South American Train Adventures
This trip combines many scenic and breathtaking railway journeys in Peru, Bolivia, and Chile. The tour program is all about trains, mining sites and industrial history in Bolivia and Chile. Traditional sightseeing is second and done when we have time between two train journeys.
Our expedition starts at the southern point of Peru in Tacna and brings you to remote regions in western Bolivia and northern and central Chile. We visit forgotten railway depots and mining sites which played an essential role in the recent Bolivian and Chilean history. We end the trip south of Santiago de Chile where we travel on the “Last Ramal,” a picturesque train that connects Talca with the coastal town of Concepcion.
This expedition is for travelers who don’t mind leaving some comforts for a spectacular train journey; and who are ready to accept some last minute changes in the tour program which can result from an unforeseen event or situation. We designed the trip for rail enthusiasts, but the journey is also interesting for travel photographers who seek a unique experience away from the tourist regions.
- Train Journey across the Atacama Desert from Tacna in Peru to Arica in Chile, one of two international train journeys in South America.
- We travel on the breathtaking Arica – La Paz railroad the part from Arica to Paconchile in Chile and from Viacha to Charaña in Bolivia.
- We go from La Paz to Lake Titicaca by train. On the way, we visit Tiwanaku, Bolivia’s most important archaeological site.
- We explore Bolivia’s most important private railway line which connects the Tin Mine in Uncia with Machacamarca near Oruro in central Bolivia.
- We travel on the “Expreso del Sur” from Oruro to Uyuni where we visit the World’s largest Saltflat.
- In Chile, we travel on the various trains south of Santiago. Especially to mention is the journey on the “Last Ramal” from Talca to Constitucion.
Dates & Rates
Peru, Bolivia, Chile
Tour Dates 2019: July 11 - 27
Escorted Train Enthusiast Journey / maximum 15 Participants
Tour Dates 2020: May 07 - 23
16 Nights from USD 5'475.-- per person
Air transportation within Argentina, Bolivia, and Peru; all excursions in the company of an English speaking expedition leader and local guides; all accommodations in excellent upper middle-class hotels; most meals; all entrance fees; arrival and departure transfers in Buenos Aires and Lima.
Airfare from your home city/Tacna and Santiago de Chile/home city; excess baggage charges; airport arrival and departure taxes; passport and/or visa fees; travel insurance; items of a personal nature such as laundry, alcoholic beverages and other incidentals; and email/Internet/fax/telephone charges.
Considering the character of our trips, there may be ongoing improvements to this itinerary. Below you find the day-by-day itinerary for the tour South American Train Adventures. Unless otherwise specified, daily excursion options are included in the cost of the trip. We do our maximum to comply to the scheduled tour program, but due to the travel style and regions we visit, we may deviate the journey slightly to take full advantage of encounters with the destination and its people, and culture.
Day 1: Arrival in Tacna - Peru
You arrive with your flight in Tacna in Southern Peru. Transfer to your Hotel.
Day 2: Railway Museum Tacna and train journey to Arica in Chile
In the morning, we visit the railway museum in Tacna. You have time to have lunch before we board the train to Arica in northern Chile. In Arica, transfer from the railway station to our hotel in the city.
Day 3: Train Journey from Arica to Paconchile and from there by bus to La Paz, Bolivia
We travel by train from Arica to Paconchile (Arica – La Paz Railroad). We continue to La Paz from Paconchile in a private van crossing the spectacular pass of “Tambo Quemado.” We spend the night at our hotel in La Paz.
Day 4: Train Journey from El Alto to Guaqui on the shores of the Lake Titicaca
We travel by train through the Bolivian highlands to the Lake Titicaca. The train stops in Tiwanaku, one of the most scenic archeological sites of the Aymara Culture in South America. At the Lake Titicaca, we have time to visit the small railway museum in Guaqui. We return to La Paz in a private van. We stay overnight at our hotel in La Paz.
Day 5: Ferrobus from Viacha to Charaña
We travel on a Ferrobus from Viacha to Charaña at the Chilean border. Enjoy the incredible scenery during this trip. We return to La Paz in a private vehicle. Overnight we stay at the Hotel Europa in La Paz.
Day 6: City Tour in La Paz
Day 7: City Tour in Oruro
Private Transportation La Paz – Oruro. We have lunch in Oruro before we visit the city. We stay overnight in Oruro.
Day 8: Railway Museum Machacamarca and Uncia Mining town
We visit Bolivia’s largest Railway museum in Machacamarca about 30 km south from Oruro. From Machacamarca, we follow in our car the old private mining railroad to Uncia. We return to Oruro to spend the night at our Hotel.
Day 9: Journey with the "Expreso del Sur" to Uyuni
You have free time in the morning. We board the “Expreso del Sur” to Uyuni in the afternoon. We have dinner on the train. At our arrival in Uyuni, transfer to the Hotel where we stay overnight.
Day 10: Uyuni Salt Flat
Explore various oxidized steam engines and wagons on this spectacular site surrounded by unique scenery. In Colchani, we visit an artisanal salt processing plant and witness traditional salt extraction methods. At the Incahuasi Island in the middle of the world’s largest salt flat, you see terrific giant cactus. Overnight we stay at a comfortable, but a very remote lodge.
Day 11: Train Spotting Uyuni - Antofagasta Railroad - Calama (Chile)
We travel in our vehicle to Avaroa, the Bolivian border post to Chile for the Uyuni – Antofagasta Railway. We pass the border to Chile and continue to Calama following the tracks of the famous “Ghost Train” that connects Uyuni with Antofagasta. We stay overnight in Calama.
Day 12: Calama - Locomotive Workshop Baquedano - Flight to Santiago
In the morning, we discover in the middle of the desert the picturesque railway workshop Baquedano about 60km west of Calama. On the way back to Calama, our driver leaves us at the Airport from where we fly to Santiago de Chile. From the Airport, transfer-in to our hotel where we stay overnight.
Day 13: Day Santiago - Talca - Buscarril "Last Ramal" - Constitucion
Early morning transfer to the Alameda Railway Station in Santiago and train journey to Talca, about 250km south of Santiago. We travel in the afternoon on the “Last Ramal” to the city of Constitucion. An old restored Busrailcar usually makes this adventurous and picturesque journey. In Constitucion, we transfer to our Hotel where we stay overnight.
Day 14: Constitucion - Chillan - Concepcion
Early morning we return to the railway station traveling on the “Last Ramal” back to Talca. This time, we have full daylight during the journey. In Talca, we connect to the Express Train to Chillan, a town about 150km south of Talca. In Chillan we have lunch before we continue the trip by bus to Concepcion where we stay overnight.
Day 15: "El Corto Laja" - Flight to Santiago
We travel on the train “Corto Laja” to the small town of Laja, following the Biobio River. We return on the same train to Concepcion having lunch at our arrival. In the afternoon, transfer to the Airport and flight to Santiago de Chile where we stay overnight.
Day 16: City Tour in Santiago de Chile
Day 17: Departure
At the agreed time, transfer to the Airport and flight to your home country.