After arriving at Santiago Airport, meet your driver for a transfer to your selected hotel. The remainder of the day is at your leisure to rest or explore your surroundings.
After breakfast, meet your guide in the lobby for your Private Santiago City Tour. One of the best ways to experience Santiago is through its historical development. To start this excursion, we will pass by Santa Lucia Hill, which is called Huelen in a native dialect. We will continue to Plaza de Armas (main square), which is the central point of the city's earliest urbanization. Today, the buildings of the cathedral, the main post office, the National Historic Museum, and the Municipalidad de Santiago (city council) are situated around the square. We'll stroll around in Plaza de la Constitucion square and view La Moneda government palace. From here, we go through the historical milestones from independence to present day. Lunch will then take place at a typical seafood restaurant in the Central Market. Afterwards we'll drive through the bohemian Bellavista neighborhood with its many cultural activities, art galleries, theaters, and restaurants. Continuing the tour, we'll arrive at San Cristóbal Hill. Here you will have an unparalleled view of the city, as you ride the Funicular to the top of the hill.
After checking out of your hotel, you'll have a transfer to Santiago's airport for your short flight to the Atacama. Upon arrival, transfer to your choice of all-inclusive hotel for dinner and overnight accommodations.
Select a tour from the many options available to explore the Atacama Desert. Popular options include mountain biking, hiking through the Guatin Gatchi Valley, or visiting the Moon Valley: we will visit the area of the salt caverns, then ascend the great dune to view the central crater of the Valley of the Moon. The name "Moon Valley" stems from its similar look to lunar soil. We'll walk among the hills and mountain cuts amid an array of changing colors, organically produced by the erosion of water and wind, climbing the Lascar Volcano. Another option is taking in the Tatio Geysers at sunrise.* It's the second highest geyser field in the world. Enjoy a picnic style breakfast and have a guided stroll through the geothermal field to see the geyser and pools of boiling water and mud. Once the sun has risen, your tour leader will lead you to the final stop in our tour of the geyser; a large natural hot spring for a rejuvenating soak in 40*C water! Whatever tour you select, after a full day of exploring, relax with some time at the spa and enjoy a gourmet meal.
*For the geyser tour, please dress in layers, bring comfortable shoes, sun glasses, sun screen, cap and swimming suits if using the hot springs.
After breakfast, we'll cross from Chile to Bolivia, taking in the mighty salt flats. Your first stop will be the Laguna Verde (Green Lagoon) at the feet of the Llicancahur Volcano. Then continue to the Sol de Manana Fumaroles and Laguna Colorada (Red Lagoon). Characterized by the red tone of its waters, Laguna Colorada is inhabited by flocks of flamingoes of three species: tokoko, with red plumage; chururu, with whitish plumage, and jututu, with pink plumage. The scenery is exceptionally beautiful at these heights, set off by the impressive redness of the Lagoon. A box lunch will be provided as we make our way to Uyuni, arriving at the Hotel Luna Salada. Featured in National Geographic, this hotel is entirely constructed from salt blocks, with sweeping panoramic views of Salar de Uyuni. After a full day of touring, take advantage of their spa and steam room, or perhaps book a well-deserved massage.
We begin our full day Salt Flat Tour by departing to Colchani; a village where the majority of the salt consumed in Bolivia is produced, located about 21 kilometers from Uyuni. The Uyuni Salt Flats are the largest on earth: miles and miles of crystalline salt in dazzling pentagons and the dramatic sound of complete silence. Certainly, there is no place like this on the planet. After visiting Ojos de Agua (The Eyes of Water) in the border of the Salt Flats, continue to Isla Pescado or Incawasi for lunch. The islands, located in the middle of the Salt Flats, are home to a type of a cactus that grows to six meters high.
In the morning, you'll take a flight from Uyuni to La Paz, then transfer to a coach heading towards Huatajata. We'll stop for lunch* before crossing the Bolivian High Plateau and arriving at the archaeological site of Tiwanaku (1.580 BC-1.000 AD). These magnificent ruins of Bolivia belong to one of the oldest civilizations in the Americas. The Sun Gate, the Temple of Kalasasaya and the Pyramid of Akapana are the sample of a glorious past. Tiwanaku culture was an agrarian based economy with an estimated population of 115.000 inhabitants. Continue overland to Huatajata. Meet the Limachi family, builders of the RA II and Tigris for epic expeditions across the Atlantic Ocean and see their elegant vicunas, llamas, and alpacas. Enjoy a navigation on Lake Titicaca, swinging among totora-reed canals to reach the Floating Islands & Quewaya Sustainable Project, a rescue of an over 5.000 years old culture and a social project created to assure their survival. Later you'll arrive at the Inca Utama Hotel & Spa. More than just a hotel, it's a cultural experience on the shores of Lake Titicaca. On the grounds of the hotel is the Altiplano Museum, Kallawaya Museum, the Alajpacha Observatory and the Andean Eco Village. In the evening you can experience the mystic world of the Kallawayas, natural healers of Bolivia. They believe that you first have to heal the soul in order to heal your body. Tata Benjo - the Kallawaya- will bless visitors and answer questions by casting his sacred coca leaves.
Today enjoy a Full Day Titicaca Tour. We'll start with a Hydrofoil cruise to Moon Island and visit the Sun Virgins Temple Inak Uyu. Here you'll view the Inca remains at one of their most important spiritual sites. We'll continue to Sun Island and visit the Inca Grand Stairs and the Sacred Fountain. You'll have the opportunity to taste the water, believed to give eternal youth and happiness. Feeling much younger and happier, enjoy lunch at the Uma Kollu archaeological restaurant. Afterwards you'll explore the small handicraft market before taking the hydrofoil cruise to Copacabana. The town of Copacabana is well known for its Christian pilgrimage shrine of the Virgen de la Candelaria, also called the "Dark Virgin". A native Inca craftsman sculpted the image, made of dark wood in 1576. Placed in a chapel in 1583, the statue soon became famous throughout Bolivia and Peru as a miracle causing icon. The present cathedral is now the most visited pilgrimage site in Bolivia. Departing Copacabana, you'll return to your hotel by hydrofoil.
After a leisurely breakfast, you'll have a transfer to La Paz, where you can extend your stay , return home, or depart on to your next Avanti Destination!