Magic of Atacama
Atacama (4 days / 3 nts)
Discover the essentials of the stunning Atacama Desert: San Pedro de Atacama, the extraordinary archaeological museum of Padre Le Paige, the pre-Inca ruins of Tulor, the village of Toconao, Moon Valley, the Atacama salt lake, and the incredible El Tatio Geysers at an altitude of 4,300m.
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)