8 Days Atacama Landscape and Culture Photo Tour
This tour in Atacama Desert is developed for people that loves travel on the day and rest comfortable at nights in a hotel or hostel in San Pedro de Atacama. You’ll travel every day among astonishing landscapes surrounded by Volcanoes and secret paths in valleys, salt flats, gorges and learning about Atacama history, culture, archeology, flora and fauna.
Day 1: Transfer Santiago Hotel/ Satiago Airport – Flight to Calama – Transfer Calama
Airport to San Pedro de Atacama Hotel. PM HD Moon Valley tour. Our driver will pick you up and transfer you to the Santiago Airport to take your domestic flight. Once you arrive to Calama Airport, you’ll take a 90 minutes transfer to San Pedro de Atacama and check in at your hotel. (Regular Service)
At 16:00 PM we’ll head toward the Salt Mountain Range (Moon Valley), which forms a natural barrier between the Pacific Ocean and the Atacama Salt Flat. Is a valley of statuesque, rocky formations. Salt emerges to the surface, covering the surface with a dry, whitish layer that gives the place a lunar aspect. We’ll visit the statues of salt called “Las Tres Marias“ , the salt mine, the salt caves and we will walk up by the sand dunes of the area until we reach the summit of the Big Dune. Here, you will see while a spectacular change of colors happens in front of your eyes and enjoy a delicious cocktail.
Afterwards we return to San Pedro de Atacama by van and drop you off at Hotel or town.
Day 2: Atacama Salt Flat – Chaxa Lagoon – Miscanti and Miniques Lagoon – Socaire/Toconao – Van and bike
After breakfast, we’ll drive towards Atacama Salt Flat and enter the National Flamingo Reserve. This National Reserve is formed by a gigantic depression of more than 3.500km2, located 2.300 m above sea level, The Salar is the biggest salt field in Chile and its large quantities of salt make the surface white and rough. The dryness and altitude of the salt field allow an excellent panoramic view of the area. The bottom of the salt field is composed of an enormous lake, which receives water from mountain rivers and melting snow. As it has no runoff, several small lagoons have formed, where we can observe the three types of flamingos living in the area, the English, the Andean and the Chilean.
Then, we’ll head to Socaire village at 3.300 m to acclimatize and photograph the small church of San Bartolomé. We continue our day driving to Miscanti and Meñiques lagoons of crystalline water and intense blue color at 4.350 and 4.100 masl where we’ll walk and visit this beautiful place.
Once our walk ends, we’ll start a 15 km downhill by dirt road, where you’ll be able to see wildlife and amazing views of the Atacama Salt Flat and Volcanoes. Once we get to the asphalt, we’ll continue cycling until Socaire town, where we’ll enjoy a local lunch and get some energy for our last ride of the day. You’ll be able to cycle next to Atacama Salt Flat, until arriving close to Toconao town, where we’ll end our ride and drive towards San Pedro de Atacama.
Day 3: Geysers – Wetlands – Machuca – Stargazing Experience
Today we' ll set off very early and drive in the van towards Tatio geysers. We’ll reach the 4.350 mts and enjoy breakfast. They are shaped by a series of fumaroles that erupts water and steam of volcanic origin. We will walk this spectacle at dawn in its entire splendor and afterwards we will start our way back, on the way we will visit tiny Machuca Village, of less that 10 people. The village has an old church on a hilltop, a row of mud houses. Also here you could find souvenirs and a barbeque vendor of delicious Llama Anticuchos (skewered meats).
At night we will visit the Space observatory. San Pedro de Atacama is an exceptional place to observe the sky and stars. A vehicle will transfer you from your hostel to the observatory, only 10 minutes from town. The tours start with an explanation and display of the stars that can be observed at the given time of year.
Then will continue with observations of really impressive objects, such as the craters of the moon, the rings of Saturn, star clusters, galaxies, and other marvels of the universe, then there will be a talk on everything you have just seen. The tour ends by sharing the experience around hot chocolate, cookies, wine, and snacks, returning to San Pedro, a good time to either continue enjoying the evening or resting for the following day.
