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7 Days Trek in Atacama Desert

7 Days FROM £ 1,695

Overview

The Atacama Desert located in Chile’s north is considered the driest hot desert in the world, occupying over 105,000 square kilometres. The desert also spreads into Argentina, Peru & Bolivia and encompasses an abundance of amazing flora and fauna species which have evolved to adapt to the unforgiving environment. The desert has become a hotspot for adventurous travellers to trek around these harsh lands and experience an amazing journey through the wilderness.

This trip involves a collection of the many experiences which the Atacama calls home. Seek out impressive rock formation of the Salt Mountains, see the Moon Valley and trek in between glorious sunrises and even more magnificent sunsets. As the trek progresses get bewildered by the starry Atacama sky by night and visit Indigenous cultures, the Rio Grande village, Atacama Salt Flats and the magical Tatio Geysers by day. This journey is truly the best way to experience the raw wilderness of the Atacama.

Trip Code: CLTS7AD

Travel Style: Small Group Tour

Location: Atacama Desert, Chile

Flights: Ask us to help book your flights to/from South America.

WHY YOU'LL LOVE THIS ITINERARY

  • Experience the raw beauty of one of the driest deserts in the World, dotted with sights of unique rock formations, geothermic geysers, salt flats and even the odd volcano!

  • Enjoy sightings of unique wildlife, despite the arid surroundings, the odd sighting of pink flamingoes and roaming llamas demonstrates the hardiness of this region. 

  • This itinerary is easily combined with other experiences in Chile, including a visit to the energetic cosmopolitan Santiago or perhaps the awe-inspiring beauty of the Chilean Patagonia. 

ITINERARY INSPIRATION

Arrival in San Pedro de Atacama, Chile. Arrive at Calama Airport and transfer to San Pedro de Atacama, driving past the impressive rock formations of the Cordillera de la Sal (Salt Mountains). Once in San Pedro you will receive a briefing over lunch about the upcoming days and in the afternoon, go on your first hike in the vast amazing Valle de la Luna. Afterwards, begin a trek over large sand dunes until reaching the viewpoint of one of the world's most beautiful sunsets, intensified by the warm colours throughout the Valley. Then return to town and stay overnight in San Pedro.

The Adventure Starts!

After breakfast make your way to the Fortress of Quitor and set off on a walk to the mouth of the San Pedro River, exploring its small canyons along the way. The path crosses the river at various points and there are strange geological formations to sight. Finally you will come to a small valley and the ghost town of San Bartolo - a former mining enclave, now abandoned. Camp in this wonderfully isolated spot and enjoy a night under the starry Atacama sky. Overnight at Camping San Bartolo.

San Pedro to San Bartolo

Today will begin with a demanding trek, hiking a higher altitude as you leave the river bed and move towards the plateau. Here there are great views of the abandoned mines in the area, home to many legends. The trail continues through the river canyon and giant cacti emerge, in the midst of the arid, barren desert. There are some areas of the valley that are so dry that scientists have not found life, or even bacteria. After crossing a section of the canyon you finally arrive at Río Grande Village, one of the few remaining indigenous communities of the Atacameño people, where camp will be set up on the river banks. Overnight at Camping Rio Grande.

San Bartolo to Rio Grande

Today is the most physically challenging day of the trek, as you head towards Machuca Village. The trail continues alongside small streams in narrow, beautiful valleys inhabited by indigenous locals and their llama herds. Continue climbing up steep desert canyons, gaining altitude, until you reach the wetlands of Machuca, full of local wildlife. From here you have an amazing view of Licancabur Volcano, the sacred mountain of the Atacameño people. At this point you are at 4,000m (13,000ft) above sea level, and will spend the evening relaxing and acclimatizing in the campsite next to a big 'bofedal' - wetlands where llamas graze. Overnight at Camping Machuca.

Rio Grande to Machuca

After a hearty breakfast, leave Machuca for the Tatio Geysers. The geothermic field is truly incredible, from almost 900 metres below the earth, boiling steam bursts up to 40 metres over the earth’s surface. From the geysers you begin the walk, lasting approximately three hours, towards a high Andean plateau with the same name as the trail - Copa Coya. On the way, sight Andean vegetation and maybe viscachas (similar to chinchillas) and stop to enjoy lunch with a view. At the end of the walk there’s a steep uphill climb leading to a wonderful view of the Alto Loa villages, showing a different view of Atacama than normally experienced. After you descend from the Copa Coya, you can enjoy the Tatio Thermal Pool for a restoring bath.

Machuca to Tatio Geysers & Copa Coya

Rise feeling refreshed and with the satisfaction of having crossed the heart of Atacama. Today, drive to the amazing Salar de Atacama, home to astonishing birds like the Chilean Pink Flamingos. Then continue driving towards the marvelous Miscanti and Miñiques Lagoons, full of turquoise waters that beautifully contrast with the autumnal colours of the Altiplanic lands. Spend your final night in San Pedro.

