In the North of Chile, the Atacama Desert surprises with its great immensity. It’s mostly composed of stony terrain, sand, salt lakes & felsic lava. El Tatio Geyser field is one of the main attractions in the area, among other great views that are worth to see.
The Salt Fields, the Lagoons, the Geysers, and the different ecosystems that can be found in the desert, are an exceptional combination of natural beauties that can only be fully appreciated if you go there. In the night, due to the singular conditions of this region, the stars look brighter than in many other places of the world.
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Arrival at the airport in Calama and transfer to the hotel in Atacama, where we will be able to experience and discover the zone in many different ways. You will be able to choose from a wide range of activities, including biking, trekking, horseback riding, scenery excursions, high mountain, cultural excursions, or stargazing. The following itinerary is one of the suggested travel ideas.
The excursions for this itinerary are designed for enjoying the diversity of the local landscapes, without physical exertion. Routes that allow you to take in the immensity of the desert, the magic of the Atacama Salt Flat, and the majesty of the high plateau, as you marvel at the variety of landscapes.
The shuttle excursions can be subject to the weather conditions, most of all during the altip-lanic winter.
FIRST DAY (ARRIVAL DAY – Or departure day if more convenient): VALLE DE LA LUNA (MOON VALLEY)
Going across the Moon Valley by car to discover the most characteristic areas, stopping in the typical spots (Kari, Cuevas de sal, Duna Mayor, Crater Central, Tres Marías). With option of many short walks.
Type of Excursion: Half-day
Altitude: 2,400 meters above sea level
Distance: 50 km Duration: Tree hours
Environment: Salt Mountain Range
Recomendations • Bring light clothing, a jacket. • Comfortable footwear. • Sunblock, sun-glasses. • A hat and a backpack. Includes: A cooler (water and refreshments), trail mix
ALTERNATIVE: TOCONAO / LAGUNA CHAXA
We will visit the town of Toconao and tour its main square, church and bell tower, all of which have been declared national monuments. Depending on the season, we’ll also explore the orchards before continuing towards the salt flat until reaching Chaxa Lagoon. Here we can admire the flocks of flamingoes in their natural habitat, and enjoy the extraordinary scenic beauty.
Type of Excursion: Half-day van excursion
Altitude: 2,600 meters above sea level
Distance: 70 km
Duration: Three hours and 30 minutes
Environment: Oasis of Toconao / Atacama Salt Flat
We leave at dawn, heading northeast along a dirt road. Upon arriving at the Tatio Geysers, one of the highest geothermal fields in the world, we watch the cauldrons of boiling water shoot blasts of water vapor high into the air. We will explore the area briefly on foot and then enjoy breakfast. On our way back, we will enjoy gorgeous views of the high plateau. Along the way, you can see large bogs featuring plenty of wildlife, and appreciate how the flora and fauna changes as we make our way down. We also stop in the town of Machuca, situated 4,000 meters above sea level.
Type of Excursion: Full-day van excursion
Altitude: 4,320 meters above sea level
Distance: 90 km
Duration: Seven hours
Environment: High Plateau
Equipment: Binoculars and an oxygen bottle
Includes: A cooler (water and refreshments), breakfast
Heading towards the high plateau, we will see the flora and fauna gradually change as we ascend. We’ll pass the Tropic of Capricorn, which intersects with the Inca Trail. After making a stop in Socaire, we’ll continue toward Paso Sico, which marks the border with Argentina. We’ll stop at the Aguas Calientes Salt Flat and the Tuyajto Lagoon to admire the high plateau landscape and have lunch. On the way back, we’ll stop at the Los Flamencos National Reserve to explore its lovely Miscanti and Miñiques lagoons.
Type of Excursion: Full-day van excursion
Difficulty: Easy, but take the high altitude into consideration
Altitude: 4,250 meters above sea level
Distance: 360 km
Duration: Eight hours
Environment: High Plateau / Salt Flat / Lagoons
Recomendations • Wear very warm clothes. • Eat light and do not drink any alcohol the night before the excursion. • Drink plenty of water. • Bring sunblock, sunglasses and a backpack. Noi Equipment: Binoculars and an oxygen bottle. Includes: A cooler (water and refreshments), lunch.
Breakfast at the hotel. At an agreed-upon time, transfer to the airport in Calama.
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