San Pedro
de Atacama

We will visit places less traveled, and limit our use of motorized vehicles in order to connect directly with our surroundings. We will visit tourist attractions near and around San Pedro de Atacama during non-peak hours to give you the solitude and raw outdoor experiences you are looking for.

San Pedro
de Atacama

We will visit places less traveled, and limit our use of motorized vehicles in order to connect directly with our surroundings. We will visit tourist attractions near and around San Pedro de Atacama during non-peak hours to give you the solitude and raw outdoor experiences you are looking for.

Cordillera de la Sal; 4WD, Hiking

My first visit to Moon Valley in 2003, was a memorable one, as I arrived to San Pedro de Atacama after a 700 km, 40-day ciclotourism trip that started in Altiplano of Arica in the Parinacota Region of Chile. I approached San Pedro on my bicycle, ascending the Llano de la Paciencia (Plain of Patience) nearing the Cordillera de la Sal (Salt Mountain Range). I then found myself at the base of El Anfiteatro (the Amphitheater) tired, unaware of a camping ban, and without a tourist in site, I put up my tent in the sand and enjoyed a warm, quiet, solitary night…..
Whether you choose to walk, bike, or drive to Moon Valley, on this day we will visit the Cordillera de la Sal (Salt Mountain Range), which is a mountainous system that is located in the middle of the Salar de Atacama (Atacama Salt Flat), parallel to the Cordillera Domeyko (Domeyko Mountain Range) and the Cordillera Occidental (Andes Mountain Range). Due to its special morphology, you might feel like you are on another planet, or shall we say “on the Moon”. To enhance the experience even more, we will walk through some caverns as well as in higher sections of the Cordillera de la Sal (Salt Mountain Range) where we will have the optimum view to watch the sunset, observe the sand dunes, and the work the wind has done in eroding certain formations.

Included: Water, snack, hiking poles, visit to Vallecito and Lickanantai viewpoint.

Does Not include: Entrance fee (Actually no ticket fee), Bike rental

Duration: 4-5 hours.

Altitude: 2400 – 2600 masl.

Price in Private: $150.000, in 4WD up 6 travellers. Groups of 7 travellers or more: Please consult for rates

Lagunita, Ojos del Salar And Laguna Tebenquiche; 4WD, Hiking

On this excursion we will have the chance to visit the northern part of the Salar de Atacama (Atacama Salt Flat) and one of the lagoons formed by waters that emerge from under the surface of the salt flat. Its high rates of salinity due to the high concentration of salt causes “Aqueous Density” which creates buoyancy, causing travelers to float to the surface of the water. When we visit this region in the afternoon we will be able to watch the sunset over Laguna Tebenquiche (Tebenquiche Lagoon).

Included: Water, Snack and Drinks, Swimming in Lagunita.

Does Not include: Entrance fee ($10.000 p/p).

Duration: 5 hours.

Altitude: 2350 – 2450 masl.

Price in Private: $150.000, in 4WD up 6 travellers. Groups of 7 travelers or more: Please consult for rates

Salar de Atacama and Lagunas Altiplanicas, extension to Piedras Rojas

On this trip we will visit some of the most beautiful places in southeastern San Pedro de Atacama. We will visit the salt flat and learn about how it forms, Chaxa Lagoon where we can observe a variety of small birds, the endemic Fabian Lizard and the Andean, James, and Austral flamingos (depending on the season), among other species. Then, as we approach the volcanoes we will climb altitude and go up into the mountains where we can see the pre-puna vegetation also known as “tolares” that is located around 3,500 masl or 2,175 fasl. Once we reach the puna we can see flora and fauna native to the zone such as the Vicuña, Andean Fox or Culpeo Fox, and scrubland. We can also sight remains of past volcanic eruptions called ignimbrite (volcanic, pumice stone) fields. And finally we will experience the breathtaking views of two lagoons that were formed over 4,000 meters or 2,485 feet in the high-plateau, where we can observe the near endangered Horned Coot.

Being that it is a long expedition, the travelers will be consulted whether they prefer to continue to Piedras Rojas (Red Rocks) or return to San Pedro. Should the travelers choose to continue the journey, we will see high-plateau landscapes of a gorgeous color combinations and find ourselves enduring winds that remind us of our own fragility itself in these tough weather conditions.

Included: Water, snack, lunch.

Does Not include: Entrance fee ($5.500 p/p)

Duration: 8 hours, with extension to Piedras Rojas, 11 hours.

Altitude: 2350 – 4200 masl.

