Hiking Atacama Desert 6D Tour

Ecotours Chile has developed this new Hiking tour in Atacama Desert for people that loves walking on the day and rest comfortable at nights in an hotel or hostel in San Pedro de Atacama. You’ll hike among astonishing landscapes surrounded by Volcanoes and secret paths in valleys, salt flats, gorges and learning about Atacama history, culture, archeology, flora and fauna.

Highlights:
– Chaxa, Miscanti, Meniques, Cejar and Tebinquinche lagoons
– Tatio Geysers and wetlands
– Moon Valley, Death Valley and beautiful gorges as Cari and Nacimiento
– Ancient Atacameño villages, history, culture, flora, fauna and people
– Atacama Salt Flat, Rainbow Valley, Rio Grande and Los Flamencos National Reserve
– 5 nights lodging at comfortable Hotel in San Pedro de Atacama
– Local English speaking guide and professional driver
– Combine this trip with Torres Del Paine, Wine country, Lake District or Easter Island Add on tour

Day 01

KARI GEORGE – VALLE DE LA LUNA/MOON VALLEY

Once you arrive to Calama Airport, you’ll take a 90 minutes transfer to San Pedro de Atacama and check in at your hotel. At 4 Pm you’ll meet our guide and the rest of the group to start the first day of hiking in San Pedro de Atacama surroundings.

After lunch we’ll head toward the Salt Mountain Range, which forms a natural barrier between the Pacific Ocean and the Atacama Salt Flat. The hike starts at the Coyote rock, a strange rock formation and getting deep into the mountain range and it geologic forms. We’ll hike 2 hours by the Cari George, admiring beautiful views of Atacama.

Once we reach the end of Kari George we head to Moon Valley, 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 the whole valley at the sunset, 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 your Hotel or in town.

Lodging at Hotel La Casa de Don Tomas or similar
/ Cocktail /
Hiking distance aprox: 10 KM
Time hiking aprox: 4-5 HRS

Day 02

TULOR – DEATH VALLEY – CORNISAS – CATARPE – QUITOR

After breakfast, we’ll get in the Vans and drive towards the Archeological site named Tulor, located 10 kms from San Pedro de Atacama. It was constructed at the beginning of the Christian age .This settlement is a clear example of how the sedentary live arose in this area, with a highly developed level of ceramics, textiles, metallic tools, agriculture and livestock. This small village from around 2,880 B. C. had a population of approximately 150 to 200 inhabitants during that period.

Then, we’ll jump in the van and head towards the Death Valley or Valle de La Muerte to start today’s hike, observing a geological phenomenon of enormous mineral sculptures formed by wind and rain. We’ll hike by the Salt Mountain range and arrive to Las Cornizas, where you get to the highest point of the Death Valley and admire an amazing view of San Pedro River, Volcanoes and the Catarpe Valley.

Our hike will continue passing by and old tunnel that crosses the Mountain Range, reaching Catarpe valley. Once there, we’ll visit Pukara of Quitor archeological site. This fortified village was constructed during the last stage of San Pedro cultural development, between 1000 and 1500 A.D. It was constructed in order to protect the inhabitants and goods of the area against the constant attacks of neighboring groups. The walls of the central part of Pukara have been reconstructed, so that you can imagine what the settlement was originally like.
Our day will end by taking a short ride on our vehicles towards San Pedro de Atacama.

Lodging at Hotel La Casa de Don Tomas or similar
/ Breakfast / Box lunch /
Hiking distance aprox: 12 KM
Time hiking aprox: 6 HRS

Day 03

MINIQUES – MISCANTI – QUEBRADA DE NACIMIENTO

At morning, we’ll depart towards Salar de Atacama and enter the National Flamingo Reserve. This National Reserve is formed by a gigantic depression of more than 3.500km2, located 2.300 masl 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 masl 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 m.a.s.l. Surrounded by numerous volcanoes and mountains, they are a habitat for a variety of species, such as the Chilean flamingo, the small parina, the playero de Bird and the horned crane , among others.
Afterwards we’ll hike 4 hours on the Quebrada de Nacimiento, used for rock climbing, and see beautiful rock formations eroded by time, due to ancient lave flows.
Once we end the hike, we’ll jump in the van and head back to San Pedro de Atacama where you can take a hot shower at your hotel.
Ask our guides about restaurant recommendations and enjoy a dinner on your own.

