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Elements of the Universe

Atacama Desert & Uyuni Salt Flats / Chile & Bolivia
March 12 – 28 and November 5 – 21, 2020

Cycling like on another Planet:
Billions of years ago much of our planet might have looked like the Atacama Desert. This is the driest place on Earth and no other place so closely resembles conditions on Mars. Scientists come here to study what life on other planets might look like and NASA test their equipment for future space missions here.

Elements of the Universe

Atacama Desert & Uyuni Salt Flats / Chile & Bolivia
March 12 – 28 and November 5 – 21, 2020

Crunchy, that is the sound of cycling on the Uyuni Salt Flat in Bolivia.
Most of this tour is cycling on aspahlt (about 70%). The remainder is on gravel with some sections on compacted salt roads and, for our November tour, half a day on the Uyuni Salt Flat.

Elements of the Universe

Atacama Desert & Uyuni Salt Flats / Chile & Bolivia
March 12 – 28 and November 5 – 21, 2020

Nature of gigantic proportions:
Cycling on the Andean Altiplano, after Tibet the second largest high plain on Earth.
The route passes alongside Stratovolcanoes, Lagoons, Salt Lakes, and Geysers.

Elements of the Universe

Elements of the Universe

Atacama Desert & Uyuni Salt Flats / Chile & Bolivia March 12 - 28 and November 5 - 21, 2020

Discover the Origins of Earth and Cycle like on another Planet

On this tour you will witness nature of gigantic, truely epic proportions: Nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes Mountain Range, lies the Atacama Desert, the driest desert on Earth and the Uyuni Salt Flats, the largest salt lake on Earth. 

This is one of the best places to explore our Origins: How are Stars and Planets born? And how can Earth sustain life? 

To make sense of the landscape and the night skies, we are joined by two knowlegable guides: A Geologist, specialized in how our planet became habitable and an Astronomer who will explain the birth of Stars and Planets in the Universe.

During this adventure the Aliveness Cycling team is here to make sure we keep both feet firmly on the ground: The tour is fully supported and all details are taken care of. Local guides connect you to the Chilean and Bolivian culture and make sure you experience a perfect vacation. You can cycle as little or as much as you like. And, you can even bring along a non-cycling partner with our program for Explorers. Aliveness Cycling has more than 16 years of experience in organizing road bike tours and, without a doubt, this is the tour we always dreamt of organizing for our guests.

Tour Facts

Fully supported program for both Cyclists and Explorers (non-cycling travel companions)

Duration

16 Days / 16 Nights

Stages

12 Choice of 50 -120km / 31 – 75mi

Rental Bike

3T Exploro included

Price

Starting at € 9685

Participants

Minimum 10 / Maximum 17

Road Surface

Asphalt, Gravel & Salt

Rental E-Bike

Adventure E-Bike optional

Special Offer

10% off till October 31, 2019
For the first 5 bookings only.

Cyclists

  • 12 stages, most with three options:
    
50-60 km /31-37mi, 70-80km/43-50mi, or 90-120km/56-75mi.
  • 4 rest days with guided excursions.

Explorers

  • Explorers are non-cycling travel companions.
  • 14 days with guided excursions to natural and cultural sights. Optional hiking. 2 free days.
  • The tour will be accompanied by local guides. Two scientists, one Geologist and one Astronomer, as well as Aliveness Cycling staff.

Tour Dates 2020

March 12 - 28, 2020

Uyuni Salt Lake Mirror Reflection
Bolivia volcano quinoa
Seasonal Highlight

Mirror Salt Lake, Snow Covered Volcanoes,
Colourful Quinoa fields

Arrival

March 12, 2020, San Pedro de Atacama / Chile

Departure

March 28, 2020, Iquique / Chile

November 5 - 21, 2020

Uyuni salt flat
Chile cycling vacations
Seasonal Highlight

Dry Salt Lake, Cycling on Salt Lake,
Spring in the desert

Arrival

November 5, 2020, San Pedro de Atacama / Chile

Departure

November 21, 2020, Iquique / Chile 

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Tour Video

This slow-paced, immersive video gives you a first taste of the gigantic nature we will be traveling through.
This video is a work in progress and we update it once every few weeks. The final version will be published here in December. If you would like to be notified, please subscribe to our newsletter at the bottom of this page.