Atacama Salt Flat & Lagoons

Take the final day of the trip to relax and wander around the village, visiting its handicraft shops, church and museum. In the afternoon, transfer to Calama’s airport to take your flight back to Santiago...Adios Atacama!

Adios Atacama
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ITINERARY ADD-ONS

  • Combine your journey with an incredible luxury experience in the Uyuni Salt Flats. Explore the visual beauty of the salt flats in your own boutique luxury dome. This experience combines luxury accommodation and dining with the peaceful serenity of the salt flats as you are tantalised during the day by an endless sea of white and at night by unrivalled star gazing opportunities. Find out more.

  • Explore the Chilean capital of Santiago, before heading to Torres del Paine National Park, one of the most spectacular parks in South America. Head to El Calafate on the edge of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field and from here visit the world famous Perito Moreno Glacier. Find out more

  • Combine your journey with a tour to the mystical Easter Island, one of the most isolated places on the planet. Bear witness to one of the most ancient and logic-defying mysteries as you gaze upon the giant stone Moai, the watchful guardians of the island. Or perhaps experience the islands savage beauty, enjoying scenic hikes or relaxing on white sandy beaches. Find out more here Find out more.

WHY TAILOR-MADE?

  • Personalise your itinerary
  • Access to great flight deals
  • Choose your accomodation
  • Tailored travel insurance options
  • Choose your preferred dates
  • Cater to your travel needs
  • Personalise your itinerary
  • Access to great flight deals
  • Choose your accomodation
  • Tailored travel insurance options
  • Choose your preferred dates
  • Cater to your travel needs

Pricing & date

7 Days Trek in Atacama Desert from £ 1,695
 Mondays 
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Important Information

  • One expert English-speaking guide
    All ground private transportation as indicated in the itinerary
    3 nights in 3 star hotel in San Pedro
    3 nights camping
    Breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday. Except on day 1 not breakfast included and day 7 only breakfasts included.

    Exclusions


    Domestic flight tickets
    Insurance (it is mandatory you purchase appropriate insurance for this trip).
    Voluntary tipping of guides and staff
    Sleeping bags and mats
    Items of personal nature

  • 2 (light adventure)
  • Available upon request, contact us for more details.

  • Camping: The tents arranged for this program are typical mountain tents with enough room for 2 people overnight in comfortable conditions. We provide all the camping gear, but you have to bring your own mat and sleeping bag. Our team will be responsible for setting up the tents in the camping site. There will be also a big and comfortable dining tent for enjoying breakfast and dinner.

    Price is based on groups of 4 or more people

     

  • Season and Availability

Accommodation

We believe that appropriate accommodation should add to the authentic travel experience, as well as providing utmost enjoyment. For that reason our accommodation is scrutinised by our staff on the ground frequently, ensuring the properties adhere to our high standards. This key will help you understand the levels of accommodation available on this tour.

SPEAK TO A SPECIALIST

Talk to one of our Destination Specialists to plan your South American adventure and turn your dream into a reality. With exceptional knowledge and first hand experience, our consultants will assist in every way possible to make your journey the most memorable it can be, matching not only the itinerary, but the accommodation and activities to suit your style of travel and budget.

Sustainability

Being environmentally accountable is a crucial part of our organisation. Chimu is currently striving towards using less paper, taking several initiatives to do so and tracking our progress along the way. Our goal: A paperless organisation. For this reason, all information given to you will be sent electronically. We encourage those who choose to travel with us to support our aspirations and actions and ask that you reconsider printing out documentation. To view these documents, you can download them to your iPad or portable computer before and during your trip.

Chimu is passionate and dedicated to sustainability measures and understands the crucial part sustainability plays within the tourism industry.

We use local guides and office staff to both maximise local employment opportunities and minimise carbon footprint. Local guides also ensure you benefit from the intimate knowledge, passion and culture of the country you’re visiting. Our guides are all highly qualified (most with university degrees) or equip with many years of experience and are paid above the standard wage. Whether it be our knowledgeable local guides, locally produced meals or the transport on tour, we do not use imported goods when local products are available. We aim to minimise our impact on the environment and give as much back as possible to the communities we work in.

While visiting the many national parks, heritage sites, museums and landmarks our travellers are encouraged to explore remain culturally aware and sensitive. We further encourage you to buy appropriate souvenirs and discourage the buying of anything wrongfully made or taken from the environment i.e. shells and endangered species products. Information on how you can be environmentally conscious, and travel responsibly will be made available in our Travellers Guides and provided during your travels by guides and staff.

For more information on our sustainability policies, including how we are striving towards being a paperless organisation, click HERE