Endless stars are scattered across the immense sky over the Atacama desert. The Atacama, framed by the formidable grandeur of the Andes is the driest place on Earth, yet it is dotted with fertile oases and its otherworldly landscapes sustain an abundance of life. The ancient cultures of this region are still present in the adobe homes and old plazas of San Pedro de Atacama, while active geysers, stunning salt flats, and gorgeous lagoons redefine your perception of a desert, and the nightfall reveals a location so renowned for stargazing that there are close to 40 observatories found here, including the largest astronomical project in the world. The Atacama Desert tour will take us from the rich cultural heritage of San Pedro across desert lands that have been likened to the surface of the moon for their strange beauty, so alien in appearance and conditions that NASA even tested Martian rovers here. Unlike any other environment you'll find in Chile, or indeed anywhere else on the planet, a visit to Atacama is like taking a step into another world entirely.
- 2 nights accommodations at an upscale boutique hotel in San Pedro de Atacama and 1 night at a comfortable airport hotel in Santiago de Chile;
- Round trip airfare between Santiago and Calama, including all fees and taxes;
- 3 breakfasts, 2 dinners, including drinks;
- Bottled mineral water during excursions;
- A professional guide throughout the tour, a private driver and an experienced tour director;
- All admissions to all the sights as per itinerary;
- All taxes, fees, fuel charges and supplements.
Additional/optional costs may include: optional travel insurance, optional single supplement, optional additional accommodations, optional guide and driver gratuities, optional tour director’s gratuities, room service, mini bar charges, laundry charges, phone calls, personal expenses.
The tour cost does not include airfare.
- The historical city of San Pedro
- The eerie landscape of Moon Valley and Mars Valley
- Altiplanic lagoons
- High altitude salt lagoons and lakes
- Active geysers and hot springs
- Atacama Salt Flat
- Oasis town of Tocanao
This tour starts in the evening of Monday, March 4, 2019 in Santiago de Chile International Airport.
|Day 1: Santiago de Chile - Arrivals |
We'll arrive at the Santiago airport in the late afternoon, and check into our hotel within the airport. The evening will be free to rest and relax at the hotel's sauna and hot tub, take a swim in the heated indoor pool, or enjoy a meal at the on-site gourmet restaurant.
Accommodations: Holiday Inn, Santiago Airport
|Day 2: San Pedro and Valley of the Moon |
Today we'll take an early morning flight to Calama, then transfer to the town of San Pedro de Atacama, to check into our luxury boutique hotel in the heart of town. The morning will be free to relax or to explore the town of San Pedro, gateway to the incredible Atacama desert and a living monument to the pre-Colombian cultures that have left their mark with many historical buildings and native remains. In the afternoon, we'll journey to Death Valley, also known as Mars Valley, one of the most desolate and arid landscapes on Earth. From here, we'll continue to the mysterious and haunting Valley of the Moon, famous for unusual rock formations, colorful hills, and dry lakes covered with a white mantle of salt that gave this eerily beautiful landscape its name. Here, we'll visit the salt caverns, then climb the sand dunes to marvel at the kaleidoscope of colors that appear over the Andes at sunset. After sunset, we'll return to our hotel, and enjoy a festive dinner at the hotel's restaurant.
Meals: B, D
Accommodations: Noi Casa de Atacama, San Pedro
|Day 3: Salt Flat and Altiplanic Lagoons |
After breakfast today we'll drive south past the impressive Licancabur Volcano until we reach Toconao, a village and oasis in the middle of the desert, where people have been living for more than 12,000 years, and today famous for locally made handicrafts such as alpaca wool weavings. From Toconao, we'll continue to the massive Atacama Salt Flat and the beautiful Altiplanic lakes. Receiving less than 1mm of rain a year, the Atacama Salt Flat is the driest place on Earth, yet it is home to astonishing number of flamingos. We'll be on the lookout for these and other birds that have managed to make their home here as we continue into the highlands to visit the deep blue waters of the Miscanti and Miñiques lagoons, situated 13,800ft above sea level in the Andes Mountains. The Altiplanic lakes provide a stunning contrast to the snow-capped mountains that surround them, and we'll have ample opportunities to enjoy this otherworldly scenery, before returning to San Pedro in the evening just in time for dinner.
Meals: B, D
Accommodations: Noi Casa de Atacama, San Pedro
|Day 4: Tatio Geysers and Hot Springs, Departures |
In the early morning, we'll venture out to admire the active Tatio Geysers, featuring over 80 active geysers, making it the world’s third largest geyser field. El Tatio is a native American word for ‘oven’, and in the local ancient language, it means ‘old man who cries’. Tatio Geysers are the source of the nearby Puritama hot springs, where we'll have a chance to soak in the naturally heated water under a brilliantly blue sky. Surrounded by untamed and surreal desert, the springs themselves are equipped with modern installations and comfort; the waters are sulfurous and said to alleviate rheumatic illnesses, exhaustion, and stress. After some time to relax here, we'll return to the hotel around noon and after a short break, we'll transfer to the airport for our flight back to Santiago.
This tour ends at 6:00PM on Thursday, March 7, 2019 in Santiago de Chile International Airport. In case there are any domestic flight delays, please schedule your return flight no earlier than 11:00PM on March 7. Most flights depart for the US in the late evening or early morning hours. Otherwise, it's possible to stay an additional night at an airport hotel.
Itinerary specifics subject to change.