Spirit of the Atacama - 4 Days
Get a more intimate experience in the Atacama Desert
DAY 1: CALAMA - SAN PEDRO DE ATACAMA - CATARPE VALLEY
After arriving at the Calama Airport we will be transferred to San Pedro de Atacama. The drive will show the stark contrast of the dry desert and the fertile oasis of San Pedro. This village of pre-Incan origin is home to various archaeological sites. The town also boasts a church built in 1577 by the Spanish conquistadores and is one of the many imprints of Spanish culture that have shaped the village. In the evening we will witness the ever changing colors of the Atacama Desert as the sun sets. We will also visit the fascinating Catarpe Valley located north of San Pedro. This valley is well known for its impressive rock formations, whitewashed churches and winding San Pedro River.
DAY 2: TREKKING GUATÍN - PURITAMA AND AYLLU DE COYO
Today will be an off the beaten track day. It starts with a hike to the beautiful Canyon of Guatín, known for impressive cacti that grow nearby feeding off the canyons water. This 3 hour hike will end at the Puritama thermals where we will be able to enjoy a nice picnic lunch and a relaxing dip in one of the hot springs. In the afternoon we will visit a “chacra” (small farm houses), where we will be met and greeted by Atacameñan families. Here we will be able to appreciate the everyday life of the Atacama Desert as we have dinner and share our day’s stories. (B, BL, D)
DAY 3: DRIFT ABOVE ATACAMA
Experience the Atacama Desert from a different perspective with this spectacular balloon flight and enjoy the Andean sunrise! Watch as the sun rises behind the Licancabur Volcano and paints the Cordillera de la Sal in dramatic light. Balloons carrying 8 guests provide an intimate and exclusive experience, observe this spectacle of nature from a comfortable and secure position. Flight time is 1 hour approximately. As you eventually drift back to earth, you will be treated to a breakfast of fresh croissants and baguettes, fruit, champagne and chocolates, to complete a wonderful experience. Return to your hotel close to 9 AM and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure in the town of San Pedro de Atacama. (B, SNACK)
Alternative DAY 3: TARA SALT FLAT
We will start the day with a stunning ride through the desert, heading east towards the Licancabur Volcano and the Toco Mountain. The road runs parallel to the Bolivian border and climbs to a height of 4,600 m / 15,400 ft at Quipiaco Lagoon before descending towards an area known as Monks of the Pakana. From there we will head to beautiful cathedral-like rock formations and the Tara Salt Flat. Here we will have time for a short hike to enjoy the natural wonders that surround us, such as the bofedales (wetlands), flamingos, vicuñas and Andean Seagulls. (B, BL)
DAY 4: PETROGLYPHS - RAINBOW VALLEY - CALAMA
Today we will experience a half day tour that combines history, geology and culture. We will start with a visit to the petroglyphs at Yerbas Buenas which will tell us about the history and way of life of the Atacameñan people by the depictions of animals and past nomadic life. Afterwards we will continue to the town of Matancilla and follow a nearby river to get to the hidden Rainbow Valley. The colors found here on the mountains are spectacular; green, purple and red tones combined with the shadows of the sun make this a truly impressive place. Afterwards we will return to the hotel or go directly to the airport for our departure. (B)
Price per person, double occupancy until April 30, 2021:
Hotel: Hotel Altiplanico San Pedro (Superior Room). Can use Casa Atacama Noi Deluxe room at extra cost.
- 3 overnights
- Meals according to itinerary (B= breakfast, BL = box-lunch, D= dinner)
- Private transfers and excursions with English speaking guide.
- Excursion on Day 3: based on shared services with English speaking guide
- Entrance fees.