Tour Itinerary

San Pedro de Atacama is roughly 1.200km /  745mi north of the capital Santiago de Chile. San Pedro de Atacama is the ideal location to explore the desert and get acclamatized to the altitude.

The closest airport is Calama (CJC) about one hour drive west of San Pedro de Atacama. A transfer rom Calam airport to our hotel in San Pedro de Atacama is included.

In the evening we will have a welcome meet-and-greet before having dinner in a wonderful small restaurant serving Chilean cusine prepared with the best local ingredients. Here the ancient traditions are combined with modern cuisine.

7 days in Chile: 5 days in San Pedro de Atacama with acclimatization and daily excursions / 2 stages on the Andean Altiplano towards the Bolivian border.

Altitude Acclimatization: For the first six nights we will stay in the small town of San Pedro de Atacama with about 5.000 inhabitants at an altitude of 2.407m/7,897ft. This is an ideal base to get acclimatized and to explore some of the highlights of the desert.

We will see the Geyser El Tatio, the Valle de la Luna and the Laguna Miscanti. A special treat is a stop at the Laguna Cejar, where the salt content is so high that you can float in the water.

Onto the Altiplano: Out of San Pedro de Atacama the first stage takes us to the small oasis town of Chiu Chiu (2.525m/8,284ft). Then we will be traveling through the National Park Alto Loa, high up on the Altiplano surrounded by salt lakes and stratovolcanoes. The outpost border town of Ollagüe (3.660m/11.863ft) with 256 inhabitants welcomes visitors with a sign advertising the availability of police, water, telephone, television, and restaurant facilities—here we will be staying over night before crossing the border into Bolivia.

4 nights in Bolivia: 1 night near Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve / 2 nights at Uyuni Salt Flats / 1 night near Sajama National Park

The second part of our journey takes us into Bolivia. Before reaching Uyuni we will drive through the Eduardo Avaroa National Reserve for two days at altitudes up to 4.132m/13,560ft. This park is known for its colorful lagoons, geysers, volcanoes, and a wide variety of birds. We will be traveling by Land Cruisers, a renown off-road vehicle with three guests per vehicle to give everyone a luxurious window seat. With road conditions being rough, there will be no cycling for this stage.

On the second day in Bolivia we will arrive at the Uyuni Salt Flats (3.700m/12,140ft), by far the largest salt-lake on Earth, where we will stay in a luxurious hotel constructed almost entirely of salt.

We offer this tour twice a year, once in March and once in November, and the big difference between the two tours is in Uyuni, with both options offering unique highlights. In March, the surface of the lake is covered with water and the entire lake becomes one gigantic mirror—the views are spectacular. This Uyuni mirror effect is world-famous and many tourists come here just to experience this highly unique view of the world. In March we cycle on asphalt and gravel to the nearby Silver-mines. In November the Salt Flat is dry and we will be able to cycle an entire stage on the salt.

After Uyuni we head north to the Sajama National Park where we will be staying in an Ecolodge managed by indigenous families of the area. The next day we will be returning to Chile and begin our long descent to the Pacific Ocean.

4 days in Chile: Through Lauca National Park to Putre / via Putre, Codpa and the Oasis Pica to Iquique by the Pacific.

Back in Chile, we will pass into the Lauca National Park, passing by the Chungará lake and descending to the village of Putre with less than 2000 inhabitants at an altitude of 3,300m/10,827ft.

The next stage takes us from Putre down to the Azapa Valley close to Arica. Here we will have a chance to visit the local archeological museum with the oldest mummies in the world. Some of these mummies might be as much as 2000 years older than the oldest ones found in Egypt. After some refreshments we will drive south by bus to the oasis Pica (1.106m/3,629ft).

On our final stage from Pica to the Pacific we will pass by the gigantic Geoglyphs de Pintados left by ancient civilizations. Then we will climb out of the desert over the coastal cordilleras and finally descent to the Pacific — a magnificent experience of contrasts. We will have lunch in a small fishing village before transferring by bus along the ocean to Iquique.

The tour ends in the town of Iquique, roughly 360km/224mi north of the starting point San Pedro de Atacama. We will conclude with a dinner in a classic restaurant from the late 19th century.

