long drive to El Tatio Geysers. This is a very popular destination and an early start is crucial to beating the crowd and seeing the geysers at their very best. For the brave, there’s also an opportunity to take a bath in the thermal pool. On our way back we will stop at a lesser-known area with some interesting colours and a unique geyser different from the others. There are some amazing scenery and wildlife on the return journey, so expect to have a number of photo stops.
On return to San Pedro de Atacama, you will have some free time. Then later in the afternoon we return to Moon Valley for sunset.
Day 8 – Atacama Desert => Siloli Desert, Bolivia (B, L, D)
This morning we will be collected and transferred the border crossing of Hito Cajones. This will very likely be a slow process so patience will be required. Once we get through the Chilean checkpoint, we’ll proceed to our 4WD vehicles at which time we will once again need to go through border formalities.
Our first stop will be Laguna Verde and Laguna Blanca. If there’s no wind we will have great panoramic reflection shots with Volcano Licancabur in the background. We then continue to Laguna Colorada where we enjoy photographing the lagoon and Flamingos. As we continue our way through the Siloli Desert there will be numerous stops to photograph the spectacular landscape, including Arbol de Piedra (Stone Tree). Our day ends at the beautiful Seven Colour Mountain.
Day 9 – Siloli Desert => San Pedro De Quemes (B, L, D)
It’s another early morning start to photograph the Seven Colour Mountain in the early morning light, before returning to the hotel for breakfast.
After breakfast, we commence a slow drive past a series of lagoons including Laguna Ramaditas, Laguna Honda, Laguna Chiarkota, Laguna Hedionda, Laguna Chullunkani and Laguna Turquiri. This is a spectacular drive with amazing landscapes and a great opportunity to photograph more flamingos and most likely vicuna.
Depending on our time of arrival, we will either check-in prior to or after sunset. Our sunset shoot will be a unique location known as the Coral Army (or Rock Soldiers), named for the shape of volcanic rock scattered in the same position over a vast area.
Day 10 – San Pedro De Quemes => Uyuni (B, L, D)
This morning we take a short walk from our hotel to visit Pueblo Quemado, the original village that was destroyed by the Chilean forces in 1879 during the War of the Pacific. We then depart for Uyuni, stopping near the village of San Juan to visit the Necropolis and museum. Here we will see hollow coral bubbles that were transformed into tombs by the ancient Aymara people between 1250-1450 AD.
After lunch, we continue to Uyuni where we visit the local office to collect gumboots for use during our stay. We then visit Cementerio de Trenes (Train Cemetery), a rusty collection of historic steam trains that were left to rust in the desert early in the 19th century. We’ll then out onto Salar de Uyuni for sunset.
Day 11 – Salar de Uyuni (B, L, D)
Today we have a full day to explore and photograph the largest salt flat in the world, Salar de Uyuni. Our program will be dependent on how much rain they had earlier in the year and how much water there is on the salt flat. This trip has been specifically scheduled for after the rainy season at which time Uyuni becomes the world’s largest mirror.
During our drive around the salt flat, we will visit areas where they are mining the salt, Ojos de agua (Eye of the salt flat). This is a place where water from a distant volcano bubbles up through the salt crust.bIf the water level is low enough, we will also visit Isla Incahuasi, a rocky island in the middle of Uyuni Salt Flat with giant cactus. Our day no doubt will end with another sunset over the salt flat.
Day 12 – Uyuni => Villa Mar (B, L, D)
This morning we depart Colchani/Uyuni and commence our drive back south through San Cristobal to Valle de Rocas (Stone Valley). We stop briefly at San Cristobal to visit a lovely a 350-year-old Jesuit church. San Cristobal is a mining town with one of Bolivia’s largest mining facilities producing zinc-silver and lead-silver concentrate. It’s the world’s sixth-largest producer of zinc and third largest producer of silver.
Valle de Rocas is one of the most beautiful and visually striking landscapes in Bolivia if not all of South America. With locations such as Laguna Negra, Lost City of Italy, Camel Rock, World Cup Trophy, Balancing Rock and much more, you’re guaranteed to return with truly incredible photos.
Day 13 – Villa Mar => San Pedro de Atacama (B, L, D)
We depart early this morning, slowly making our way back to the border. There will be a number of stops for landscape photography along the way to Laguna Colorada, where we will stop again if time allows. Although we’ll be back on familiar roads, they will look very different travelling in the opposite direction. You will be wanting to stop many times to capture the different compositions. We also take a slight detour to visit Geiser Sol de Manana, an extensive geothermal area at 4,800 to 5,000 meters altitude.
After lunch, we continue to the border crossing of Hito Cajones where we once again must patiently go through border formalities before being transferred to a Chilean vehicle for the journey back to San Pedro de Atacama.
Day 14 – End Of Tour (B, L)
This morning we enjoy one final excursion to Laguna Chaxa in the Salt Flat. This is a great location to get some final images of flamingos in still conditions, hopefully with a good reflection. Afterwards, we return to our hotel where we have arranged a late check-out so we can casually prepare for our journey back home.
Mid to late afternoon we will be transferred to the airport in Calama for our domestic flight back to Santiago. Upon arrival in Santiago, we will say our goodbyes and go our separate ways.