Off the beaten path Atacama Desert overland

14 DAYS / 13 NIGHTS

ABOUT TRIP

An overland active expedition visiting most of the National Parks of Atacama Desert and it’s real inhabitants. A collection of great experience, away from crowds and only for small groups.

DAY 1

ARICA – AZAPA VALLEY – CHINCHORRO  MUMMIES – LLUTA VALLEY – PUTRE

Departing from the northernmost city of Chile, we’ll cross the Azapa valley, nationally famous for its production of high quality olives and olive oil. Surrounded by absolute desert, Azapa and the nearby Lluta valley, are full with desert-green strong contrasts. We’ll take a moment to visit the San Andrés de Azapa museum, home of the Chichorro mummies, we guarantee you’ll be surprise of how old they are! Our journey gains altitude on every kilometer and we’ll end the day at the pre-Hispanic town of Putre, on the feet of the Tarapaca Volcano.

  • Included meals: Box Lunch.(There are a couple of restaurants in town)
  • Lodging: Chakana lodge or similar if not available; double room with private bathroom.

DAY 2

PUTRE ALTITUDE ADAPTATION DAY

Putre is located at 3400 meters above sea level, which makes it perfect for altitude adaptation to avoid discomfort in the following days. We’ll take it easy today with a couple of short but interesting hikes and enough time to rest. Putre got into the tourism public awareness when many years ago (1986), NASA said that it was one of the best places to observe the Halley comet in the world! while we wait for the next Halley appearance (2061), you can enjoy the great starry nights around here.

  • Included meals:  Breakfast. (There are a couple of restaurants in town).
  • Lodging: Chakana lodge or similar if not available; double room with private bathroom.

DAY 3

PUTRE – LAUCA NATIONAL PARK – LAS VICUÑAS NATIONAL RESERVE – GUALLATIRE

This morning we leave town heading to the great Lauca National Park; to visit Chungará lake (one of the highest lakes in the world), Parinacota and Pomerape volcanoes and the Cotacotani lakes, where we’ll leave the vehicle and go for a nice hike on the feet of gigantic (+6000m) volcanoes. Back in the car, we’ll hit the road again heading south and crossing the Las Vicuñas National Reserve till we reach the little Aymara village of Guallatire, located -again- on the feet of another giant volcano. We’ll spend the night here.

  • Included meals:  Breakfast, box lunch, dinner.
  • Lodging: Guallatire rural hostal; double room with shared bathroom only among travelers.

DAY 4

GUALLATIRE – SURIRE SALT FLAT – POLLOQUERE HOT SPRINGS – ISLUGA NATIONAL PARK – CARIQUIMA

A good breakfast and let’s keep exploring this land! next stop: the beautiful Surire salt flat with its many wild Vicugnas and flamingos. On the southwestern shore of this salt flat there is a set of 100% natural hot springs, named “Polloquere”, you are welcome to take a bath; it’s free and usually without any people! We’ll keep on driving through the altiplano, now crossing the Isluga National Park, with lots of Llamas, Alpacas, Guayatas and if we are lucky, some Suris (south american Ostridge). Our long journey of today ends at the Aymara town of Cariquima… dinner is served, good night.

  • Included meals:  Breakfast, picnic lunch, dinner.
  • Lodging: Cariquima rural hostal; double room with private bathroom.

DAY 5

CARIQUIMA – ANCOVINTO CACTUS FOREST – HUAYTANE – CHULLUNCANE

We’ll leave this small town in the morning and go very close from the international border to visit the Chilean part of the Coipasa saltflat (north neighbor of Uyuni salt flat in Bolivia) and go hike around a small forest of giant cacti (Echinopsis atacamensis) with most of them being over 6 meters high!. Lunch time is close and “doña Eulogia” and her husband are waiting for us at the little village of Huaytane; we’ll share and eat traditional Andean food, mainly consistent of quinoa, llama or alpaca meat, potatoes, faba beans  and cactus fruit or seed juices. After lunch, we say goodbye to our new friends and drive crossing beautiful lands, streams and a small lake with lots of native birds, some of them migratory. Our final stop of today is the remote village of Chulluncane, where “don Eugenio and his wife doña Gertrudis are waiting for us. We’ll share stories, listen to local Andean legends and taste their food, we are to live the life of an Andean llama shepherd for a couple of days.

  • Included meals:  Breakfast, typical lunch, typical dinner.
  • Lodging: Challapa family’s adobe cabin at Chulluncane; double room with outdoor bathroom shared only among travelers.

