Overland Trip to the Atacama Desert Highlands National Parks



5 days exploring the jewels of the Atacama highlands, visiting 5 Natural protected areas, hot springs, meeting flora and fauna…


Starting from the coastal city of Iquique, famous for its world class surf and paragliding, we’ll drive up to the desert. Our first stop is the ghost mining town of Humberstone (UNESCO World heritage site) to learn a bit about the history of northern Chile, the nitrate boom and the English influence at this places.

Your journey continues driving across the desert and visiting the “Atacama Giant”; the largest human-shaped geoglyph in the world. We’ll stop along the way to get great sights and learn a bit at each place and at the same time get adapted to the altitude.

Following the stunning views of the Huayna Potosi climb and its rock boulders, you’ll reach the Aymara (local Andean Ethnic group) village of Cariquima. We’ll spend the night here at a very simple but clean rural hostel.

Food: Picnic lunch and dinner included.

Accommodation: Cariquima hostel (double room).


Breakfast and off we go! We’ll drive into the Isluga volcano National Park and visit its bofedales, lake and old Andean villages with churches dating from the 1,600’s. The dirt road of today we’ll take us across the “Alpajere” where Llamas and Alpacas graze and peace is all around.

Later, we’ll reach the Surire salt flat National reserve just in time to get great photos and enjoy the Polloquere natural hot springs.

After the relaxing hot bath (and/or short hike if you prefer), we’ll get to a small cabin to prepare our dinner and spend the night.

Food: Breakfast, Picnic lunch, and dinner.

Accommodation: Park Ranger’s cabin Surire (Shared room).


The cold salt flat morning gets a bit warmer after the sunrise and this is the perfect moment for you to capture good photos. Our journey continues following the dirt road to visit the Little village of “Guallatire” that get its name from the huge (6,000m+) volcano just in front of it.

We’ll cross “Las Vicuñas” National Reserve watching wild Vicuñas and tall volcanoes. Later we’ll reach the mountain town of Putre, with beautiful sights of the creek, mountains and terrace fields.

You’ll spend the night here.

Food: Breakfast, Lunch. Dinner is not included this day (there are few restaurants in town)

Accommodation: Chakana lodge or Kukuli hostel at Putre depending on availability (Double rooms).


This is the day to meet the famous Lauca National Park, we’ll depart from Putre going up to get closer to the international border; The Andes. Gorgeous sights are waiting at Cotacotani and Chungará lakes, where taguas and many other birds feed and nest, all this under the watch of the “Pallachatas”, -the local name of the two tall volcanoes that dominate the views; the Parinacota and Pomerape, both of them over 6,000m tall!

Later on, you are going to visit the Parinacota village, a ceremonial place with few inhabitants and we are going to drive inside the off the beaten paths of this Park to get high on Suri Plaza (depending on weather and dirt road conditions) to witness the beautiful hill with a mineral color rainbow.

On the way back to Putre, you have the chance to take another thermal bath at the Jurasi hot springs.

You’ll spend the night at Putre.

Food: Breakfast, Picnic lunch. Dinner not included.

Accommodation: Chakana lodge or Kukuli hostel at Putre depending on availability (Double rooms).


Leaving the town of Putre and its sights we’ll get son into a more desertic landscape and our first stop here is going to be the small Inca ruins of “Pukara de Copaquilla”, an interesting place to learn a bit more about the human history of this lands.

The Lluta valley is ahead and its powerful green-desert contrasts are impressive. This is the moment to have a nice farewell lunch at a typical Chilean restaurant.

From Lluta valley you’ll cross to Azapa valley, where the San Miguel de Azapa museum is. The museum owns a collection of the Chinchorro mummies which have been dated (believe it or not) as the oldest mummies in the world!.

Our journey ends at your selected accommodation in Arica or at the airport in time for your flight.

Food: Breakfast, Lunch. Dinner not included.

Accommodation: Not included this day.

End of services.


There are two people minimum of passengers for this excursion. There is a maximum of 6 passengers.

If you are traveling alone or more passengers are required, please contact us to design a non-binding custom proposal for you.

The Prices per person are:

  • 4 to 6 people USD 709 p/p
  • 3 people USD 777 p/p
  • 2 people USD 1,024 p/p


Payment Options

We use Paypal and Payoneer, which allows you to use your local credit or debit cards from home. We accept bank deposits as well.

Reservations for this expedition must be made with at least 30 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.

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 minus a US$20 fee for operational expenses.
  • 14 to 7 days before trip departure / 30% of your payments
  • 1 day before trip departure / 10% 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. Please note, a US$20 transfer fee will be deducted from your previous payments for each transfer, and if you later choose to cancel your tour, the cancellation deadlines will apply to the date of the originally scheduled tour.

Tour Confirmation

Místico Outdoors will confirm your trip 30 days in advance and will be done via email.

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 100% of your deposit refunded and will be happy to offer you other options.



Have any questions? Contact us!



Eleuterio Ramirez 1535, Iquique, Chile