San Pedro de Atacama
San Pedro de Atacama Pack: Multi Activity - 4 days - Easy
Come and meet the driest desert in the world!
About 40 thousand pink flamingos stain the enormous Puna de Atacama and its neighborhood; emerald lagoons embedded in the Andean hills; steep geysers and tiny villages, infinite salt flats, and landscapes that want to imitate the moon - and sometimes hell -. All this is what every year attracts tourists eager to discover the dark eyes of the Atacameños or to enjoy the perfect silence or one night watching the stars of the purest sky in the world.
This place is so unique that some of the visitors stay forever amazed by its charm.
Highlights: Tatio Geysers / Chaxsa lagoon / Valley of the Cactus / Valley of the Moon and Valley of Mars / Puritama Hot Springs / Atacama Salt Flat and so much else.
Options: Possibility of extending this pack with a trip to Uyuni, Bolivia, and/or Central Chile.
Day 1: Valley of the Moon
Morning flight from Santiago to Calama (2 hours flight) / Lunch in recommended restaurant / Afternoon in Valley of the Moon.
We will begin the tour departing from the center of San Pedro de Atacama towards the Cordillera de la Sal in the Atacama Desert, the driest place on earth, in the direction of one of its most picturesque spots: the Valley of the Moon. The names already give a clear clue to the landscape, where the rock formations reign shaped by erosion, the salt mantles and some views that will make you feel like on another planet.
Cross the valley transversely, visiting its famous rock formations: the Tres Marías, the Cañón, the Amphitheater and the Piedra del Coyote. To finish the tour, enjoy the sunset from a natural viewpoint, where you can see how the desert is changing color, with large volcanoes on the horizon, offering a show that will leave you speechless.
*The order of the places to visit is subject to changes on the same day of the excursion.
- Transport by car: 16,5 kilometers
- Tour duration: 3 to 4 hours
- Hiking difficulty: composed of several short walks of easy level
Morning: Valley of the Cactus & Puritama Hot Springs
We will begin our day at the Quebrada de Guatin, where we can make contact with the wild life. We will walk through an impressive canyon with giant Cactus of 7 meters of hundreds of years of antiquity. Then we drive to the beautiful volcanic origin Puritama hot springs with healthy and restorative waters at a temperature of 32 celcius degrees.
- Transport by car: 23 kilometers
- Hike duration: 1 hour
- Hike difficulty: Intermediate. This hike es optional
- Maximum height: 2400 meters
Afternoon: Toconao, Chaxsa Lagoon and Atacama Salt Flat
The Chaxa lagoon is part of the Los Flamencos National Reserve and is an excursion that will give you the most intense expression of the Atacama Salt Flat. Located at 2300 meters above sea level, this lagoon is a scenario of spectacular beauty where you will find a lagoon, divided into several water mirrors where salt crusts are especially abundant and where you will find various flamenco communities.
This particular beauty has been carved by millenarian hydrological and geomorphological processes, where the saline basin receives the waters of the Cordillera de Los Andes, which are evaporated by the effect of the sun, leaving a supernatural landscape of salt crusts. Stage that shows all its splendor at sunset, so prepare your camera to take a souvenir of this beautiful experience.
The vegetation is singularly scarce due to the absolute aridity of the place and life is more abundant under the lagoon water, where there is a muddy substrate that houses a rich unicellular and microinvertebrate world. Even science has found - in this underwater world of the Chaxa lagoon - chemical resources to synthesize new remedies.
Chaxa's main attraction is the diverse flamenco communities that permanently inhabit the sector. The species that you will be able to see are Parina Grande, Parina Chica and Chilean Flamenco, protected birds that nest annually in Chaxa.
When you visit the Chaxa lagoon you will find in the heart of the Salar de Atacama, the largest salt reserve in Chile, which has an area of 3000 square kilometers and where there are large reserves of lithium, potassium and iodine.
On the way we will go through Toconao known for its traditional Andean architecture and the beautiful Jeré ravine in contrast to the arid landscape.
- Transport by car: 70 kilometers
- Activity duration: 4 hours
- Difficulty: Very easy. Only some smooth and short scenic hikes.
Day 3: Tara Salt Flat
During the morning we will go towards the mountain range taking the international road that connects us with Argentina through Paso Jama, we will pass through the valley originated by the Quepiaco River, in this place we will enjoy the beautiful contrast between the mountain range and the vegetation that turns this area into a habitat for different birds such as flamingos, taguas and ducks. We will continue until the Monks of the Pacana, rest of volcanic sediment eroded by the wind and the water are the faithful testimony of great eruptions millions of years ago, in spite of this the environment is generous and allows us to enjoy despite the weather, a landscape of great beauty. We end at the Salar de Tara, according to visitors one of the most beautiful places within the attractions of San Pedro de Atacama, we will make a short walk along the cathedrals, the salt lake of great richness in flora and fauna and enjoy a silence and tranquility in these times, hard to find.
- Transport by car: 100 kilometers
- Tour duration: 7 hours
- Difficulty: Easy, small hikes, but take precautions with height.
- Maximum height: 4200 meters
Day 4: Tatio Geysers and Machuca town
Our trip to Altiplane begins at dawn to reach one of the most important geothermal fields in the world, the "Tatio Geysers", surrounded by emanations of water and steam, we will enjoy the beauty of the Andes and with this natural scenario we will offer you a breakfast reponedor. Then we will visit the "Pozon Rustico" where you can enjoy the hot springs that the mountain range gives us. Taking the road back to San Pedro de Atacama you can enjoy the beauty of the landscape, native flora and fauna to finally stop at the village of Machuca, place of shepherds of llamas, nowadays this village of adobe, straw and wood Cactus is dedicated to tourism offering local products such as Andean crafts, llama meat, sopaipillas and empanadas. As a historical and architectural attraction we will visit the Church of San Santiago, patron of the town.
Lunch in San Pedro
- Transport by car: 80 kilometers
- Tour duration: 7 hours
- Difficulty: Easy, Small hikes but take precautions with height.
- Maximum height: 4000 meters
Attention: Activity may include walking on uneven terrain, driving on unpaved roads with ledges, walking in the sun.
- Private tour (only your group with the guide)
- Hotel Cumbres (we are very flexible so we can make reservation in another hotel to your budget)
- Flights: Santiago / Calama / Santiago
- Private transport (Includes pick up and drop off at the airport)
- Personal Guides
- All snack during the tours. Breakfast at the Tatio Geysers
- Tickets to parks and activities
- First aid kit
- Personal Insurance
- Foods. Except snacks during activities and breakfast at Geysers del Tatio
- Hat for the sun
- Hat for the cold
- Buff / Scarf
- In general bring some clothes for warm temperatures and others for icy weather. San Pedro has a large thermal oscillation between day and night. Also some tours occur at high altitude in the mountain.