ATACAMA & UYUNI
March 6 – 15 2024
Ultimate journey to Andes:
Another extreme photography adventure is coming back !, We will travel through the South America’s remotest corners in Andes between Chile and Bolivia. This is an ultimate journey to capture the world’s most hidden and spectacular landscape. In this nomadic adventure, we don’t have a sense of borders or countries…We just embrace the freedom of the unexpected !
From Atacama to Uyuni:
We start the journey from Atacama in northern Chile, staying 3 nights at San Pedro de Atacama, the central village surrounded by “driest desert in the world”. We will capture the sharp contrast between sun and shadow, extreme nature in the desolate desert and soundless valleys.
Next 7 days, we explore deep into Altiplano, the high plateau of the Andes between Chile and Bolivia. We drive through the world’s most isolated area and photograph the unimaginable scenes.
The highlight of our trip is visiting “Salar de Uyuni (Uyuni Slat Flats)”, one of the most pristine places on earth. 10,582 sq km (4086 sq mi) salt appears in the middle of nowhere.
Our base in Atacama is explora Atacama, which sits in the oasis of San Pedro de Atacama. We travel with explora’s guide & driver daily.
Through the trip in Bolivia, we will stay at the local lodges and hotels: all sit in small villages located deep into Altiplano.
The location and design of the lodges allows travelers to sleep, rest, and wake up in unique and secluded places, feeling the deep and absolute immensity of each area.
On the final night of the trip, we stay at the hotel in Iquique, a coastal city in northern Chile facing Pacific Ocean.
GROUP SIZE AND STAFF:
The maximum group size is 5 - 8 travelers, along with Katsuyoshi Tanaka.
During the journey in Altiplano, an expert crew of a guide and 2-3 drivers, will accompany you with Toyota Land Cruisers.
March. 6(Wed) – 15(Fri). 2024: in Chile & Bolivia (9 nights/10 days)
Atacama, Chile…. 3 nights (3/6-9)
Altiplano, Bolivia…. 5 nights (3/9-14)
Iquique, Chile…. 1 night (3/14-15)
Program rates per person:
double occupancy: TBA (around $8,500)
single occupancy: TBA (around $9,500)
Rates are per person, U.S. Dollars. Program rates include airport transfers to and from the hotels both in Atacama and Iquique, accommodations, meals, daily explorations, and the entrance to national parks and reserves.
Airfare ( international & domestic in Chile )
Any extra hotel expenses in Santiago
Atacama – Altiplano
DAY 1: Arrival
Our Van will pick you up at Calama airport and bring you to the hotel in the oasis of San Pedro de Atacama at 2500meters high (8200 feet). The transfer will take about an hour. You'll meet the photographer and leader of the expedition, Katsuyoshi Tanaka, along with the explora’s guide to discuss the program.
Afternoon and sunset shoot at Moon Valley and Death Valley.
Welcome slide presentation and lecture at night.
DAY 2 & 3: Explore Atacama
During two days, we will photograph the incredible landscapes in desert and valleys. Plenty opportunity to capture the wild life and cultural scenes as well. Through different types of photo shoot, we will be getting ready for our journey into the Bolivian Altiplano. We will also try night shoot during the stay. Atacama is the world’s best spot for astronomical observation.
DAY 4: Crossing the Border to Bolivia
We leave Atacama early in the morning, starting our journey through Licancabur Volcano to cross the border of Bolivia.
We will visit Sol de Mañana, a geothermal field and explore a series of salt pans, wetlands and lagoons. Colorada Lagoon is a perfect place to photograph flamingos. In the late afternoon, we will arrive at “Desert Hotel”, our first lodge.
By spending the night there, we will have the chance to live and feel the immensity and solitary beauty of the region that we have just have started to discover.
DAY 5: From Cañapa to Chituca
We will remain at a high altitude, between 4,300-3,600m(14000-11800 feet), photographing former mines, abrupt valleys and boundless plains until reaching the Turquiri Lagoon. Great chance to photograph the high plains birds.
