CHRIS PARROTT.BOLIVIALa Paz.CoroicoSucre..Tarabuco.Uyuni.PotosíCalama..San Pedro de Atacama.SantiagoCHILEARGENTINABRAZILSARAH BEARDThe salt deserts of the south-west wilderness This is the earth's crust stripped down to its bare bones, stark, brutal and windswept. Scantily populated, with few roads or other signs of human interference, it is an area of outstanding beauty with yawning moon-white salt lakes, simmering volcanoes, hot springs and flamingo fringed lagoons. The isolated principal town, Uyuni, is a growing centre for visitor services. The primitive infrastructure means that it is hard to access the area independently. But there are an increasing range of options as the area opens up, by train and road. New hotels-ingeniously constructed with salt-have been built in isolated villages; making a stay of two to four nights? recommended to do justice to the area?a feasible option. Combine it with an exploration of historic towns in the south such as Potosí or Sucre; or continue over the border into Chile.020 8747 8315 / journeylatinamerica.co.uk bookings, consultant advice and additional information 133Highlights of Bolivia with Chile 17 days, 14 nightsLa Paz 2 nights, Coroico 1n, La Paz 1n, Sucre 2n, Tarabuco 1n, Potosí 2n, Uyuni 1n, San Pedro de Quemez or San Juan 1n, Villa Mar 1n, San Pedro de Atacama 1n, Santiago 1n.Day 1 Fly from the UK arriving the following day in La Paz. Day 2 At leisure to acclimatise. Day 3 Excursion to pre-Inca Tiwanaku Ruins which rise from the high tawny plain. Day 4 A spectacular and vertiginous drive out of La Paz over the high altitude La Cumbre pass, dropping 3,000m in 65km to the citrus orchards and banana plantations of subtropical Coroico. Day 5 Return to La Paz. Day 6 Fly to Sucre. Day 7 At leisure exploring this whitewashed colonial city. Day 8 Drive to the simple yet evocative Hacienda La Candelaria. Day 9 Visit the authentic market at Tarabuco, where the inhabitants still wear their hand-woven ponchos and head-dresses. Continue up a brome-fringed road to Potosí on the desolate altiplano. Day 10 Visit the primeval tunnels of the drift mines of Cerro Rico and tour Casa de la Moneda (the Imperial Mint Museum) and the imposing architecture which reflects the city's opulent past. Day 11 Drive to Uyuni over a 5,000m pass. Overnight in a salt hotel. Day 12 Expedition to the immense salt pan. Overnight in San Pedro de Quemez or San Juan. Day 13 Cross the dazzling flats within the shadow of Ollagüe volcano through valleys of wind-eroded rocks. Overnight in Villa Mar. Day 14 Drive to rust-red Laguna Colorada, where flamingos feed. En route to the jade-green waters of Laguna Verde you will view the steaming geysers and thermal springs of Polques, before crossing into Chile and the lunar landscapes and pre-Incan ruins of the Atacama Desert. Overnight in San Pedro de Atacama. Day 15 Fly from Calama to Santiago de Chile (2hrs). Day 16 Fly to the UK arriving day 17. Prices from £2,069pp based on two sharing, excluding transatlantic flights. Regular departures from the UK how about?» Visiting mystical Lake Titicaca from La Paz-full day, or overnight (p132). » A few days on Easter Island (p147). » The Choro Trek (p132).Below Laguna Cañapa en route to San Pedro de Atacama from Uyuni.
Transposed to Western Europe, Chile would stretch from Norway to Tunisia ?some 4,300km. A skinny coastal strip backed by the Andes mountain range, it has a variety of climate and landscape to match its changing latitudes. It is the awe-inspiring scenery that provides the greatest appeal: this is a country of the great outdoors, and there is a range of activities on offer to match.Chile is a peaceful and welcoming place with a good infrastructure and, in spite of the distances involved, it is easy to get around. Excellent hotels, abundant fresh seafood and cheap, delicious wines add to the ingredients for a superb, trouble-free holiday.134