Lodging at Hotel La Casa de Don Tomas or similar
/ Breakfast / Lunch /
Hiking distance aprox: 14 KM
Time hiking aprox: 7 HRS

Day 04

GEYSERS – WETLANDS – MACHUCA – RIO GRANDE HIKE

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 enjoy a bath on a natural pool named the white geyser. Then, we’ll hike from Machuca village, located at 4000 masl, to Rio Grande village, famous for its terrace cultivation. Its location was strategic, as it was the forced passageway for caravans traveling between San Pedro de Atacama and Chiu-Chiu. Proofs of this are the surrounding archeological sites that show petroglyphs of the guanaco hunters during the pre-Hispanic period.

We’ll walk along the valleys formed by Peñaril River and with the possibility to see the typical flora and fauna of the Altiplano, framed by breathtaking colors that emerge from rocky formations. Once we end the hike, we’ll jump in the van and go to San Pedro de Atacama, dropping you off at your Hotel or in town.

Lodging at Hotel La Casa de Don Tomas or similar
/ Breakfast / Box lunch /
Hiking distance aprox: 17 KMS
Time hiking aprox: 7 HRS

Day 05

RAINBOW VALLEY AND CEJAR LAGOON

After breakfast, you’ll enjoy your last day of Hiking 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 and be ready for our last activity together, the Cejar Lagoon trip.

This last activity will be done by van and you’ll be able to do short walks on Cejar Lagoon and 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.
Afterward we continue to Ojos del Salar, two small lagoons and end enjoying a farewell cocktail at Tebinquinche Lagoon, admiring once for the best spots for Atacama sunset.
Once our picnic ends, we’ll drive back to San Pedro de Atacama and say goodbye to your guides.

/ Breakfast / Cocktail /
Hiking distance aprox: 8 KM
Time hiking aprox: 3 HRS

Day 06

TRANSFER SAN PEDRO / CALAMA AIRPORT

After breakfast, you will have time to walk on town and buy some souvenirs for family or friends.
Depending on your departure flight, a shared transfer will pick you up at your hotel and take you to Calama airport.

/ Breakfast /

• Professional driver and local english speaking guide
• Lodging at 5 nights at comfortable Hotel in San Pedro de Atacama town
• Private services and air conditioned vehicles
• Mentioned meals on itinerary; breakfast, cocktails, box lunch and water
• Entrance fee to National Parks, Reserves and attractions

• International and local flights (we can help you buy local flights)
• Accident Insurance (you MUST have your own insurance)
• Laundry
• Beverages & cocktails not included on menus
• Tips for drivers and guides.

Hiking, natural hot springs, Atacameño culture, history, flora and fauna.

Tour dates 2017-18 – You can set your own date with a minimum of 2 persons
-05/10 MARCH 2017 – CONFIRMED DEPARTURE
-15/20 APRIL 2017 – CONFIRMED DEPARTURE
-19/24 MAY 2017
-04/09 JUN 2017
-18/23 JUN 2017
-02/07 JUL 2017
-16/21 JUL 2017
-06/11 AUG 2017
-20/25 AUG 2017
-03/08 SEPT 2017
-17/22 SEPT 2017
-01/06 OCT 2017
-15/20 OCT 2017
-05/10 NOV 2017
-19/24 NOV 2017
-03/08 DEC 2017
-17/22 DEC 2017
-24/29 DECEMBER 2017 – CONFIRMED DEPARTURE
-06/11 JAN 2018
-20/25 JAN 2018
-04/09 FEB 2018
-18/23 FEB 2018
-04/09 MAR 2018
-18/23 MAR 2018

DIFFICULTY
Medium, designed for people who lead active lives and are comfortable participating in up to [6] hours of physical activity per day. Programs at this level generally involve some activities of higher intensity and/or a more vigorous pace. This program is not suitable for hikers that have problems with altitude.

PACKING TIPS
We advise you to bring clothing for warm and cold weather; base layers, windbreaker, gloves, hiking boots, a pair of sneakers, sunglasses, bathing suit and sandals. Don’t forget your camera!

HOTELS
As indicated in the program or similar

VEHICLES
Clean and comfortable air conditioned vehicle

AIRLINE INFORMATION
We can help you buy local flights at the best rates for you, just let us now

INSURANCE
Any policy you purchase should, at the very least, cover trip cancellation, loss of baggage, accident/life coverage, travel delays, and non-refundable airline tickets. Carriers for travel insurance include Travel Guard and Travelex. You may also consider insurance that covers emergency medical evacuation. Search the web to find the best deal that suits your needs – read the fine print

SAFETY
Chile is by far one of the safest countries in South America in terms of public health and crime. We are proud to affirm that our police are one of the least corrupt in the world; they are always friendly and helpful.