Atacama Desert Tour
Norte Grande, Chile
Norte Grande, Chile
The Atacama Desert is a Chilean plateau, bounded by the Pacific Ocean and the Andes mountains. It is known for being the most persistently dry corner of the planet composed of dry valleys, rocky peaks and active volcanoes. San Pedro de Atacama, the gateway town has picturesque adobe streets with a 16th-century church. A short drive away are the country's largest salt flats and steaming geysers overlooked by 5,919m-high Licancabur peak.
Trekking in Atacama Desert region will take us off the beaten path, into areas not accessible by vehicle and trodden only by local natives and their lama or goat herds. We will encounter small village's archaeological remains, Andean wildlife along with the most spectacular desert & mountain landscapes, always crowned by high dormant volcanoes. This program is an excellent complement to any of the Patagonia treks in order to witness Chile's dramatic contrasts.
TRAVEL UNTAMED ON THIS 7-DAY ATACAMA DESERT TOUR...
And, experience salt flats, active geysers and blue lagoons.
Flights from the UK and Ireland: There are currently no direct flights from major UK airports. Most flights are via a European, Latin American or US city; LAN, Iberia, British Airways and Air France are all options. It’s worth paying attention to the routes used by the different airlines; even the shortest and most convenient ones via Madrid or Buenos Aires entail a total travelling time of over 16 hours. Flying via the US is longer still (though sometimes cheaper).
Flights from the US and Canada: US travellers shouldn’t find it too hard to get a fairly convenient flight to Santiago. American Airlines, Delta and LAN offer non-stop flights from airports such as Miami, Dallas-Fort Worth and Atlanta. It is also possible to travel via other Latin American countries such as Peru and Brazil.
Chile Atacama Trek
Valle de Marte, Salar de Atacama
(7 Days – Travel Any Day)
Day 01 – Arrive
Calama Arrive to Calama and drive to San Pedro de Atacama (98km) with views of amazing rock formations at Cordillera de la Sal. Briefing lunch. Evening 3-4hrs walk into the silent Moon Valley, hike the dunes and admire sunset.
Overnight: Hotel of your choice (L)
Day 02 – Hike, Corniza Trail
Valle de Marte Enter Valle de Marte and start walking the Corniza trail (3hrs) over the Ridge of Sandstone Mountains. Descend to San Pedro Valley and walk (1hr) to the remarkable fortress of Quitor (XII century). Walk (3km) to San Pedro. Evening visit to the Archaeological Museum
Overnight: Hotel Meals: B, L
Day 03 – Hiking Tour
Salar de Atacama Enter the sparkling white Salar de Atacama and observe the flamingos at Chaxa lagoon. Return to San Pedro (50 Km) and continue (6-8km) along the river valley until trek starting point. The trail follows a broad valley until winding into a superb canyon sculpted by erosion.
In summer (Nov-Mar) we trek with sandals over the riverbed shaded by the immense walls that close above us. In wintertime, we avoid the freezing water and walk above the gorge. Arrive in the old mine of San Bartolo (2,700m/8,100ft) and set up camp.
Overnight: Camping Meals: B, L, D
Day 04 – Hiking Tour
Salar de Atacama Start gaining altitude as we leave the riverbed and hike at plateau level. The trail follows the river canyon and some rare life forms, such as giant cactuses, emerge from the arid and barren desert. Arrive in the village of Rio Grande (3,500m/ 10,500ft) where we set up camp by the river
Overnight: Camping Meals: B, L, D
Day 05 – Hiking Tour
Salar de Atacama The trail follows the course of smaller waterways that form narrow and beautiful valleys inhabited by indigenous people and their lamas. We keep gaining altitude until reaching the green pastures of Machuca (4,100m/ 12,300ft) teeming with wildlife and a spectacular view of Licancabur
Overnight: Camping Meals: B, L, D
Day 06 – Hiking Tour
Salar de Atacama At 5am we start driving towards El Tatio (4,500m/13,500ft) on time to observe the geysers in action at sunrise. Breakfast in the open and walk around the geothermal field. If feeling acclimatized enough we attempt to hike over the 5,000m/ 15,000 ft on the slopes of an inactive volcano. Drive back to Puritama hot springs for a healthy bath. Farewell dinner and overnight in San Pedro
Overnight: hotel Meals: B, L, D
Day 07 – Depart
Salar de Atacama Drive back to Calama on time for your flight.
