South America has a lot of variety from the traveler perspective, but one of the most adventurous and exotic experiences is the crossing of the Chilean and Bolivian Altiplano to the Uyuni Salt flats and later Titicaca Lake.
The trip normally starts in Santiago de Chile with an exposure to delicious Chilean wines and sea food. From there the adventure takes you to the driest desert on Earth, the Atacama. This inhospitable place offers the opportunity to acclimatize to what later will be a crossing following dirt roads in altitudes of 11500 ft. (3500 m.) to 14440 ft. (4400 m.) above sea level.
While exploring the Atacama Region one gets the feeling of going back to when the Earth was first form. One can envision the massive uplifts and volcanic eruptions that created the first Andes Mountains and the high plateau or Altiplano. A place of extreme beauty and eeriness. Salt flats, geysers and walks along uplifted sediments was the first contact with the Altiplano.
Atacama Desert Gallery
The trip later continues along the border with Bolivia, where not only the striking geology, but the people take you back in time. Green and red lagoons, eroded rocks that have taken shapes of trees and frogs; rupestrian art painted on huge rocks, and finally the huge Uyuni Salt Flat, 3860 mi² (10000 km²) of a dry lagoon, which salt core is 32 ft. (10 m.) thick. Discovering the few volcanic islands located in the middle of the salt flat, seeing mummified bodies on the base of Tunupa Volcano or simply walking in the immensity of the salt flat is a unique experience that can’t be seen anywhere else on Earth.
Uyuni Salt Flat Gallery
After dryness and desolation the trip ends in one of the most beautiful and colorful place in the Altiplano, the Titicaca Lake, the highest navigable lake in the world (12,507 ft. / 3812 m. ASL). Here the Island of the Sun awaits with magic scenaries and anceint ruins.
Titicaca Lake Gallery
This 15 days experience offered us adventure, cultural and natural variety, and a close contact with the formation of South America. It left us with a sense of calmness and a desire to explore more natural and wild places on Earth.
Senderos Naturales CEO & Trip Leader