High Plateau Trek – Chile’s Atacama

8 Days
from AUD$ 7,465

Single Supplement AUD$ 1,276.00

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Highlights

  • Witness sunset over the Valley of the Moon
  • Enjoy a traditional BBQ in a native fruit tree oasis
  • Hike through some of the regions most spectacular canyons and desert landscapes
  • Evening astronomy lesson
  • Explore traditional village life
  • Trek to ruins of an ancient Inca fortress
  • Bathe in natural hot springs

Venture on foot as you discover the spectacular desert and mountain landscaped regions of the Atacama not accessible by vehicle.

Following the footsteps of areas only trodden by local natives and their goat and llama herds, you may encounter Indian shepherd communities, unique wildlife and archaeological remains with a backdrop of dormant volcanoes.  After acclimatising, it is time to set off into the lunar landscape. Pass salt lakes and lagoons dotted with flamingos. Geysers will explode around you; river gorges will amaze you. Hot springs will relax you; village life provides local encounters. The Atacama will be at your feet beneath you, before you return down to the desert floor in this fragile environment. Spend an evening under the night sky with a local astrologer, as you reflect on your time exploring this spectacular land of proud cultures and unimaginable scenery, before ending on the contrasting coast of Chile.

Journey map

Fitness level

Easy
Moderate
Challenging
Tough

Itinerary

Day 1 - San Pedro and Moon Valley

Welcome to the Atacama Desert! You will be met on arrival at Calama Airport and will be transferred to your hotel. This evening at around 5pm, take a 15 minute transfer into the famous Valle de la Luna, or Valley of the Moon. Spend a few hours exploring its stunning sand dunes, ancient salt mines and extraordinary rock formations, before walking up to a perfect vantage point to witness what must be one of the world’s most beautiful sunsets. Watch as the colours of the valley and the Andean peaks beyond, change from deep red, to purple and then pink, as the sun slowly sinks in the sky; a truly unforgettable experience. (D) 

3 nights Terra Luna Atacama or similar

Day 2 – San Pedro de Atacama

Today you will trek through a canyon with several water crossings. Be sure to wear shoes that can get wet! Hiking through the canyon is an incredible geological experience, as you trek from San Pedro de Atacama to San Bartolo (4h). Return to San Pedro, where you will enjoy a BBQ at the Oasis – this is set in 1.5ha of native fruit trees, where you will have a spectacular sunset view. This evening, enjoy an Astronomical tour by night. Understand how to look at the night sky with the naked eye, and observe as well, through powerful telescopes, and discover a new world. What do we see when we look at the stars, what is a constellation, how to learn them, how to read a sky map and recognize the main stars. We use a green laser pointer to show you unambiguously the various constellations. When the moon is visible, it is possible to take images of it through the telescopes, provided you have a digital camera. (B,L,D)

Altitude 2500 – 2700m

Day 3 – San Pedro de Atacama

Transfer to Rio Grande, a traditional village untouched by tourism. Here you will have a glimpse into the local culture. You then set off on foot to start your trek for the day. Starting at approx. 3000m, you will follow a huge canyon at the start of your walk, before reaching a mountainside to get to Machuca. This is an ancient trail used by local people with their animals, llamas and is dotted by cacti. Your hike today is approx 7h. Transfer back to San Pedro de Atacama (B,L,D)

Altitude 3000 – 3800m

Day 4 – San Pedro de Atacama – Geysers Del Tatio - Calama

Depart from San Pedro de Atacama at dawn to reach Tatio Geysers del Tatio. The geothermic field is truly incredible, from almost 900 metres below the earth, boiling steam bursts up to 40 metres over the surface of the earth. Continue towards Calama. Enroute you will visit Caspana, Lasana and Chiu-Chiu villages. In Lasana, there is a ‘pukara’ (ancient fortress) in crumbled ruin, as well as the archaeological site of an Inca village. Leaving Calama, drive north. Stop at Cerro Pintados geoglyphs, before arriving at Pica Oasis, where you will spend the night. Bath in the natural swimming pool. (B,L,D)

