Day 1: Atacama Arrival & Moon Valley
We arrive at Calama Airport and are driven straight to San Pedro de Atacama, 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. 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. Then we come back to town to the exclusive boutique Awasi Hotel where we will be staying during the trip.
Day 2: Ancient Culture & Laguna Cejar
Today we're going to cover the last 8,000 years of history! We start by visiting the nearby Quitor Fortress. The remains of this ancient stronghold overlook the valleys first cultivated by the indigenous Atacameño people in the 12th century, then the Incas and finally the Spanish in the 16th century. We then drive to the ancient Tulor village, a sacred place whose peculiar rounded constructions remain a mystery today. After speculating about the origin and decay of these mysterious structures, we round up the morning at the Archaeological Museum of San Pedro, home to an important anthropological collection of Atacama culture.
After a tasty lunch, we continue our day by driving across the immense, sparkling white Atacama Salt Flat. We reach the curious Laguna Cejar, which has so much salt that a person can float with no effort! We bathe here and enjoy the breathtaking landscape surrounding us. We then continue to the Ojos del Salar lagoon and visit Laguna Tebinquiche. Once back in town, we will be taken out for a delicious dinner.
Day 3: Tatio Geysers
The Atacama, Chile
The very early wake-up call from the hotel will be well worth it when we arrive at the amazing Geysers of Tatio and see them in action. From almost 900 meters below the earth, boiling steam bursts up to 40 meters over the surface of the earth. A scrumptious breakfast will be served upon arrival before we walk through the geothermal fields with the geysers erupting nearby. As we drive back, there is a magnificent view of the Tocopurri and Sairecabur volcanoes.
We arrive back in town in time to have lunch. The afternoon will be free to rest after the early start, high altitude and low temperature we faced in the morning. In the evening we visit the handicraft market and enjoy a tasty dinner.
Day 4: Toconao, Miscanti & Miñiques Lagoons
After breakfast, we start our adventure by driving to Toconao, a beautiful Andean village. Toconao's lands are an oasis in the desert and are apt for growing fruits and vegetables nourished by water coming in through small channels. We visit its main streets and San Lucas church. We then continue to Quebrada de Jerez, a large canyon channeling the waters entering Toconao.
The next stop will be Laguna Chaxa, a lagoon in the middle of the Atacama Salt Flat, home to beautiful Chilean and Andean flamingoes. We continue driving towards Miscanti and Miñiques Lagoons - undisputed highlights of the region - full of turquoise water that contrasts with the autumnal colors of the Altiplanic lands. A truly incredible landscape. Back in San Pedro we have a farewell dinner and toast the wonderful sights we have seen.
Day 5: Goodbye Atacama!
We take the final day of the trip to relax and wander around the village, visit its handicraft shops, church and museum. In the afternoon we are driven to Calama’s Airport to take our flight back to the capital...Adios Atacama!