Finale of Tour de Atacama & Uyuni

Now is time to return home or perhaps go on and explore other places. 

A transfer from the hotel to the Iquique airport (IQQ) is included. Driving time is about 35 minutes. Most likely you will be flying to your destination via Santiago de Chile (SCL). There are several flights per day and the flight time is 2:15h. Please let us know if you need any suggestions on how to contunue your travels in Chile.

Information in the itinerary is subject to change. Depending on conditions the exact route and length of stages and transfers may need to change.

Origins:
The Universe

Origins: The Universe

At night we will be able to see as much of the Universe as is humanly possible from planet Earth. The edge between the Atacama Desert and the Andean Altiplano offers spectacular star gazing. The combination of extremely low humidity, high altitude and zero light-pollution is why many of the world’s most renown observatories are located here. Nearly 70% of Earth-based astronomy is conducted from Chile.

Astronomer at Aliveness Cycling

While star-gazing with the naked eye will be epic, we will further deepen our experience by bringing along a telescope that will be set up at night for everyone to use. One of our two guides will be an academic in astronomy who will explain the night sky and accompany our viewing experience. A guided tour of the famous ALMA observatory, the largest radio telescope in the world, is an inspiration: The ALMA observatory was a key contributor in making the first image of a Black Hole, which was released on April 10, 2019, a monumental moment in Science.

ALMA Observatory
ALMA Observatory

Origins:
Earth and Climate

Origins: Earth and Climate

During this tour you will experience some of the most fascinating geological phenomena of our planet. We will be traveling along the gigantic Pacific Ocean, through the driest desert on Earth, across the highest volcanic mountain range, to the largest salt lake, through nearly endless mineral and salt deposits, and along lagoons, geysers and natural hot springs.

In short, what we are witnessing is but a tiny snapshot of an environment that is in constant transformation. Geology and climate function on a different timescale than our human lives. To see what is occuring around us we need to think in terms of millions of years. 

Chile cycling vacations_el ratio geyser
how to build a habitable planet

Geologist at Aliveness Cycling

To make sense of it all and put the geologic phenonema into perspective, one of our guides will be Dr. Carolina Rodriguez, an accomplished Chilean geologist. Beyond local geological phenomena, Dr. Rodriguez will explain to us the intricate connections between volcanic activity, tectonic plate movements, carbon levels, and the global climate.

Dr. Rodriguez has taught, among others, in Geneva and at Harvard in Cambridge. At Harvard she taught the course based on the second edition of the classic book: “How to build a Habitable Planet — The Story of Earth from the Big Bang to Humankind”.  She also participated in the re-fining of this second edition and she served as the Co-Curator of the Harvard Museum of Mineralogy. 

Today Dr. Rodriguez currently teaches Geology in Santiago de Chile where she specializes on Volcanology and Geothermal Energy. In her spare time she has also accompanied non-scientists to Antarctica explaining the fascinating geologic activity.

How To Build A Habitable Planet

The first edition of this classic book, published in 1984, was written by Prof. Wally Broecker, a highly distinguished Geophysicist form Columbia University, who also coined the phrase “Global Warming”. The book has since become a classic being used at more than 20 of the best Universities worldwide.

Program for Cyclists

Flexibility

You can cycle as much or as little as you like. Every day we offer several length options. You can choose whatever suits you best for that day.

Multi Surface

About 70% of the tour will be on asphalt. The reminder is mostly gravel and a few compacted salt roads  unique to this region. During the November Tour you may also cycle on the Uyuni Salt Flat.

E-Bike Option

Starting for our tours in 2020, we will also offer E-Bikes as an option.

