ATACAMA DESERT CAMPING

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Region CHILE, SOUTH AMERICA
Category ADVENTURE TREK & HIKE
Activities HIKING, CLIMBING
Comfort MODERATE / COMFORTABLE
Activity Level 2.5/5
Best Time YEAR ROUND
Duration 6 NIGHTS
Type GROUP / INDIVIDUAL
Visa REQUIRED
Travel Insurance REQUIRED
Health Certificate N.A
Cost ON REQUEST

HIGHLIGHTS

EXPLORE THE WORLD’S DRIEST DESERT

PURITAMA HOT SPRINGS

MISCANTI AND MINIQUES LAGOONS

VISIT LOCAL INDIGENOUS VILLAGES

ENJOY STARRY SKIES

PRE-COLUMBIAN RUINS AND GEOGLYPHS

ATACAMA SALT FLAT

SUPERB OFF THE BEATEN PATH TREKKING

Arrival in San Pedro de Atacama, Chile.

We arrive at Calama Airport and go straight to San Pedro de Atacama, driving past the impressive rock formations of the Cordillera de la Sal (Salt Mountains). Once in San Pedro, we receive a briefing over lunch about the upcoming days and in the afternoon we do our first hike in the vast amazing Valle de la Luna. We walk over sand dunes until we reach the viewpoint from where we will witness one of the world's most beautiful sunsets, intensified by the warm colors throughout the Valley. We come back to town and stay overnight in San Pedro.

Overnight Hotel Poblado Kimal 3*, San Pedro de Atacama

Atacama Desert, Chile

After breakfast we drive to the Fortress of Quitor and set off on a walk to the mouth of the San Pedro River, exploring its small canyons along the way. The path crosses the river at various points and there are strange geological formations. We camp under the starry Atacama sky.

Overnight Camping

Atacama Desert, Chile

We start the day with a demanding trek, climbing up to a higher altitude as we leave the river bed and move towards the plateau. We have a great view of the abandoned mines, home to many legends.The trail continues through the river canyon and giant cacti emerge, in the midst of the arid barren desert. There are some areas of the valley that are so dry that scientists have not found life or even bacteria. After crossing a section of the canyon we finally arrive at Río Grande Village, one of the few remaining indigenous communities of the Atacameño people, where we set up camp on the river banks.

Overnight Camping Rio Grande

Atacama Desert, Chile

Today is the most physically challenging day of the trek, as we walk towards Machuca Village. The trail continues alongside small streams in narrow, beautiful valleys inhabited by indigenous locals and their llama herds. We continue climbing up steep desert canyons, gaining altitude, until we reach the wetlands of Machuca, full of local wildlife. From here we have an amazing view of Licancabur Volcano, the sacred mountain of the Atacameño people. At this point, we are at 4,000 m (13,000 ft) above sea level, and we spend the evening relaxing and acclimatizing in our campsite next to a big 'bofedal' - wetlands where llamas graze.

Overnight Camping Rio Grande

Overnight Camping Rio Grande

After a hearty breakfast, we leave Machuca to the Tatio Geysers, arriving just after the vast sunrise crowds have dispersed and the Geysers can be appreciated in sunlight at a more relaxed pace and pleasant temperature (4,500 m.a.b.l before sunrise is a very chilly experience!). The geothermic field is truly incredible, from almost 900 meters below the earth, boiling steam bursts up to 40 meters over the surface of the earth. From the geysers we begin our walk, lasting approximately 3 hours, towards a high Andean plateau with the same name as the trail - Copa Coya. The puna played an important historical role centered around the llareta plant which was used traditionally for combustion, although nowadays its slow growth means it’s not a feasible fuel option. While we walk we see Andean vegetation and maybe viscachas (similar to chinchillas) and stop to enjoy lunch with a view. At the end of the walk, there’s a steep uphill climb leading to a wonderful view of the Alto Loa villages, showing a different view of Atacama than normally experienced. After we descend from the Copa Coya we can enjoy the Tatio Thermal Pool for a restoring bath. We end the day back at our hotel.

Overnight Hotel Poblado Kimal 3*, San Pedro de Atacama.

Atacama, Chile

We get up feeling refreshed and with the satisfaction of having crossed the heart of Atacama with the same explorer spirit of its first inhabitants. Today we drive to the amazing Salar de Atacama, home to astonishing birds like the Chilean Pink Flamingos. Then we continue driving towards the marvelous Miscanti and Miñiques Lagoons, full of turquoise waters that beautifully contrast with the autumnal colors of the Altiplanic lands. A truly incredible landscape! We spend our final night in San Pedro.

Overnight Hotel Poblado Kimal 3*, San Pedro de Atacama.

San Pedro de Atacama, Chile

We take the final day of the trip to relax and wander around the village, visiting its handicraft shops, church, and museum.In the afternoon we go to Calama’s Airport to take our flight back to Santiago... Adios Atacama!

Overnight Hotel Poblado Kimal 3*, San Pedro de Atacama.