The true price is customised based on final choice of hotels, travel dates, and other custom preferences. All prices exclude international flights.
Price Includes: hotels, airport transfers and transportation within the country, unique experiences guided by local experts and 24X7 support during your trip.
Make this your holiday
Overview Shaped like a long and narrow strip, along the western edge of South America, Chile is a country of startling contrasts and extreme beauty. Travellers are drawn to this country because of its magnitude in natural attractions, from the towering volcanic peaks of the Andes to the ancient forests of the Lake District. It has some very good parks, and plenty of opportunities for fine adventure travel. Chile is justly famous as the location of Torres del Paine, considered by many to be the finest nature travel destinations in all of South America.
Where to go Chile is a long, narrow sliver of land, clinging to the edge of a continent. The Andes, the great mountain range forms its eastern border, are a formidable barrier of rock and ice that cuts the country off from Argentina and Bolivia. To the north, the Atacama Desert, a 1000km stretch of parched wasteland, separates it from Peru. And to the west, only a few islands dotted in the Pacific Ocean break the waves that roll onto Chile’s coast from Australasia.
You will probably start in Santiago, the Chilean capital, a city of nearly six million inhabitants, yet it has an almost provincial atmosphere, dramatised by the constant backdrop of jagged Andean peaks looming over the smog on the horizon. Its main highlights for visitors are its Cathedral and the leafy hillside parks of Cerro Santa Lucía and Cerro San Cristobal.
Most travellers who prefer a wine tour, head to the picturesque country town of Pirque, which is the home of one of Chile's most well-known vineyards. The owners' original country estate and mansion can be seen from the road, surrounded by the smaller cottages of the vineyards' workers.
In the middle is the Lake District is Chile's natural wonderland. Implausibly symmetrical snow-capped peaks reflected in looking-glass lakes, quaint wooden hamlets steeped in healthy alpine air. One of the most breathtaking journeys in all South America, from Puerto Montt to San Carlos de Bariloche in Argentina, traverses lakes Llanquihue and Todos los Santos.
Lying at the far south of the Andes mountain chain, Torres del Paine is Chile's most impressive national park, bursting with glaciers, lakes and gnarled Magellanic trees, and providing some of the most magnificent walking trails in the world.
At the land southernmost tip of South America is Tierra del Fuego, the bleakest, stormiest part of the continent, yet it exerts a constant fascination for travellers who want to visit the last land-call before Antarctica.
Not to forget the Easter Island, Chile's Polynesian possession, nearly 4,000 km west of the mainland, is one of the world's most intriguing islands, dominated by more than 600 giant stone statues of unknown origin. The first inhabitants of Easter Island called their home Te Pito o Te Henua - the Navel of the World.
When to go Nov–Feb (High Season): This is best and most expensive time to visit Patagonia. Early in the year as temperature begins to warm up the beaches throng with crowds.
Mar–May & Sep–Nov (Shoulder): March is the period for grape harvest and wine festivals and April is fall. Between September and November is possibly the best time to visit Santiago, the temperatures are pleasant and good value for money.
Jun–Aug (Low): A good time to visit the North but the mountain passes may be blocked due snow. The best time for ski resorts.
Between mid-December to end February and two-middle weeks of July and Holy Week (Semana Santa), the week proceeding Easter Sunday is holiday time for Brazilians and Argentines. Popular destinations are Pucón and Viña del Mar.
Visas If you are a British passport holder visiting Chile for less than 90 days, you do not need a visa. On arrival in Chile the immigration authorities will issue you with a ‘Tarjeta de Turismo - Tourist Card’, an A5 sized white form. You must retain this document and present it to immigration when you leave.
Passport validity: Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay. No additional period of validity beyond this is required.
For further information check with the Chilean Embassy.
Visa information source: www.gov.uk