Alto Loa National Reserve, Chile
Cycling in Alto Loa National Reserve
Valle de Acro Iris, San Pedro de Atacama, Chile
Valle de la Luna, San Pedro de Atacama, Chile
Classic desert road
Riding on Uyuni Salt Lake, Bolivia
Cycling next to Chungará Lake, Chile
The road down to the tiny village Putre, Chile
Cycling in Lauca National Park, Chile
Amazing road in the middle of nowhere
Valle de Arco Iris, full of colorful minerals, Chile
Sunset at Lauca National Park, Chile
Inside Lauca national Park, Chile
Samaja National Park, Bolivia
Full day excursion to Laguna Miscanti, Chile
Full day excursion to Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve
Star tour at night
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Alto Loa National Reserve, Chile
Cycling in Alto Loa National Reserve
Valle de Acro Iris, San Pedro de Atacama, Chile
Valle de la Luna, San Pedro de Atacama, Chile
Classic desert road
Riding on Uyuni Salt Lake, Bolivia
Cycling next to Chungará Lake, Chile
The road down to the tiny village Putre, Chile
Cycling in Lauca National Park, Chile
Amazing road in the middle of nowhere
Valle de Arco Iris, full of colorful minerals, Chile
Sunset at Lauca National Park, Chile
Inside Lauca national Park, Chile
Samaja National Park, Bolivia
Full day excursion to Laguna Miscanti, Chile
Full day excursion to Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve
Star tour at night
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Alto Loa National Reserve, Chile
Cycling in Alto Loa National Reserve
Valle de Acro Iris, San Pedro de Atacama, Chile
Valle de la Luna, San Pedro de Atacama, Chile
Classic desert road
Riding on Uyuni Salt Lake, Bolivia
Cycling next to Chungará Lake, Chile
The road down to the tiny village Putre, Chile
Cycling in Lauca National Park, Chile
Amazing road in the middle of nowhere
Valle de Arco Iris, full of colorful minerals, Chile
Sunset at Lauca National Park, Chile
Inside Lauca national Park, Chile
Samaja National Park, Bolivia
Full day excursion to Laguna Miscanti, Chile
Full day excursion to Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve
Star tour at night
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About 70% of the cycling route will be on paved roads. A small section of these are compacted salt roads that are unique to this region and have a surface comparable to asphalt. The remainder of the tour will be on dry, rough gravel roads. During the November Tour, one complete stage will be cycled on the Uyuni Salt Flat.

For nearly all stages we will offer three length options: 50-60 km /31-37mi, 70-80km/43-50mi, and 90-120km/56-75mi. Every day you may choose the length that suits you best. Stages on the Altiplano above 3.500m/11,500ft might be shortened upon demand due to the high altitude. Cyclists also have the possibility to opt out of cycling stages and instead join the explorer group for the day, permitting enough space in the explorer’s van (please announce at least two days ahead—space is limited).

For cyclists, included in the price is a 3T Exploro Team rental bike. This adventure bike is perfect for riding on asphalt as well as gravel roads.

The bike is equipped with SRAM Force/Eagle eTap (electronic shifting) and hydraulic disc brakes. Gearing will be 44T with a choice of 12 speed 11-50 or 10-33T.

New: For 2020 we offer an E-Bike option for this tour. This can be especially interesting for those who are cycling at higher altitudes for the first time. 

For each bike we will bring two sets of wheels. One 700c wheel-set with 28mm road tires and one 650b wheel-set with 54mm gravel tires.

These wheels and tire options allow us to ride on any road surface and quickly change the bikes from asphalt to a gravel set-up. This is unique and makes all the difference for this kind of bike tour.

For each stage you will receive a route card with a map, an altitude profile, information about road surfaces and the designated support stations along the way. GPS tracks are preprogrammed into the included rental GPS units. We have two support cars for Cyclists on the road and service stations will be set up at predetermined locations. You will have access to snacks, liquid and your daypacks. If needed, you may always join one of the support cars—there is enough space for everyone.

We recommend going into this tour with the expectation that you will experience at least one day with symptoms of Altitude Sickness (AMS). In more severe cases, you might not be able to participate in some activities. The tour is designed so we can gradually adjust to the altitude.

If you are concerned about cycling at altitude, the new E-Bike option might be interesting for you.

The tour begins in San Pedro de Atacama at an altitude of 2.407m/7,900ft, an ideal location to begin the process of acclimatisation. During the first five days we will ascend to higher altitudes for excursions and return for the night. This is a classic and highly recommended process for acclimatisation.

Vehicles will be equipped with AMS medicine and oxygen tanks. In addition, each participant will receive a pocket sized oxygen flask to augment their oxygen intake. Some people will not require any of this, it completely depends on how your body reacts to the altitude.