Price in private: $300.000, with extension to Piedras Rojas $270.000.- Groups of 7 travellers or more: Please consult for rates

Tatio Geysers. (4WD, Hiking)

On this excursion we will visit the Geysers del Tatio (Tatio Geysers), the largest geothermal field in the southern hemisphere, where we will see the same waters rise above the surface that were heated 1 kilometer or .6 miles below the Earth’s surface by the Tatio Volcano’s activity. In order to arrive we must travel 100 km or 62 miles north of San Pedro de Atacama, ascending the high-plateau where we can visit a few wetlands with birds such as the Andean Coot, Giant Coot, Andean Gull, Andean Goose, Puna Duck, Juarjual Duck, Austral Flamingo, James Flamingo and animals such as the Vicuña, the Andean Fox, among others.

Includes: water, breakfast or lunch, visits to the Tatio Geysers, Geyser Blanco hot springs, Hidden Bofedal, Putana and Machuca Bofedal

Does Not include: Entrance fees: Geysers del Tatio, $15.000 CLP p/p.

Duration: 8 hours.

Altitude: 2400 – 4500 masl.

Price in Private: $250.000, for up to 6 travelers. Groups of 7 travelers or more: Please consult for rates

Tatio Geysers with return to Calama. (4WD, Hiking)

On this trip we will visit the Geysers del Tatio, however, after having breakfast at 4,250 masl or 2,640 fasl, we will go directly west, through the quebrada Tchita (Tchita Ravine), crossing the Cordillera Domeyko (Domeyko Mountain Range) to visit the beautiful, untouched, traditional village of Caspana.

From here we continue the descent towards the west to cross El Desierto de Atacama (the Atacama Desert), the driest desert on Earth, until we reach the town of Chiuchiu, which is located on the banks of the Río Loa (Loa River). Here we can visit Chile´s oldest church, built in 1611, with a cactus wood roof, supported by a beautiful adobe structure. If time allows we will visit the National Monument of Lasana Pukara, a Pre-Columbian fortress.

Includes: water, breakfast, Geyser Blanco hot springs, visits to Caspana Village, lunch, Pukara de Lasana, and the town of Chiuchiu.

Does Not include: Entrance fees: $17.000 CLP pp.

Duration: 12 hours

Altitude: 2200 – 4600 masl.

Price in Private: $420.000, for up to 6 travelers. Groups of 7 travelers or more: Please consult for rates.

Cactus Valley and Puritama Hot Springs (4WD, MTB).

On this excursion we will ascend to the high-plateau, where we will visit the quebrada del Río Puritama (Puritama River Stream), where the cactus species Echinopsis Atacamensis abunds. Many of these cactus are more than 150 years old!

Then we will go to the Puritama Hot Springs (Puri meaning “water”, Tama meaning “hot” in the indigenous Kunza language), where we will find 8 pools varying between 28 and 32 degrees Celsius or 82.4 degrees to 89.9 degrees Fahrenheit. These waters are heated underground by the Volcán Putana (Putana Volcano) and then emerge from the interiors of the quebrada Putana (Puritama Ravine).

Alternative option: A 25 kilometer or 15.5 mile descent of 1,100 meters or .68 miles on bike from Termas de Puritama (Puritama Hot Springs) to San Pedro de Atacama

Includes: water, snacks and beverages

Does Not include: Bike rental. Entrance fees: Puritama Hot Springs $60.000 CLP per group.

Duration: 4-5 hours

Altitude: 2400 – 3500 masl.

Price in Private: $150.000, for up to 6 travelers. Groups of 7 travelers or more: Please consult for rates

Lagunas Escondidas de Baltinache and Vallecito

On this outing we will travel west through the Llano de Paciencia (Plain of Patience), which is one of the driest places in the Salar de Atacama (Atacama Salt Flat) and is located in between the Cordillera Domeyko and Cordillera de la Sal (Domeyko and Salt Mountain Ranges). After about an hour of travel through the Llano de Paciencia, which could test our “patience”, we will arrive to our destination, Lagunas Escondidas de Baltinache (Baltinache´s Hidden Lagoons) where we will find 7 lagoons varying from light blue to turquoise that emerge from below the Earth’s surface. Two of the seven lagoons are apt for swimming. Just as in the Laguna Piedra (Stone Lagoon), the high concentration of salts causes a sufficient density so that we can effortlessly float in the water.

Includes: water, lunch or snacks and beverages. Visit to Vallecito

Does Not include: Entrance fees: $10.000 p/p

Duration: 6 hours

Altitude: 2400 – 2600 masl.