Late afternoon, we arrive at our second lodge, “Hotel de Piedra”, located next to the burned town memorial in San Pedro de Quemes.
DAY 6: From Chituca to Tahua, Crossing the Salar
We will visit the village of San Pedro de Quemes, a former Spanish settlement with panoramic views of the plateau and the salar.
After stopping at Las Dos Estrellas, called “The Cave of Galaxies”, 10,000 sq km of salt will appear in front of us: the Salar de Uyuni (Uyuni Salt Flats). Located 3,665m(12000 feet), it is the largest and highest salt pan on earth.
We will explore the salar and its immensity. We will walk through some of its islands and capture the eternal white, cloud-like salt flats.
We stay at the salt hotel, “Hotel de Sal” in Tagua, a small village on the side of the salar, sitting at the foothill of Tunupa Volcano.
DAY 7 & 8: Drawing Your Images on White Canvas
We continue exploring gigantic salar. White canvas of land keeps changing its color and texture drastically, particularly at sunrise and sunset. Even moonrise creates amazing drama. We will also try star trail shoot in the middle of the night with 360 degrees horizon !
DAY 9: return to Chile and descending to the Pacific
We will head towards the Chilean border, stopping a couple of villages and the salar de Coipasa, then cross the border at Cochane.
In the afternoon, we start descending the Andes. This amazing route will give you an opportunity to photograph mountains of complex color ranges. At the end of the route, we will come across Humberstone, a giant and old saltpeter mill from the 1920´s. The buildings, once full of life, are now inhabited by only the wind and the sand. It is a magical place where we can go back in time and feel part of an era that changed Chilean history forever.
We will reach Iquique in the late evening, the coastal city facing Pacific Ocean.
DAY 10: Leaving Iquique
Taking the flight from Iquique to Santiago, then go back home.
“The itineraries are subject to modified and changed. We will try all our effort to operate programs as planned, but alterations may still occur based on the weather and other conditions.”
SAFETY OF THE PROGRAM:
It is unique and challenging time for everyone to travel due to COVID-19. Our priority is the safety and health of the guests and we will take every necessary step to manage COVID-19. We will also follow the safety protocol from the Peruvian government and the local communities.
For more information about the safety protocols in explora, please see the following link:
" This was my second trip with Katsu, and my main reason for choosing it was Katsu’s leadership. I looked forward to learning more about photography from him in a small group. His dedication to individualized teaching and sharing it is truly inspiring. He covers both technical and artistic aspects of photography every day of the trip – before, during and after each shoot. I also had a keen interest in seeing the Atacama Desert and the Salar de Uyuni since they are among the most beautiful and significant geological wonders of the world. Few places in the world are as beautiful, remote, pristine and photogenic. It is deeply satisfying experience for me to successfully capture the beauty in an extraordinary image!“
(Chip Webb, Masachusetts, USA)
" Thank you so much for leading the trip. It was a marvelous experience and amazing natural settings. This was my second trip with you, and frankly I would’ve not gone if it were not for you leading the group. I have learned so much about lighting, framing a picture and how to make pictures to tell a story. Your digital session critiques were instrumental in reinforcing the skill gained by your hands on approach at actual shoot sites. You exhibited tremendous energy through out the trip. Your sacrifice of your own rest time in order to accommodate the group’s demand is greatly appreciated. You made every effort to do night shoots, early AM, and late night sessions for the satisfaction and learning of all. Your interpersonal interaction skills are enviable considering the varied characters of the trip attendees.”
(Hakam Kayasseh, Texas, USA)
"The most incredible trip I have ever had! So very, very different from anything I have ever experienced. It was almost unbelievable! "
(David Johnson, Oregon, USA)
" We’ve been on a number of Katsu’s workshops before and were incredibly impressed with the limited number of participants, access to exceptionally unique locations, superb lodging, dining and transportation. Every participant receives excellent photographic instruction with shooting as well as equipment, there are numerous critique sessions and our group is always together ! “
(Jeffrey Falk, New York, USA)