• Self Drive Tour Altiplano Highlands

    Self Drive Tour Altiplano Highlands

  • Church in the Andes Village Guallatiri

    Self Drive Tour Altiplano Highlands

    Self Drive Tour Altiplano Highlands

  • Alpacas in the Altiplano, Chilean Andes

    Self Drive Tour Altiplano Highlands

    Self Drive Tour Altiplano Highlands

  • Self Drive Tour Altiplano Highlands

    Self Drive Tour Altiplano Highlands

  • Self Drive Tour Altiplano Highlands

    Self Drive Tour Altiplano Highlands

  • Self Drive Tour Altiplano Highlands

    Self Drive Tour Altiplano Highlands

  • Self Drive Tour Altiplano Highlands

    Self Drive Tour Altiplano Highlands

  • Self Drive Tour Altiplano Highlands

    Self Drive Tour Altiplano Highlands

Altiplano Expedition - Drive & Hike

7 day self drive tour through the extreme north of Chile

Home / Atacama / Altiplano Expedition - Self drive trip
Duration

7 days from Arica/ to Iquique

Activity
  • self-drive tour
  • nature adventure
Lodging
  • 6 nights hotel / guesthouse
Meals
  • 6x breakfast
Price

from 1.590 USD

TRIP DESCRIPTION

This exciting self-drive tour takes you to explore the little-known extreme north of Chile. From Arica on the Pacific coast, cross the spectacular highland (Altiplano), where natural wonders such as the Lauca National Park and the Surire Salt Flat await you.  The majestic Andean scenery with volcanoes reaching over 6,000 m (20,000 ft) in height accompanies you all the way.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION

  • The group size for this trip has a minimum of 1 people
  • Departures: daily; on request
  • Best Season: from April to November

Due to the summer rainfalls (“Altiplano Winter”), the recommended travel period for this trip is outside of December to March.

ACTIVITY LEVEL

Day tours that will challenge you moderately. Differences in elevation but also in temperature will be the most challenging part. Higher elevations should not create problems for you.

ITINERARY

Day 1: Arica

Your journey begins in Chile´s northernmost city close to the Peruvian border, Arica. Upon arrival at the airport, pick up your rental car and drive to your hotel in the city center. The rest of the day is at leisure in the “City of Eternal Spring”. We recommend visiting the “Morro” – a tall rock overlooking the city and the coast. Arica´s railway station and the customs house were designed by the famous architect Gustave Eiffel.

Accommodation: 3*-Hotel in Arica. (-/-/-)

Day 2: Arica – Putre (2 h - 105 km/65 mi)

From the Pacific Coast, drive up to the highland today. An interesting stop on the way is the Miguel de Azapa Archaeological Museum in the Azapa Valley, where some of the world´s oldest mummies were found.
Continue up all the way to the small village of Putre, which is located at an altitude of 3,500 m (11,500 ft). Take it easy and give your body time to acclimatize; the nearby Jurasi Hot Springs are the ideal place to relax.

Accommodation: 3*-Hotel in Putre. (B/-/-)

Day 3: Putre (3h - 150km/93 mi)

One of Chile’s most impressive protected areas is located close to Putre: Lauca National Park. Apart from surreal views of volcanoes, it offers a diverse avifauna with more than 150 different species. Its spectacular Chungará Lake, located at an altitude of 4,500 m (15,000 ft), reflects the colossal volcanoes Parinacota (6,110 m/20,000 ft) and Pomperane (6,232 m/20,500 ft). Despite the relentless highland climate, there is abundance of flora and fauna – you might be able to observe flamingos, guanacos, llamas, alpacas, vicuñas, condors and vizcachas.

Accommodation: 3*-Hotel in Putre. (B/-/-)

Day 4: Putre - Guallatiri (3h - 80km/50 mi)

Your journey continues south today. Drive through the impressive landscape of the highlands until reaching the small village of Guallatiri. Today’s accommodation is located nearby, next to the river Lauca.

Accommodation: Basic and remote 2*-Hotel near Guallatiri. (B/-/-)

Day 5: Guallatiri - Colchane (6-8 h - 170km/105 mi)

On your way south today, you pass by the National Reserve Las Vicuñas and the impressive Volcán Isluga National Park. An obligatory stop is the Surire Salt Flat, whose special conditions make it the ideal habitat for several species of flamingos. You might also have time for a quick dip into the Polloquere Hot Springs. The route then continues south to the village of Colchane, located in proximity to the Bolivian border. The road conditions and driving times on the highland vary, depending on the summer rainfalls from December to March (“Altiplano Winter”).

Accommodation: 2-3*-Hotel in Colchane. (B/-/-)

Day 6: Colchane - Pica (4 h - 255km/160 mi)

Leave the highland today and drive west towards the coast until reaching the oasis town of Pica. It gives its name to the Pica lemon, the main ingredient for the Chilean Pisco Sour. The fruits that grow along the side of the road here differentiate through their particularly strong and fresh aroma.

There are several points of interest in the surroundings, such as the nearby Pampa de Tamarugal National Reserve and a variety of hot springs.

Accommodation: 3*-Hotel in Pica. (B/-/-)

Day 7: Pica - Iquique (2 h - 115km/70 mi)

Your journey through Chile’s Altiplano ends today. Drive to the coastal city of Iquique, where you drop off your rental car at the airport. From here, you can continue your journey to another region of Chile or fly back home via Santiago. (-/-/-)

WHAT’S INCLUDED

  • Accommodation: 6 nights in the above accommodation (partly very simple with shared bathroom)
  • Meals: 6 x breakfast
  • 7 days car rental incl. CDW with 300 USD deductible, unlimited km
  • Rental car category J3 (PICKUP 4X4, NISSAN TERRANO or similar)
  • Airport Service Charge
  • Drop Off fee
  • Petrol Can
  • Programmed GPS

WHAT’S EXCLUDED

  • Single supplement (only in Arica): extra charge p.p. $110 USD
  • Not appointed meals and beverages
  • Optional trips
  • Tips/gratuity
  • Local payments
  • International and domestic airfare
  • Travel insurance is not included in this tour. Travel insurance is mandatory to buy.

DEPARTURE DATES & BOOKING

01.07.2022 - 30.11.2022
available
daily from 1 person; on request
from 1.590 USD
01.04.2023 - 30.11.2023
available
daily from 1 person; on request
from 1.590 USD

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