Price in Private: $200.000, for up to 6 travelers. Groups of 7 travelers or more: Please consult for rates

Tara and Pujsa Salt Flats; 4WD, Hiking

On this occasion we will travel east ascending a mountain that will quickly allow us to to arrive at 4,600 masl or 2,858 fasl to the high-plateau where we can spot springs formed by snowmelt from the high peaks. These streams form vegas (wetlands) like the Bofedal Quepiaco (Quepiaco Wetlands); these areas act as meeting places for several types of Andean birds such as the Juarjual Duck, Coot, Flamingos, Andean Gull, as well as others. We can see the fragil and timid Vicuña in its natural habitat of the high-plateau and if we are lucky, perhaps we will see a Anden Fox. Other species that are more difficult to spot but not impossible are the Suri or Ñandu and the Puma.

Then we will visit a salar (salt flat) less commonly visited called Salar de Pujsa (Pujsa Salt Flat), nesting place of the James Flamingo, which in cool weather can be found in the high-plateau and during colder months are found down in the lagoons of the Salar de Atacama (Atacama Salt Flat Basin). We can spot the Volcán Pili (Pili Volcano), meaning duck, and the Volcán Acamarachi (Acamarachi Volcano). meaning stone snail, in the indigenous Kunza language. The Volcán Acamarachi (Acamarachi Volcano) is also one of many Incan alpine sanctuaries where they would connect with their “Apus” or gods.

Next, we will travel northwest entering the Caldera la Pacana (Pacana Crater), a huge volcanic depression of 60 meters wide by 35 meters long or 197 feet wide by 115 miles long, where we will be able to see the latest erosionary acts which created the Monjes de Pacana (Pacana Monks), ignimbrite formations and statues, which continue to erode with the high winds, sands, and sediments of the high-plateau.

Later, we will cross over to the Salar de Tara (Tara Salt Flat) and Laguna Tara (Tara Lagoon) located within a protected wetland Sitio Ramsar (Ramsar Site) within Reserva Nacional de los Flamencos (The National Flamingos Reserve). You will be amazed by how immense, gorgeous, and pristine this site is. Internationally renowned photographers who have visited this site, have mentioned that it was one of the most beautiful landscapes they have ever captured.

Includes: Water and lunch

No incluye: N/A

Duration: 8 hours

Altitude: 2400 – 4800 masl.

Price in Private: $300.000, for up to 6 travelers. Groups of 7 travelers or more: Please consult for rates

Valle del Arcoiris; 4WD, Hiking

On this occasion we will travel west, heading up into the Domeyko Mountain Range where we can spot the Guanaco, a Camelid similar to the Vicuña, however it is a bit larger in size and enjoys greater autonomy as it does not depend on having access to water currents to survive. We will continue going north until we reach the Yerbas Buenas sector, an ancient trade route where various types of exchange (goods, cultural, etc) occurred connecting the caravan traffic between the Chilean coastal towns and present-day northeastern towns of Argentina. The evidence of various cultures passing through this sector can be found in the petroglyphs or rock paintings which we will observe and attempt to interpret.

From here we will visit the Valle del Río Salado (Salty River Valley), a lovely valley which leads us to the breathtaking Valle del Arcoiris (Rainbow Valley). Here in this geological museum we will learn about the Earth’s processes which gave origin to these colorful formations.

Includes: water, lunch, or snack and bevereages

Does Not include: Entrance Fees: Yerbas Buenas $3.000 p/p

Duration: 5 hours

Altitude: 2400 – 3400 masl.

Price in Private: $180.000, for up to 6 travelers. Groups of 7 travelers or more: Please consult for rates

Pukara de Quítor, Valle de Catarpe and Garganta del Diablo

On this outing we will ascend the gentle slope of the Río San Pedro (San Pedro River) where we will encounter surprising views of the green vegetation of the Valle de Catarpe (Catarpe Valley) that contrast beautifully with the orange color palette of the Salt Mountain Range. Here the Incas did not only pass through on foot, but rather they installed themselves in the valley and constructed an administrative center in the 15th century. Later in the 16th century, the Spanish conquistadors finally defeated the Atacamenian people who took refuge at the Pukará de Quitor fortress, thus initiating the decline of the Lickanantai culture.

Includes: water, individual snack, visits to the Pukará de Quitor (Pukará de Quitor Fortress), Capilla San Isidro (Saint Isidore Chapel), and Garganta del Diablo (Devil's Throat Gorge).