DAY 6

BECOMING A LLAMAS SHEPHERD WITH THE AYMARA

This morning we have work to do… we’ll follow Eugenio and help him release the llama and alpaca herd (depending on the season, from 40 to +100 of them!) and we’ll direct them to the grazing area, the “bofedal”. On our way hiking with Eugenio (73) and his herd, we’ll learn from him about the way of life of the Aymaras, the way their ancestors got here, we’ll visit the ruins of the first settlements; from small caves to elaborated houses. We’ll learn about the traditions, celebrations and future of this interesting ethnic group. Our lunch is served and we are hungry! after it, we can go and hike a bit around the Villablanca lake to witness it under the beautiful sunset light. Sleep tight.

  • Included meals:  Breakfast, typical lunch, typical dinner.
  • Lodging: Challapa family’s adobe cabin at Chulluncane; double room with outdoor bathroom shared only among travelers.

DAY 7

CHULLUNCANE – PICAVILQUE HIGH PASS – LIRIMA HOT SPRING – HUASCO SALT FLAT – SAND DUNES FIELD – PICA – LA HUAYCA

A good breakfast with the Challapa Family and off we go! this morning we’ll drive up to the +5000m high Picavilque pass and get awesome views from above this vast underpopulated and beautiful territory. Next on your way is the Lirima hot springs, where you are welcome to enjoy a hot bath while you watch the surrounding mountains, we’ll have lunch here as well. Our drive continues south crossing a perfect high road with almost no traffic. We’ll reach the gorgeous Huasco salt flat where hundreds of flamingos breed, feed and nest. We start losing some altitude as we drive down to the Altos de Pica sand dune field; gorgeous dunes falling from the foothills to the absolute desert. You’ll experience -now in the reverse order- the transition from the altiplano landscape to the desert, only this time we’ll meet the Pica and Matilla Oasis, where lots of citrics, mangos, passion fruit and guavas grow!. We end this day at a very special place; El Huarango, a desert eco lodge runned by its owners and builders, a designer and a geologist. Dinner its served, outdoors, under the Tamarugo tree as it has to be in the desert.

  • Included meals:  Breakfast, lunch, sun-cooked dinner.
  • Lodging: El Huarango eco lodge; salt crust made double rooms with private bathroom.

DAY 8

LA HUAYCA – PAMPA DEL TAMARUGAL – CERRO PINTADOS – CHIU CHIU

This morning you’ll be able to appreciate much better the great place where you are, we’ll have a nice breakfast and share a moment with our local hosts; Coca and Marco. Off we go again! this time we’ll have to drive across the desert on a long drive to Chiu Chiu, but before, we’ll visit the Cerro Pintados geoglyphs; the largest group of geoglyphs in South America.

  • Included meals:  Breakfast, lunch, dinner.
  • Lodging: Chiu Chiu rural hostel. Double room with private bathroom.

DAY 9

CHIU CHIU – SALAR DE ASCONTÁN – SALAR DE CARCOTE –  SAN PEDRO DE ATACAMA

From the town of town of Chiu Chiu, we head north to meet the Carcote and the Ascotán salt flats, both surrounded by interesting geology and with great sights to the Ollagüe volcano. Another day of beautiful lanscape. Heading back south and taking the international road east, we’ll get to the famous and popular town of San Pedro de Atacama, place to spend the following nights.

  • Included meals:  Breakfast, lunch. (There are many restaurants in town)
  • Lodging: Quiet Atacameño style adobe cabin or lodge if not available. Double room with private bathroom. 

DAY 10

SAN PEDRO DE ATACAMA – CHAXA SALT LAKE – ATACAMA SALT FLAT – VALLE DE LA LUNA

Let’s start with the highlights of San Pedro de Atacama surroundings; this morning you’ll meet the Atacama salt flat and no better place to do it than from the Chaxa salt lake, located close to the middle of it. Many flamingos feed here and is a great place to see and photograph them from a short distance while witnessing the large extention of the salt flat and the mountains ranges located on both sides.

We’ll be back to San Pedro de Atacama in time to have lunch and rest for a bit. During the afternoon, we’ll visit the famous Valle de la Luna, not just to get the sunset view but to go through the salt cavern and hike above it as well as visiting all the allow-to-visit corners of this valley.

  • Included meals:  Breakfast.
  • Lodging: Chiu Chiu rural hostel. Double room with private bathroom.