Presentations:

Every second evening we will have a 45 – 60 minute presentation given by one of our two expert guides on either geology or astronomy. The presentations will give background information on the sites and phenomena we encounter during our tour. No previous knowledge of geology or astronomy is required.

Day Excursions:

On non-cycling days, Cyclists will join the Explorers for their program accompanied by scientists.

On cycling days, when possible Cyclists and Explorers will meet at the highlight site of the day. Cyclists also have the possibility to opt-out of cycling stages and instead join the explorer group for the day, permitting enough space in the explorer’s van.

Star-gazing tours:

When the visibility and weather condition is favorable, our astronomy expert will lead star tours with the story about the Cosmos.

Program for Explorers

Explorers will have an independent and customized program with their own vehicle and guide. We offer diverse options for explorers including visiting geological and archeological sites, natural parks, local craft shops, and other unique sights along the way. Hiking options exploring the flora and fauna of the region are also offered.

As the group of Explorers is small—participation is limited to between 2 and 5 explorers—we will design the program specifically with your personal interests in mind. As an Explorer, you will receive a survey about possible activities before the tour. In addition, we suggest to meet you via video-conference before the tour to further understand your interests and needs.

Bolivia lake
Chile cycling vacations laguna hedionda

Joint Program

Day Excursions: Explorers wil be joined by Cyclists during their rest days. During cycling days, when possible, Explorers will be joined by Cyclists at the highlight site of the day.

Presentations: Every second evening we will have a 45 – 60 minute presentation given by one of our two expert guides on either geology or astronomy. The presentations will give background information on the sites and phenomena we encounter during our tour. No previous knowledge of geology or astronomy is required.

Star-gazing tours: When the visibility and weather condition is favourable, our astronomy expert will lead star tours with the story about the Cosmos.

Incahuasi Island, the island of cactus, in the centre of Uyuni Salt Lake, Bolivia
Geyser Sol de Mañana in Bolivia
Lookup point for Ollagüe Volcano, Bolivia
Andean fabric made by hand
The church at Parinacota, built in the 17th century, at an altitude of 4,400 metres/14,400 ft, Chile
Geyser El Tatio, Chile
Vicuña at a close distance
A group of vicuñas
Thermal Spring in Eduardo Avaroa National Reserve in Bolivia
Local street in the town of San Pedro de Atacama
Lake Chungará formed by lava flows
Lauca National Park
Coastal town at the Pacific
Salt Lake in the south of Bolivia
A volcano inside the national reserve in Bolivia
Sunrise at Laguna Colorada, Bolivia
Cerros Pintatos Geoglyphs next to Pica, Chile
Laguna Cejar where you can float and have fun
Laguna Colorado, Bolivia
Star-gazing at night
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Incahuasi Island, the island of cactus, in the centre of Uyuni Salt Lake, Bolivia
Geyser Sol de Mañana in Bolivia
Lookup point for Ollagüe Volcano, Bolivia
Andean fabric made by hand
The church at Parinacota, built in the 17th century, at an altitude of 4,400 metres/14,400 ft, Chile
Geyser El Tatio, Chile
Vicuña at a close distance
A group of vicuñas
Thermal Spring in Eduardo Avaroa National Reserve in Bolivia
Local street in the town of San Pedro de Atacama
Lake Chungará formed by lava flows
Lauca National Park
Coastal town at the Pacific
Salt Lake in the south of Bolivia
A volcano inside the national reserve in Bolivia
Sunrise at Laguna Colorada, Bolivia
Cerros Pintatos Geoglyphs next to Pica, Chile
Laguna Cejar where you can float and have fun
Laguna Colorado, Bolivia
Star-gazing at night
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Next
Incahuasi Island, the island of cactus, in the centre of Uyuni Salt Lake, Bolivia
Geyser Sol de Mañana in Bolivia
Lookup point for Ollagüe Volcano, Bolivia
Andean fabric made by hand
The church at Parinacota, built in the 17th century, at an altitude of 4,400 metres/14,400 ft, Chile
Geyser El Tatio, Chile
Vicuña at a close distance
A group of vicuñas
Thermal Spring in Eduardo Avaroa National Reserve in Bolivia
Local street in the town of San Pedro de Atacama
Lake Chungará formed by lava flows
Lauca National Park
Coastal town at the Pacific
Salt Lake in the south of Bolivia
A volcano inside the national reserve in Bolivia
Sunrise at Laguna Colorada, Bolivia
Cerros Pintatos Geoglyphs next to Pica, Chile
Laguna Cejar where you can float and have fun
Laguna Colorado, Bolivia
Star-gazing at night
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Gastronomy & Lodging