Overnight local guesthouse or similar

Day 5 – Pica – Salar De Huasco – Lirima – Cariquima

Today you take the high plateaus route by vehicle to give your feet a rest. Your first stop is at Huasco Salt Lake, a dried salt lake with breathtaking scenery, before visiting Lirima village, where you will enjoy lunch and bathe in Aguas Calientes hot springs. Lirima is a small altitude village with several traditional Aymara buildings.  In the afternoon, take a mountain road over a pass at 5000m above sea level between Alto Chaviri and Churuyo. Finally, you reach Cariquima village (3800m) where you spend the night in a local guest house. (B,L,D)

Overnight local guesthouse or similar

Day 6 – Cariquima – Salar de Surire – Lago Chungara - Putre

Cross Isluga Nacional Parc to reach the incredible Surire Salt Lake. Here you will have lunch and a bathe in the natural hot springs. In the afternoon, head into Lauca Nacional Parc, bordering Guallatire active volcano (6060m). Reach Lake Chungara and take in the incredible view over Parinacota (6342m) and Pomerape (6282m) volcanoes. Visit Parinacota village, where you will see a quaint church and an impressive view of the Parinacota volcano. Drive down to Putre where you will spend the night. (B,L,D)

Overnight local guesthouse or similar

Day 7 – Putre - Codpa

Start the day with a relaxing bathe in Jurasi hot springs. You will then follow a secondary road that crosses a dozen forgotten villages, such as Belen or Ticnamar, where you will embrace a taste of local cultures and traditions. Enjoy a short 1 hour trek in the hidden canyon before reaching Codpa Valley at sunset. Visit Ofragia petroglyphs and spend the night in Codpa. (B,L,D)

Overnight local guesthouse or similar

Day 8 – Codpa – Caleta Vitor – Arica – Depart

Travel down to the Pacific coast at Caleta Vitor, a nice beach hidden between 1000m high cliffs. Here, you will be acquainted with the local fisherman lifestyle – the contrast of coastal life after time in the desert is astounding. Arrive in Arica for a great lunch by the sea. In the afternoon, visit Azapa Valley, its museum and Arica’s historical Morro. Transfer to the airport for your onward flight. (B,L)

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What’s included

  • Return private airport transfers throughout
  • Accommodation
  • Meals as specified in the program
  • Entrance fees and national park fees
  • Private Transfers, sightseeing and tours with English speaking local guides
  • Trekking guide
  • Water, oxygen, satellite phone, Radio VHF and UHF
Exclusions
  • International and domestic flights
  • Visas
  • Travel and medical insurance
  • All services, meals other than those indicated above
  • Any changes to the proposed and confirmed program.
  • All items of a personal nature e.g. drinks, laundry, telephone calls, tips etc

**Please note that this tour can be organised on request for private departures.

* Pricing is subject to change at anytime until full payment has been received.

* A minimum of 4 adults is required to guarantee this departure. Maximum group size is 12 guests.

A non-refundable deposit of $1000 AUD per person is required to secure your place. Final payment is due no later than 60 days prior to departure. Travel insurance is mandatory for travelling with Crooked Compass. For full terms and conditions, please click here.

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Availability

Start Date
End Date
Duration
Availability
Price
Start Date
28th Oct 2022
End Date
04th Nov 2022
Duration
8 Days
Availability
Enquiry Only
Price
$7,465 AUD
Start Date
04th Mar 2023
End Date
11th Mar 2023
Duration
8 Days
Availability
Available
Price
$7,465 AUD
Start Date
04th Nov 2023
End Date
11th Nov 2023
Duration
8 Days
Availability
Available
Price
$7,465 AUD
Start Date
30th Mar 2024
End Date
06th Apr 2024
Duration
8 Days
Availability
Available
Price
$7,465 AUD