Does Not Include: “Bicycle rental. Entrance fee: $5.000CLP p/p

Difficulty: Moderate

Duración: 4-5 horas.

Altitud: 2400 – 2500 msnm.

Price in Private: $100.000 CLP for up to 12 travelers

Valle de Catarpe, by tunnel and cornice to Valle de Marte

On this outing we will ascend the gentle slope of the Río San Pedro (San Pedro River) where we will encounter surprising views of the green vegetation of the Valle de Catarpe (Catarpe Valley) that contrast beautifully with the orange color palette of the Cordillera de la Sal (Salt Mountain Range). Here the Incas did not only pass through on foot, but rather they installed themselves in the valley and constructed an administrative center in the 15th century. Later in the 16th century, the Spanish conquistadors finally defeated the Atacamenian people who took refuge at the Pukará de Quitor fortress, thus initiating the decline of the Lickanantai culture. We will then cross the Cordillera de la Sal (Salt Mountain Range) and return to San Pedro via the Cornisa de Catarpe (Catarpe Cornice) path, giving us an aerial view of the Valle de Catarpe (Catarpe Valley), and leading us to the upper sector of the Valle de Marte (Mars Valley). Then we will descend the sandy valley which connects us to the main road which takes us back to San Pedro de Atacama.
.

Includes: water, individual snack, visits to the Catarpe Tunnel and Cornices, and Mars Valley

Does NOT include: Bike rental. Entrance fees: $3.000 CLP p/p

Difficulty: High

Duration: 5 hours

Altitude: 2,400 - 2,700 masl

Price in Private: $100.000 CLP for up to 12 travelers.

“Llamas Caravan (Hiking),
Lickanantai Experience and Lunch in Thematic Restaurant.

On this occasion we will learn about the shepherding of llamas and the thousand year old history regarding caravan expeditions and the commercial exchange that occurred between the Atacamenian people and Amazonian and coastal peoples. We will walk among the llamas in the Coyo community or “ayllu” as the indigenous would say. Later, we will learn about traditions and customs of the native peoples, especially related to cooking as we will taste test some local products. We will finish the day at a restaurant where we will enjoy a delicious lunch made with local products.
.

Includes: water, local product tasting, lunch.

Does NOT include: N/A

Difficulty: low

Duration: 4 hours

Altitude: 2,400 masl

Price: $70.000 CLP p/p for 4 people (minimum)

Climb to Mount Quimal (4.278 m), (VTT, Hiking).

The local legend says that on August 1st, at dawn, the shadow of the Volcán Licancabur (Licancabur Volcano), the lead male figure in the folktale casts his glance upon the lady Cerro Quimal (Mount Quimal), thus consummating their forbidden love for one another. Interesting fact: In local tales, volcanoes are considered to be either male or female personas. Furthermore, Cerro Quimal (Mount Quimal), which is part of the Cordillera Domeyko (Domeyko Mountain Range), actually stands out as the highest point visible from the Cuenca del Salar de Atacama (Atacama Salt Flat Basin).

.

Includes: water, individual snack, isotonic drink, soup, and hot beverages, hiking poles, gloves and balaclava.

Does NOT include: Hiking boots, warm clothes, sunglasses, or goggles

Difficulty: Moderate

Duration: 9 hours, between 6:00 AM and 3:00 PM

Altitude: 2.400 - 4.278 masl

Suitable season: Weather Conditions and Appropriate Hiking Season: Can be visited all year. However, successful climbs completed to the peak have been completed between December to March.

Value in Private: $360.000 for up to 5 travelers.

Tocko Volcano Climbing (5.604 msnm), (VTT, Hiking, MTB).

This is an excellent hike for those who are looking to acclimate their bodies in preparation for climbs at higher altitudes like the Volcanes Licancabur and Ojos del Salado (Licancabur and Eyes of the Salted Volcano). Also, due to the fact that it is a non-technical ascent, it is ideal for those are just beginning to climb at high altitudes (alpine mountaineering).

On this expedition we will travel east to the high-plateau until we arrive at the base of the volcano. Depending on the snow level, we will exit the 4WD and start our ascent between 5,000 and 5,200 meters. From here we will ascend for around two hours on a trail that will take us to the summit. Here on top of Mount Toco we will have a spectacular view of Volcanes Licancabur and Juriques (Licancabur and Juriques Volcanoes), as well as the Laguna Blanca (White Lagoon) to the north of us. Looking towards the south, with a clear sky we will be able to see the impressive Volcán Llullaillaco (Llullaillaco Volcano).