Gastronomy

A delightful part of our tour will be to experience the richness of the Chilean and Bolivian cuisine. In the coastal regions of the Pacific fish dishes such as ceviche (fresh raw fish cured in lemon/lime juice) are a delicacy. Inland we can experience the Chilean barbecue—Asado.

Of course, Chile is also famous for its excellent wines. We will have plenty of opportunities to taste these. While there is some limited wine production in the area we are visiting, the main wine production is to the south. For those who are especially interested in fish and wine we highly recommend the optional Sea, Mountains and Wine Pre-Tour which is mentioned in the coming section.

Lodging

The Atacama Desert and the Andean Altiplano are not touristic regions—distances are large, so hotels are few and far in-between. Where possible, we will stay in nice places ranging between 3 and 4 stars.

However, in order to visit some of the most spectacular places along the route we will need to sacrifice most luxuries and there are some limitations we would like you to be aware of.

One night in Ollagüe, two nights close to Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve​, we will stay in very simple hotels, one of them run by an indigenous Atacameño family. In some of these hotels the bathrooms might be shared. Some of the remote places we will be staying at offer electricity for only a few hours a day. On at least two occasions, we will need to divide the group into several hotels. In these cases differences in quality between the rooms are unavoidable.

Whenever possible, we compensate these hotels by staying in more luxurious hotels. For example, next to the Uyuni Salt Flats we will stay in a 4-Star luxury Hotel constructed almost entirely of salt.

If you prioritize luxurious accommodations over adventure and spectacular locations, this might not be the right tour for you.

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Tour Routine

Daily briefings

On most evenings we will have a 30 minute briefing with announcements as well as a preview of the route and activities for the following day. Every few days we will show a slide show with the best pictures of recent days.

Secular Meditation

Secular meditation is optional. Everyone is welcome to join us for 20 minutes of morning meditation before breakfast. We practice non-religious meditation focused on mindfulness. We simply sit and follow our breath—a conscious way to start a perfect day.

Price and Payment

Elements of The Universe 2020

March 12-28
Cyclist
€ 9685 (Base Price)
Explorers
€ 8785 (Base Price)
Special offer till October 31, 2019
Limited to the first 5 bookings
10% off
November 5-21
Cyclist
€ 9685 (Base Price)
Explorer
€ 8785 (Base Price)
Special offer till October 31, 2019
Limited to the first 5 bookings
10% off

Single room supplement: € 795 (8 rooms maximum)
E-Bike supplement for cyclists: € 595

Minimum participants: 10
Maximum participants: 17
Explorers: Minumum 2, Maximum 5

Early booking discount applies only to base price, not to any supplement.
Prices in USD: The tour price is payable in Euro. Here are approximations as reference only: € 9685 is about USD 10.700.  € 8785 is about USD 9.705

Tour price already includes taxes and the following items:

For Cyclists:

  • Rental bike 3T Exploro / E-bike
  • Cycling support: Support cars & stations
  • Bike maintanance
  • Bike insurance with a deductible of 400€
  • Entrance fees to sites
  • Tour jersey

For Explorers:

  • Guided excursions
  • Entrance fees to sites
  • Tour polo

For all participants:

  • 16 nights in a twin/double room
  • 16 breakfasts
  • 16 dinners
  • Luggage transfers
  • Bilingual Chilean guides with local knowledge
  • Geologist guide for excursions
  • Astonomer guide for star-gazing tours
  • Ground transportation in Chile & Bolivia
  • Airport transfer in Calama and Iquique

  • Flights
  • Beverages/drinks during dinner
  • Lunch
  • Gratuities to Aliveness Cycling staff, scientists or restaurant/hotel staff
  • Photo package
  • Personal purchases

With the booking a total of 4000€ per person is payable.

The remainder is due 6 months before the arrival date of the tour.

