Day 1: Arrival & Moon Valley
Upon arrival at Calama Airport, we 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 check in to our hotel, have lunch and then it’s time for the first excursion, in the vast desert ripples of Moon valley! A fifteen-minute drive takes us to a viewpoint looking out over the majestic Cordillera de la Sal. From here we begin our moderate hike (3.5km, approx 1 hour 45 mins) along a narrow trail over a gully before walking down across a small sand dune to cross into the Kari canyon (at 2,600 m.a.s.l) an old dried riverbed with beautiful rocks, grottos, and caverns.
From here we witness one of the world's most beautiful sunsets, over Moon Valley, intensified by the warm colors of the sand dunes stretching out in the horizon. This evening we will have a welcome dinner - this is a great opportunity to get to know your guides and traveling companions.
- Overnight Hotel Altiplanico Superior room 4*, San Pedro de Atacama
Day 2: Yerbas Buenas & Valle del Arcoiris Walk
Today we visit the archaeological site of Yerbas Buenas, home to ancient petroglyphs which date back approximately 10,000 years. The petroglyphs, there are over one thousand of these ancient drawings, are an amazing relic of the Atacameno people. We will leave San Pedro at 08:30 and drive for about an hour until we reach Yerbas Buenas - here we will walk around the site for around an hour before heading to Valle del Arcoiris (Rainbow Valley). Rainbow Valley is aptly named, as the mineral-rich rocks create shades of green, blue and red across the valley’s cliffs and hills. We will hike around the valley for around an hour and a half before driving back to San Pedro for lunch at around 13:30. This afternoon will be at your leisure.
Day 3: AM - Archaeological hike at Tulor Dunes; PM Gatchi Gorge
We leave the hotel on foot at 08:30 through the oasis of San Pedro until we reach the Tulor sector. En route to this ancient village dating back to 800BC, there are various other archaeological artifacts which will help you to learn something of the Atacamenian lifestyle - in both its antiquity and present. This area is not frequented by tourists so you will be able to gain a more genuine insight into the culture, there is, however, a small museum of the village for which you can pay a small amount of money which goes to the village. Today lunch is included and you will be able to eat typical Chilean Atacama food in Aillu Coyo. After lunch, we will return to San Pedro to rest, if necessary, before our afternoon activities.
At 16:00 (15:00 in winter), we depart to walk along the canyon of the Vilama river where you will be able to see the Cardon Cactus. This cactus is famous for its outrageously slow growth, forget about the tortoise and the hare, this cactus takes 300 years to grow just 3 meters! There is a wealth of other plant and wildlife to observe in this area.
- Overnight Superior room at the 4* Hotel Altiplanico, San Pedro de Atacama.
Day 4: AM Tatio Geysers & PM Las Cornisas & Death Valley
We set off on the 100km drive to the celebrated 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.
PM: Las Cornizas - Valle de La Muerte.
After lunch, you will be picked up from your hotel and after a half-hour drive along the old road connecting San Pedro and Calama, we will reach a tunnel. There are stunning views of the region’s volcanoes and we will visit the archaeological sites of Quitor and Tambo Inca. From here we begin the hike up to 2600m. Once we have reached the summit we descend down the biggest dunes in Death Valley, entering into a mysterious landscape which invokes contemplation in many guests.
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... Adiós Atacama!.