Our bosses, who are fond of traveling, started their adventurous route from Arica and continued over the Codpa Valley to Putre. They saw many breath-taking landscapes, and various little villages with beautiful adobe churches, which have been lovingly restored by the “Fundación Altiplano”. A highlight of this trip is the drive from Putre to Lauca National Park, and then further south along the Bolivian border. Elke and Carsten nicknamed this road the “Avenue of the Volcanos”: Parinacota (6,342 m), Guallatiri (6,053 m) and Isluga (5,530 m) are only some of the volcanos, which rise up in the clear blue sky of the Altiplano like pearls on a string. At the Salar de Surire, hundreds of pink flamingos dominate the scene, and guests are invited to take a relaxing bath after an exciting day in the Polloquere hot springs right next to the salt lake. The gravel road to Colchane has been improved and is now easily accessible for minivans, so we can include this route in our travel itineraries in the Altiplano. One route option is to continue from Colchane to Iquique and to end the tour there. Another possibility is to cross the border to Bolivia in Pisiga in order to see the spectacular Salar de Uyuni, the mysterious “Laguna Colorada” and “Laguna Verde” before coming back to Chile, and ending the tour in San Pedro de Atacama.
This is an excellent highland desert tour, also suitable for group travels. The best time to go is between April and December.