Transaction cost is to be paid by the customer. There is a 2% transaction fee for credit card payments.

The same payment conditions apply for early booking discount.

In compliance with European and Spanish regulations for tour operators, your payment is secured through our insurance. Our tour operator license is GC-1872.

View Terms & Conditions

You may cancel your booking at any time.

We will acknowledge the cancellation within 3 working days and refund your payment within 30 days in accordance with the following table.

 

Amount Due as % of Total Tour Price

Cancellation fee per person

until 14 days after booking

until 180 days before tour begin

20 %

€125

until 120 days before tour begin

50 %

€125

until 90 days before tour begin

65 %

€125

until 30 days before tour begins

75 %

€125

Until 11 days before tour begins

85 %

€125

Less than 11 days before tour begins

95 %

€125

No Show

100 %

€125

View Terms & Conditions

Customise your tour, celebrate life moments with us.

Example: Choose a second date for your family / closed group.

Giving Back​​

We are fortunate. We give back in these ways:​​

CO2 Neutral Tours

Aliveness Cycling compensates all CO2 emissions produced by its planning, transport, food and lodging activities. Currently we are supporting forestation in Bolivia. The projects we have chosen have received the Gold Standard certification for best practices as set forth by the WWF and the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism.

1% for MS Support

Aliveness Cycling contributes 1% of revenue to support people with Multiple Sclerosis. We support modifying their living environment to the needs of their disability. Support is always given to local communities in the destination country of the tour. You can find out more about our personal connection wit MS, on the About Us.

Sea, Mountains & Wine Pre-Tour

Pre-Tour: Sea, Mountains & Wine

Optional four day pre-tour added upon Elements of the Universe: Experience the capital Santiago de Chile and explore the Maipo wine region between the Pacific and the Andes.​

Pre-Tour Facts

Fully supported program for both Cyclists and Explorers (non-cycling travel companions)

Duration

4 Days / 4 Nights

Daily Distance

Choice of 60 -120km / 37 – 75mi

Rental Bike

3T Exploro included

Price

Starting at € 1585

Stages

3

Road Surface

Asphalt

Rental E-Bike

Adventure E-Bike optional

Participants

Minimum 10 / Maximum 17

Arrival date

March 8, 2020 / November 1, 2020

Departure date

March 12, 2020 / November 5, 2020

Included Flight

March 12, 2020 / November 5, 2020: From Santiago de Chile to Calama

Tour Itinerary

Arrival: Santiago de Chile, One night in the capital

March 8, 2020 / November 1, 2020

The Pre-Tour will begin in Santiago, the capital of Chile. Arrival day is Sunday, March 8/November 1—most intercontinental flights arrive in the morning. We will pick you up at the airport and bring you to our hotel in the center of the city. From here you can explore most sights by foot. We highly recommend a visit to the Chilean Museum of Pre-Columbian Art. In the evening we will have a welcome dinner in one of the many excellent restaurants in the city. We will depart for Maipo Valley by bus around noon the next day, so you still have the morning for some city exploring.

Santiago de Chile

Maipo Valley: 3 days in the wine region between the Pacific and the Andes

From Santiago we will be going to a small hotel in the Maipo Valley only about 20 km inland from the Pacific Ocean. Here we will be staying for two days to explore this world-famous wine region and the coast. Highlights will be cycling through the rolling hills of the Maipo Valley, visiting harbor towns and vineyards for extensive wine tastings.

maipo valley winery

Transfer: From Santiago de Chile to San Pedro de Atacama via Calama Airport

March 12, 2020 / November 5, 2020

Today we transfer from the Maipo region to the Atacama Desert, about 1200km to the north. After a relaxing morning at the hotel, we head toward the Santiago Airport and take a flight to Calama which take s about 2 hours. From Calama to San Pedro de Atacama it is another hour by car before we arrive at our hotel. The Elements of the Universe tour starts here. This transfer including the flight is included in the price of the Pre-Tour.