Alternative: Conquer Cerro Toco on bike. Enjoy a 2,800 meter or 9,186 foot descent starting at the base of Cerro Toco at 5,200 meters or 17,060 feet and finishing our trip in San Pedro de Atacama

.

Includes: water, individual snack, isotonic drink, soup, hot beverages, hiking poles, gloves and balaclava

Does NOT include: Bike rental. Hiking boots, warm clothing, sunglasses and goggles.

Difficulty: Moderate

Duration: 7 hours (7:00 AM - 2:00 PM). Alternative: 9 hours

Altitude: 2400 – 5604 masl

Suitable season: Weather Conditions and Appropriate Hiking Season: Can be visited all year. However, successful climbs completed to the peak have been completed in March and April and from July to December.

Value in Private: $280.000 (Hiking) for up to 6 travelers. $350.000 (MTB) for up to 6 travelers.

Láscar Volcano Climbing

Volcán Lascar (Lascar Volcano) or Tongue of Fire as the locals say, is one of the most active volcanoes in the country, and constantly exhibits an active steam vent or fumarole. Its last eruption was in 1993 and the last significant volcanic activity occured in 2015. Due to its activity it is constantly being monitored.

Being that it is a day hike, it will also help you get used to the altitude so that you can climb higher volcanoes like Licancabur and Eyes of the Salted Volcano should you choose. The hike is a bit steeper and more challenging than Cerro Toco (Toco Volcano), it will take about three hours to reach the crater and another forty minutes to reach the summit.

Near Volcán Lascar (Lascar Volcano), there are many other volcanoes that are recognized as alpine sanctuaries by the Atacamenian people such as the Pili, Chiliques, Tumisa Volcanoes. Lascar itself could have also been used as an alpine sanctuary, however any vestiges that existed in the past, are no longer, due to it volcanic activity.


Includes: water, breakfast, individual snack, isotonic drink, soup, hot beverages, hiking poles, gloves, and balaclava.

Does NOT include: Hiking boots, warm clothing, sunglasses or goggles.

Difficulty: Moderate

Duration: 12 hours

Altitude: 2400 – 5.600 masl”

Suitable season: Weather Conditions and Appropriate Hiking Season: Can be visited all year. However, successful climbs completed to the peak have been completed in March and April and from July to December.

Price in Private: $360.000 CLP for up to 5 travelers

Licancabur Volcano Climbing (5.916 msnm)

This volcano is undoubtedly the most impressive and striking of all the volcanoes in the Salar de Atacama (Atacama Salt Flat Basin). Here we will be able to admire the drastic elevation difference between the base of the basin and the summit of the volcano; it is an impressive three and half kilometers or 11.5 miles!

There are many stories and legends about the male persona of the Volcán Licancabur (Licancabur Volcano); some of these stories could be true and while with others it could be hard to tell. However, we can confirm with our own eyes the existence of the little town of Licancabur at the base of the volcano on the Bolivian side where we can identify ancient Incan ruins presumably used as a rest area before continuing the climb up the volcano. There is another site at the summit of the volcano where ruins were found. Years ago cactus wood was found here that was mostly likely used to build a fire at the summit where rituals were practiced by the Incas. Others have told the story about a quartz sphere that was found and then lost on a dive in the small lagoon that can be found in the crater of the volcano.

To complete this climb, one of the requirements is that the travelers do other alpine hikes at higher elevations, as to get accustomed to the extreme conditions.

While the hike is not technically challenging, it is physically demanding. The first day we will have dinner and spend the night in a mountain shelter.

The next day around 3:00 AM, we will head to the base of the volcano and complete a six to seven hour ascension, and a short, three hour descent.

Alternative: A 2.400 meter descent on bike from Hito Cajón at 4.800 masl back down to San Pedro de Atacama.




Includes: water, breakfast, individual snack, isotonic drink, soup, hot beverages, hiking poles, gloves, and balaclava. One night's lodging. Two guides per group

Does NOT include: Bike rental. Hiking boots, warm clothing, sunglasses and goggles. Appropriate visa and fees paid for entry to Bolivia depending on your country of origin (current passport). Entrance fee: Reserva Nacional Eduardo Avaroa.

Dificulty: Moderate.

Altitud: 2400 - 5916 msnm.

Weather Conditions and Appropriate Hiking Season: Can be visited all year. However, successful climbs completed to the peak have been completed in March and April and from September to December.

Price in Private: $720.000 CLP for up to 4 travelers. $800.000 CLP for up to 5 people.

Download our recommendations, where you will find detailed information.

Recommendations