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What to See/What to Miss?

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Kingston, Canada
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What to See/What to Miss?

We will be in SPA for three days this coming March (arrival in the morning and departure in the AM three days later). We will then travel via a 4WD tour through the Bolivia Altipano and Salt Flats to Uyuni. Question is, what days trips should we do in SPA and which ones can we miss as the tour to Uyuni would be similar and thus make these portions redundent? Currently, we would plan on visiting the highlights close to town (Valle de la Luna, Valle de la Muerte and Quebrada del Diablo), possibly the ruins at Pucara de Quitor, and to do the Star Observation one night. Things we are not sure of include Laguna Tebinquinche and Salar de Tara. We plan on missing the the Tatio Guysers and Laguna Cejar. Any comments?

Stanley, Falkland...
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1. Re: What to See/What to Miss?

I didn't find the tour to Uyuni covered anything like that which we had seen around San Pedro. The Tatio Geysers were a very different experience from the 2 geyser spots we saw in Bolivia.

The countries may be neighbouring, but the landscapes and cultures are different.

Even the sacred volcano that overlooks San Pedro, looks completely different from the Bolivian side.

Another example - I took a trip to see flamingos in the Atacama. Fine - saw about 12. 2 days later we saw hundreds, up close near the Hostel del Falmingos....

But what if I'd not gone to see the Chilean flamingos and the Bolivian ones had flown off by the time we got there? I would then have seen none! (They are different species, by the way).

It depends on what YOU want to see and do....?

Edited: 18 September 2013, 02:10
Kingston, Canada
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2. Re: What to See/What to Miss?

Thanks. Probably did not explain myself very well. We only have so much time in Atacama and there are "many" possible things to do. I was after a recommendation as to what might be left out based on similar situations. I hoped that someone might have done a similar trip and might have found something that either might be redundent or on the other hand was not to be missed - given that we cannot do all. Thanks again for your comment.

Edmonton, Canada
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3. Re: What to See/What to Miss?

As Peter says, the areas are very different. I would try to see as much as possible in the time you have there. Re: the star gazing....check your dates of travel. I don't know exactly but they do close for a few days around the time of a full moon.

Kingston, Canada
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4. Re: What to See/What to Miss?

Have done so, thanks. We will do the star trip the first night there (as long as it is not cloudy), as we will be there 5 days before the full moon.

Stanley, Falkland...
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5. Re: What to See/What to Miss?

I understood your question. I would say don't miss the Tatio trip. It is not redundant.

There are two places on the trip to Uyuni which have thermal activity, but nothing like Tatio. One is a small thermal pool which you can sit in and enjoy the views (probably the first spot you stop at after the border). There's a restaurant across the road.

The other is a geyser field with a variety of bubbling geysers. Very smelly and no facilities.

Neither is like the Tatio field, which can be surreal in the early morning frost.

But it will be busier than the Bolivian places.

If you are seeing the Salar de Uyuni, then it might be worth skipping the Chilean Salar. I spent 5 days in SPA and didn't see it all.

Santiago, Chile
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6. Re: What to See/What to Miss?

It is all too subjective to give you pointers on what to miss. I did not enjoy going to the Tatio geyser but that's me, most people like it. If there were something which everyone agreed was a waste of time, then you might get suggestions to avoid it but there isn't. There isn't anything you could consider repetitive if you are going to the Salar de Uyuni either, maybe the Salar de Tara.

streeter
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7. Re: What to See/What to Miss?

do whatever you want because no one can say specific to what to see see? or what to miss?

so it's better to have a chance to visit so that you can know how the places they are?

Good luck!

Edited: 20 September 2013, 12:02
Kingston, Canada
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8. Re: What to See/What to Miss?

Peterscot - Thanks - just the type of advice I needed. We realize we can't see/do everything (unfortunately). Agree with the comments of others that only you yourself know what you will like. However "you don't know, what you don't know" and thus having to rely on a recommendation or experience is useful in making tough choices.

Toronto, Canada
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9. Re: What to See/What to Miss?

lol! i just asked the same question on another forum!! let me re ask here again!!! i'm sure the salt flat in uyuni will be much better than atacama so for sure i will not do that in atacama. i was wondering how the lagoons compare? the jeep tour seems to visit many lagoons on the way to atacama, if they are similar, or worst than the bolivia side, then i will skip it and do something else. same with hotsprings, geysers etc... thank you .

Santiago, Chile
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10. Re: What to See/What to Miss?

Do the Lagunas Altiplánicas and the Spaceobs stargazing tour (moon permitting), Tatio geyser if you like the idea of a geyser and have never seen one. The same tours come in various prices. I used Cosmo Andino and thought it was well worth what I paid. Read a few reviews to get a shortlist of good agencies and tours and book when you are there.