San Pedro de atacama

Program for Cyclists

In the Maipo Valley region we will cycle three distinct stages:

  • An opening ride to get accustomed to the bikes
  • A longer tour through the rolling hills of the Maipo region
  • A prolonged climb into the Andes
maipo valley Chile cycling vacations

Program for Explorers

The Pre-Tour offers the possibility for Explorers to get to know the country in a wider cultural context before delving into the Atacama and Altiplano regions. Highlights reserved for Explorers are a visit to old artists quarters of Valparaíso, a UNESCO world heritage, and to the house of Pablo Neruda, the Nobel Prize winning poet and political activist. Visit to fish market, wineries and light hiking in the national reserve will complement this special program.

Valparaiso

Gastronomy & Wine

During the Pre-Tour we will have excellent opportunities to discover the rich cuisine of Chile. Starting with our welcome dinner in Santiago de Chile, moving on to the fish market of San Antonio, and traditional barbecue dinner — the Chilean Asado — in the foothills of the Andes.

In addition we will visit two vineries. The small, modern and family run Casa Marin close to the costal region and the larger El Principal in the main Maipo Region.

casa marin winery
el principal winery

Lodging

We will be staying in far less remote locations. Mostly we will be staying in nice places ranging between 3-5 stars.

In Santiago de Chile we will be staying in a 5 star hotel in the very center of the city — an ideal location to discover the capital by foot.

In the Maipo Valley we will stay in a vacation resort close to the Maipo River surrounded by Eucalyptus trees.

Price and Payment

Sea, Mountains & Wine Pre-Tour 2020

March 8-12
Cyclist
€ 1585
Explorer
€ 1385
November 1-5​
Cyclist
€ 1585
Explorer
€ 1385

The Pre-Tour may only be booked in conjunction with the Elements of the Universe Tour.

Single room supplement: € 225 (8 rooms maximum)

E-Bike supplement: € 195

Minimum participants: 10
Maximum participants: 17
Explorers: Minumum 2, Maximum 5

Early booking discount does not apply for the Pre-Tour

Prices in USD: The tour price is payable in Euro. Here are approximations as reference only: € 1585 is about USD 1.740.  € 1385 is about USD 1.525.

Pre-tour price already includes taxes and the following items:

For Cyclists:

  • Rental bike 3T Exploro / E-bike
  • Cycling support: Support stations, Access to day packs
  • Bike maintanance
  • Bike insurance with a deductible of 400€
  • E`ntrance fees to sites
  • Tour jersey

For Explorers:

  • Guided excursions
  • Entrance fees to sites
  • Tour polo

For All Participants:

  • 4 nights in a twin/double room
  • 4 Breakfast
  • 4 Dinners
  • Luggage transfers
  • Bilingual Chilean guides with local knowledge
  • Ground transportation in Chile
  • Domestic flight from Santiago de Chile to Calama

  • International Flights
  • Beverages/drinks during dinner
  • Lunch
  • Gratuities to Aliveness Cycling staff, scientists or restaurant/hotel staff
  • Photo package
  • Personal purchases
Payment: With the booking a total of 1500€ per person is payable. The remainder is due 6 months before the arrival date of the tour. In compliance with European and Spanish regulations for tour operators, your payment is secured through our insurance. Our tour operator license is GC-1872.

View Terms & Conditions

Cancellation Policy You may cancel your booking at any time. We will acknowledge the cancellation within 3 working days and refund your payment within 30 days in accordance with the following table.

Amount Due as % of Total Tour Price

Cancellation fee per person

until 14 days after booking

until 180 days before tour begin

20 %

€125

until 120 days before tour begin

50 %

€125

until 90 days before tour begin

65 %

€125

until 30 days before tour begins

75 %

€125

Until 11 days before tour begins

85 %

€125

Less than 11 days before tour begins

95 %

€125

No Show

100 %

€125

View Terms & Conditions

Have more questions?

Our Connection to Chile

Fangye and Dirk

Fangye & Dirk

The Adventurers behind Aliveness Cycling

Fangye is Chinese and, as a master student of tourism, one of her visions was to market South America as an attractive destination for travellers.
Dirk is Canadian, Chilean, and German, founder of Canigou Cycling/Aliveness Cycling and Associate Professor at the University of Girona. His mother is from Chile and much of our family lives in Santiago de Chile. Dirk has visited the country extensively and for more than a decade it has been his vision to offer cycling tours to Chile.

Fun fact: the Atacama Desert is where Dirk’s parents went for their honeymoon.

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