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Chile: Explore the Driest Desert on Earth

4,395

*Prices are based on a 1 or 2 passengers scenario ( private experience )
*Prices are not valid during Blackout dates: Christmas, New Year, Carnaval (4 & 5 March), Copa America, Rock in Rio, Easter, Worker ́s day (1st of May), Holidays, Long Weekends.

4 days admiring the Wonders of Atacama

Visiting 1 country: Chile

 

Mesmerizing salt flats that stretch beyond the horizon, bizarre rock formations, thermal pools, lagoons and volcanoes, dramatic scenery and poetic sunsets…. The Atacama Desert is a plateau in South America covering a 1,000-kilometers strip of land on the Pacific coast, west of the Andes mountains. It is commonly known as the driest non-polar place in the world. The Atacama Desert may be the oldest desert on earth that has experienced extreme hyper-aridity for at least 3 million years. Just imagine the extraordinary nature and the complex history that such a land can offer!

BEFORE YOU BOOK

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Description

Day 1: Calama – San Pedro de Atacama

It begins! Get ready for a spectacular evening exploring the Death Valley and watching the sun set in the Moon Valley! Along the way from San Pedro towards Calama, you will stop to take some great pictures of the Andean Mountain range, the huge Atacama salt lake, the active Lascar Volcano and the impressive Licancabur Volcano.

Your first destination will be the Death Valley home to bizarre rock agglomerations. There you will have time to discover this barren land formed by erosion over thousands of years. Afterwards, you will continue towards the Moon Valley, a silent moonscape with strange formations that nature has carved of salt and clay. You’ll also visit the “Tres Marías” rock formation and salt caverns before watching the sun fade away into the night. Before sunset, you can also opt for a short hike to one of the giant sand dunes in the valley.

Overnight in San Pedro de Atacama at Hotel La Casa de Don Tomas.

Day 2: San Pedro de Atacama

Rise and shine! We’re leaving San Pedro de Atacama behind to explore the largest salt flat in Chile. It is formed by a series of salt basins, including the Chaxa Lagoon, that stretches beyond the horizon. It is home to various species of flamingos as well as some of the most spectacular and dramatic landscapes on earth. Afterwards, you will drive to an altitude of 4,200 m.a.s.l to be rewarded with spectacular views of the incredibly scenic blue twin lagoons Miñiques and Miscanti, edged by a white crust of salt and surrounded by imposing volcanoes.

Having enjoyed the majestic scenery, you will continue on to the Tujactu Lagoon in the area of Piedras Rojas. There, at a high altitude, you will witness unique beauty despite the harsh climate conditions. After many pictures and special moments, you will return back to town.

Overnight in San Pedro de Atacama at Hotel La Casa de Don Tomas.

Day 3: San Pedro de Atacama

After a hearty breakfast, you will leave San Pedro de Atacama and travel west to an area known as Yerbas Buenas. This location is of great historical and archaeological importance due to its various petroglyphs. Additionally it is believed that  a lake once existed there and was used as a crossing point for old indigenous caravans and camelids.

After your exploration, you will then head to the Arcoiris Valley (Rainbow Valley) famous for its colorful mountains made of diverse minerals showcasing stunning contrasting hues. Here you will take some time to enjoy your surroundings and take various pictures to remember this unique place of beauty.

You will then make your way to the town of Rio Grande, known for its traditional architecture of clay, straw and stone. To this day its inhabitants still dedicate themselves to ancestral ways of life including agriculture and farming as a main source of income.

Overnight in San Pedro de Atacama at Hotel La Casa de Don Tomas.

Day 4: San Pedro de Atacama

Be ready for pick up from your the hotel at around 5:00 AM. Yes, 5:00AM. Because today you’ll visit the famous El Tatio Geysers, a geothermal field flanked by soaring peaks. After two hours of traveling, you will arrive at El Tatio, situated at 4.320m above sea level on the Altiplano.

Here you will observe powerful spurts of steam shoot out from various blowholes. There are about 40 geysers, thermal wells and fumaroles. The steam hurling up from the geysers in the early morning light and the spectacular scenery are an unforgettable experience. You will also enjoy a nice breakfast next to the geysers, before taking a walk around the geothermal field close to this natural wonder.

After seeing this spectacular scenery, you will drive on to visit the Puritama hot springs; where you can surely enjoy a relaxing soak in the natural thermal pools before we return. You will be back at the hotel at around 13:00 hrs.

At the end of the tour, you’ll get on a private transfer to Calama Airport to take your departure flight… with memories of a lifetime!

*Due to high altitude and early departure the recommendation is to have a light dinner the night before and no alcohol. The lowest temperature could go down to -15ºC/5ºF so bring warm clothing, sun cream, sun glasses, swim suit, and towel. This excursion is not recommended for pregnant women and children younger than 6 years.

Additional information

Country

Chile

Duration

Less than 1 week

Travel Style

INTO THE WILD: ACTIVE/NATURE

Inclusions

What’s included

  • All services, transfers and excursions detailed in the programme, in regular / private services as it is specified
  • 3 nights’ accommodation as its described in the programme in the mentioned hotels or in similar, according to availability at the moment of the booking request
  • Entrance fees
  • Taxes

What’s not included

  • International or domestic flights
  • Meals and services not mentioned in the programme
  • Early check in/Late check-out at hotels
  • Optional tours
  • Any kind of insurance
  • Travel Assistance

Accommodation

3 nights at Hotel La Casa de Don Tomas

We endeavour to select a combination of good quality, three and four-star quality hotels, hostels and guesthouses (where you actually stay will depend on your trip) that reflects the character of the local area. The accommodation is also as centrally located as possible. We strive to keep the cost as affordable as possible.

Please be aware that some rooms, especially those in major urban centers or older cities, may be smaller than what you are used to in other parts of the world. Standards and ratings may also be different to your home country.

Meals

  • 3 breakfasts and 1 lunch

We aim to make sure that breakfasts are included every morning in the accommodation (except on the first morning). They are usually ‘continental breakfasts’, which are typical in most countries. A typical breakfast may consist of cereals with milk or yoghurt, bread, croissants, cold meats, cheese and a range of spreads, with fruit juice, tea or coffee to drink.

Included evening meals are in local restaurants or in the included accommodation. In most cases, table water is provided with the meals and if you wish to purchase additional drinks, you can do so at your own expense.

If you have any dietary requirements, we will make every effort to cater to your specific needs as long as you advise us when you book. Please be aware that although we will do everything in our power, we cannot guarantee that every restaurant we eat in will be able to cater to all of your dietary needs. Also, we cannot cater for tastes or dislikes, as most of our included evening meals feature a set menu.

Additional Info

  • Black Out dates: Christmas, New Year, Carnaval (4 & 5 March), Easter, Worker´s day (1st of May), Holidays, Long Weekends.
  • Hotels are categorized according to Bolivian standards that may not be the same as the international ones.
  • Try to avoid Rain Season: November to April