DAY 11

SAN PEDRO DE ATACAMA – TATIO GEYSER FIELD – CATARPE VALLEY – QUITOR

Today is time to get back to the hights, at least for some hours, as we drive up to 4300m to visit the largest geyser field of South America; el Tatio. To be able to meet this place at its best moment, we’ll have to wake up very early and enjoy the sunrise there; the very cold air condensates the many columns of steam creating a great and bizarre landscape. Back in town in time for lunch and a well deserved short nap. During late afternoon, we’ll take some mountain bikes to ride not far from town to the Pukara (fortress) of Quitor and the Catarpe valley, all in a nice, flat bicycle ride.

  • Included meals:  Breakfast.
  • Lodging: Quiet Atacameño style adobe cabin or lodge if not available. Double room with private bathroom.

DAY 12

SAN PEDRO DE ATACAMA – QUEBRADA DE JERE – AGUAS CALIENTES SALT FLAT – TUYAJTO SALT LAKE

Toconao Atacameño town is located about 1 hour away from San Pedro de Atacama and the Quebrada de Jere is at walking distance from it; another peculiar place to visit formed by water erosion in the driest place on earth. We continue driving south, crossing the landmark of the Tropic of Capricorn until reaching the gorgeous Aguas calientes salt flat, great place for a nice short hike around. Tuyajto salt lake is located not far from here and we’ll be able to experience this magnificent landscape as well. We’ll get back in town when by night.

  • Included meals:  Breakfast, lunch.
  • Lodging: Quiet Atacameño style adobe cabin or lodge if not available. Double room with private bathroom.

DAY 13

SAN PEDRO DE ATACAMA –LAGUNAS ESCONDIDAS –  ASTRONOMY TOUR

Kept in secret for many years, it was not more than two years ago that the “lagunas escondidas” where first mentioned among tourists. Today, we are going to visit them; 7 small ponds of water, from brackish to very salty, this cristal clear water ponds are a curious spectacle by its own. You are welcomed to take a swim here and float effortless on the salty water. We’ll take our lunch with us to be able to spend more time in this great place. Once back in town, get the salt away from your body and get ready for the best astronomy tour of Atacama; out of the lights of town and directed by a real astronomer, you’ll be able to learn, get all your questions answer and see through the non-professional more potent telescopes in the continent. Good night!

  • Included meals:  Breakfast.
  • Lodging: Quiet Atacameño style adobe cabin or lodge if not available. Double room with private bathroom.

DAY 14

SAN PEDRO DE ATACAMA – CALAMA AIRPORT

Our last morning in the Atacama Desert. At proper time we’ll drive you to take your flight at the Calama airport.

  • Included meals:  Breakfast.
  • Lodging: not included.

End of services

PRICES

There is no minimum of passengers for this excursion. There is a maximum of 5 passengers. If more passengers are required, please contact us to design a non-binding custom proposal for you.

The Prices per person are;

  • for a group of 5 people USD 1,730 p/p
  • for a group of 4 people USD 1,880 p/p
  • for a group of 3 people USD 2,110 p/p
  • for a group of 2 people USD 2,588 p/p
  • for a solo traveler USD 3,730

Payment Options

  • We use Paypal, which allows you to use your local credit or debit cards from home.
  • Reservations for this expedition must be made with at least 10 working days prior departure.
  • For Chilean citizens, we receive payments via online transfers or bank deposits too.
  • We don’t receive checks and pays with credit cards can only be done online and in advance.

CONDITIONS

Cancellation Policy

If you decide to cancel your tour reservation, for any reason, the following are our terms,

Time frame / You receive:

  • 15 days before trip departure / 70% refund of what you have paid
  • 14  to 7 days before trip departure / 40% of your payments
  • 1 day before trip departure / 15% of your payments.

Transfer Policy

If you would like to change to a different tour or departure date after signing up, we will be happy to transfer you on a space available basis up until 10 days prior to your tour. Please provide your transfer request in writing – email is sufficient.

Tour Confirmation

Místico Outdoors will confirm your trip in advance and will be done via e mail. The reasons to cancel a booked tour will be due to bad weather conditions, government prohibitions or security reasons of any kind. If this is the case you will get 80% of your deposit refunded and will be happy to offer you another options.

GALLERY

BOOK YOUR TRIP TODAY!

Have any questions? Contact us!

+569-9541-7762

contact@chileresponsibleadventure.com

Eleuterio Ramirez 1535, Iquique, Chile

contact@chileresponsibleadventure.com

OFF THE BEATEN PATH

14 DAYS / 13 NIGHTS