Day 4: Capur Salt Flat – Piedras Rojas Hike
At morning we’ll depart towards the National Flamingo Reserve. This National Reserve is
formed by a gigantic depression of more than 3.500 km2. Afterwards, we’ll continue to Capur Salt, a relatively small catchment area of 121.8 km² with eleven inflows. On a total area of 7 square kilometers, there is seasonally changing open water from 0.07 to 6.15 km². The volume of water varies from 65,000 to two million cubic meters. The hike will last 4 hours and you’ll be able to see wild life like Rheas, Vicuñas, Flamingos and different kind of little birds.
Then, we will continue hiking to Aguas Calientes Salt Flat, limited to the west by the Caichinque volcanic complex, which formed the Medano hill. This last mountain is characterized by shades of grey and brown, contrasting with the sparkling white of the salt surface. Furthermore, its shores, colorful crop marginal lagoons, which in total add an area of between 2 and 3 square kilometers.
The climate of the area is arid with an average annual rainfall of 150 mm 2 and an average temperature of 1 ° C on the surface of the Salar. The vegetation of the area is characterized by the presence of tussock grasses. Afterward, we’ll head to Socaire village to take lunch and continue our way back to San Pedro
Day 5: Tara Salt Flat and The Pakana Guardians
Tara Salt Flat is located 4.300 mts (14.000 feet) msl, within Los Flamencos National Reserve, near the border point where Chile, Bolivia, and Argentina meet. Tara is set on the crater of Vilama Volcano and it has a rich ecosystem that houses several flora and fauna species, which make it an ideal spot for trekking and photography.
It is one of most interesting tour of the Chilean altiplano in the Atacama area where the clearest signs of glacial advances and periods of thaw appreciate excursion. Inhospitable spaces gorgeous colors and shapes surrounded by stunning lagoons of different colors. This excursion is characterized by visiting remote places of difficult access, where you can enjoy the vastness and silence of the altiplano.
In Tara Salt Flat you can find a great variety of flamingoes as well as other species like Vicuna, Andean foxe, Andean Mountain Cavy, Tawny Tuco-Tuco, Andean Avocet, Puna Plover, Yellow Billed Pintail, and Andean Geese. Flora is also varied with specimens like Coirón, Water Tola, and Tola Amaia, which you can observe on the slopes of the hills.
The greatest attraction in Tara is the Monjes de Pacana (Pacana Monks), giant vertical rocks that due to the wind erosion now resemble the silhouette of monks. They are located on a plain near Aguas Calientes Salt Flat. You will also find the Catedrales de Cenizas (Ash Cathedrals), geological formations made up by the ash coming from Llaima Volcano. They formed thousands of years ago during an eruption, and after years of being eroded they have acquired circular spiral shapes.
Tara Salt Flat is an amazing natural spot, ideal for trekking excursions. Despite being a bit far from San Pedro de Atacama, we assure you will amaze you with its astonishing natural beauty.
Day 6: Rainbow Valley and PM Cejar Lagoon
After breakfast, we’ll head by vehicle towards Yerbas Buenas petroglyphs and visit this archeological site. Then, we’ll start our drive towards one of the most beautiful and unknown places in Atacama, The Rainbow Valley, where you’ll hike by hills of amazing colors like violet, grey, calypso, red and blue, super rich on minerals. You’ll visit the Moai area and visit the east part as well, being able to see tall cactus on the way.
We’ll head back to San Pedro at 13:00 hrs aprox so you can enjoy lunch in town. Today afternoon , we’ll head towards The Cejar Lagoon, where you’ll get the change to swim, enjoying the gravitational effect caused by the amount of salt condensed, floating very easily. Your eyes will be amazed with the beautiful turquoise color of the lagoon.
Afterwards, we continue to Ojos del Salar, seeing two small lagoons and end our day and tour enjoying a farewell cocktail at Tebinquinche Lagoon, admiring one for the best spots for sunset in Atacama Desert. Once our picnic ends, we’ll drive back to San Pedro de Atacama and say goodbye to your guides.
Day 7: FREE DAY OR VISIT TO ALMA PROJECT BOOKED BY YOURSELF
Lodging at San Pedro de Atacama Hotel
Day 8: Transfer San Pedro de Atacama Hotel/ Calama Airport - Flight to Santiago de Chile – Transfer Airport/Hotel.
Depending on your departure flight, a shared transfer will pick you up at your hotel and take you to Calama airport to take a flight to Santiago de Chile. Depending your preferences, our transfer will be waiting you on the departure for transport you on your accommodation or you can wait your international flight at Airport