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Magic of Atacama (4 days / 3 nts)

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Places Visited:
v/   Atacama
Price from $827
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Discover the essentials of the stunning Atacama Desert: San Pedro de Atacama, the Padre Le Paige museum, pre-Inca ruins of Tulor, Toconao, Moon Valley, the Atacama salt lake, and El Tatio Geysers 4,300m high.
Day 1:Arrive in Calama - San Pedro Atacama (Moon valley)
Day 2:San Pedro de Atacama (Toconao and the Atacama Salt Lake)
Day 3:San Pedro de Atacama (El Tatio - Machuca)
Day 4:San Pedro - Fly out from Calama


Hotels used in this tour
(hotels can be changed on request for most tours)
 SuperiorStandard
San Pedro de Atacama
Hotel Altiplanico, San Pedro de Atacama
Altiplanico
32 rooms
click to see Trip Advisor report
hotel site
Hotel Casa de Don Tomas, San Pedro de Atacama
Casa de Don Tomas
30 rooms
click to see Trip Advisor report
hotel site
Day 1:  Arrive in Calama - San Pedro Atacama (Moon valley)
Arrival at the airport of Calama and transfer to San Pedro de Atacama. San Pedro is an unusually colourful village located 2.440 m / 8.000 ft above sea level in the middle of a green oasis. The extraordinary archaeological museum (closed on Mondays) of Padre Gustavo Le Paige, shows an impressive collection of pre- Hispanic artefacts. In the afternoon we will visit the mystifying and famous Moon Valley. At sunset we can see how the light intensifies the impression of a moonscape. Overnight in San Pedro.
Day 2:  San Pedro de Atacama (Toconao and the Atacama Salt Lake)
After breakfast we will visit San Pedro de Atacama - the centre of a Palaeolithic civilization that built impressive rock fortresses on the mountains encircling the green valley. The colonial church was constructed in 1577 and is the largest and most beautiful of the region. After this visit we drive 4 km / 2,5 mi to reach the pre-Columbian village Tulor with an approx. age of 3000 years, making it the oldest archaeological remains in the valley, and continue to the fortress of Pukara de Quitor conquered in 1540 by the Spanish conquistadores defeating the Incan troops.

In the afternoon we will start our tour to Toconao, a village where locals dedicate themselves to the manufacture of white volcanic stone sculptures, and will continue to the huge Atacama Salt Lake, an inland sea formed millions of years ago. The vast emptiness with the white salt crusts stretched out in front of you as far as the eyes can reach is overwhelming. It simply is one of the most spectacular and dramatic landscapes in Chile. Return to the hotel. Overnight in San Pedro.

(Included meals: breakfast, box lunch)
Day 3:  San Pedro de Atacama (El Tatio - Machuca)
In In the morning we will depart early at 4:00 am to reach the El Tatio Geysers at an altitude of 4.300 m / 14.108 ft before sunrise. In a remote setting it is the highest geothermal field in the world and offers spectacular scenery. Make sure to bring warm clothes because it is very cold in the morning at this altitude. At dawn, powerful spurts of steam shoot up from various blowholes. The steaming ponds are encrusted with brilliant salt crystals reflecting the metal-blue sky. We will have enough time to enjoy this impressive natural wonder before we return and drive to the village Machuca where the ancient llama caravans used to rest from their travels on the "Inca Highway". Afterwards, we will return to San Pedro de Atacama to enjoy the afternoon at leisure. Overnight in San Pedro.

(Included meals: breakfast)
Day 4:  San Pedro - Fly out from Calama
After breakfast, a transfer takes you to the airport to board your departure flight.

(Included meals: breakfast)
 
Some comments by past clients
 
Jeff Fouts (from USA)

Laura,

We just returned from our 5 week trip to South America. Our Atacama experience was interesting. Let me say up front that logistics of the trip went very smoothly, the guides were good, the people were friendly and the hotel was quite acceptable given the remote location of the town. I would not hesitate recommending that hotel. In fact, it was probably the nicest hotel we saw in all of San Pedro de Atacama. Dining is a little limited, but we were comfortable there.

When we booked this part of our trip we really didn`t know quite what to expect and it ended up being a unique experience. Not easy or relaxing, but unique. We are 62 years old and in decent shape, but the the altitude bothered us some made the entire four days a tiring experience.

Some of the excursions go over some incredibly primitive roads, rough bouncing, and dusty. Two plus hours each way to go 30 miles.

We did not meet any other Americans during the 4 days. Mostly people were from other South American countries, Germany, France, & Britain. I'm sure there must have been other Americans in the town, but not many. Also, we did not see any people any older than us. Most were younger by 10 years or so, and a lot of younger backpacker types staying in hostels.

The sights are interesting and somewhat dramatic. So, it was a unique international experience.

I was pleased with the LatinDiscover experience and would not hesitate to use your services again or to recommend it to others.

Best wishes,
Jeff Fouts

Jessica W (from USA)
...Your arrangements were wonderful.  Paulo in Santiago was terrific -- very helpful to have someone carting us to and from the airport and the orientation to Santiago was very informative and fun.  Both the Atacama and Easter Island were wonderful -- even better than we expected and our expectations were high. 

For us the Kimal (in Atacama) was the perfect spot -- the staff were very pleasant and accomodating and the location what we wanted.  Salvador was a good guide and the tours were all great. 

Ronald Hendren (from USA)

We really liked our accommodations at the Kimal Hotel in San Pedro de Atacama. It is very clean & comfortable. The architecture is exquisite. They played music in the courtyard during the afternoon, so I could sit outside by my room, read a book, and be serenaded with great music. Their service is also excellent. The Kimal is only 1/2 block from mainstreet so it was very easy to get water and food when we needed it. The best restaurant is Adobe. It is located on the mainstreet. Thanks again for helping us arrange a very nice trip. We will contact you again and are thinking about Buenos Aires for next New Year's Eve. Would you have any contacts or programming for that area? Jan L.

Paul B (from UK)
Hi Laura. Yes, we had a tremendous holiday. We were impressed how everything 'worked out'. The hotel at San Pedro was very friendly and the tour drivers arrived very much on time with our names to hand. There was a lot of travelling, much on fairly average roads, to the Torres de Paine but the scenery was truly spectacular and the Rio Serrano Hotel exceptional with an amazing view of the mountains from the bedroom windows. Thanks for your help. All the best Paul
Patrick L (from France)
Thank you; everything was absolutely fine and we enjoyed our trip. Our comment form was passed on to your excellent partner in Chile; Best regards, Patrick L.
 

Itinerary:

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Trip type:
  Private or shared service
Departures:
   Daily