Moon Valley (Valle de la Luna)
This journey allows participants to appreciate the surreal beauty of the landscape from many viewpoints in the Salt Mountain Range, such as the scenery of Death Valley, Moon Valley and the Andes mountain range. Includes short walks in areas with rocky outcrops, scenery formed by the wind the rain and the temperature changes of the desert. A must for photo buffs!
Atacama Salt Flat
çThe journey starts with a brief visit to Toconao village where the square and the historic church are the main attractions. Also visit a local family who lives off the sales of their handcrafts. Continue to the National Flamingo Reserve in the Atacama salt flat. There are three types of flamingo to be found here, living off the microscopic lagoon life. The views of the Andes as the sun sets are truly amazing
El Tatio Geisers
The Tatio Geisers are located at an altitude of 4300m /14,190 ft. The geothermal field has close links to the volcanic activity in the zone and consists of huge steam columns which reach heights of 12m/almost 40 ft. Breakfast is served as dawn breaks. On the way back to the village, there is the opportunity to spot families of vicuñas and if we are lucky, foxes, vizcachas and Andean ostrich. We stop in the hamlet of Machuca before returning to the hotel by vehicle.
We depart the hotel towards the highland lagoons of Miscanti and Miñiques, which are at an altitude of 4,200 m / 13,860 feet. The scenery here is ideal to make a stop in our journey and contemplate the beauty of the Altiplanic landscape, with its mountains, many contrasts and extraordinary colours. Lunch is taken in a local restaurant in the village of Socaire, a small way to give much needed support to the local community.
This is a morning excursion to make the most of the temperature at this time of day. Depart the hotel heading south by bike towards the edge of the Atacama Salt Flat. The terrain is mainly flat and slightly uneven in places. On arrival at the Cejar lagoon, the view of the thick salt crust which has formed around the water hole is amazing. The salt concentration is incredibly high here and one floats in the spectacularly clear waters. Following a swim and a rest, we return to the hotel by vehicle.
A fun excursion for the morning or afternoon. On arrival at the old road to Calama, the walk starts with a visit to some archeological sites and wonderful views of the volcanoes of the region. At a height of around 2600m/ 8580 feet, descend via the huge dune to Death Valley- an unforgettable experience!
Puritama Hot Springs
This journey has established itself as a unique experience in an environment where water is an unexpected finding! Hidden at the bottom of a steep sided gorge, surrounded by vegetation, the River Puritama has 8 natural pools, with water which has an average temperature of 33 ºC/ 91ºF at an altitude of 3500 m asl (11,482 feet). Following a lovely bathe, we return to the hotel by vehicle.
Salar de Tara
Heading east from the hotel, we travel towards the Argentinian border and the Salar de Tara. As the terrain rises, enjoy marvellous views of the Licancabur volcano and spot bird life, salt lakes and areas of marshland. At a height of 4200m/ 13,860 feet approximately igneous rock plugs from the "nuns" of Tara, a marvellous sight in the middle of an amazing plateau. Continue to Tara itself, where lunch is enjoyed.
The journey starts from the hotel, travelling in a vehicle for 1 hour 30 minutes to the starting point of the walk at a height of 4.800 m approx (16.500 feet) The peak of the volcano is at 5.650 m. / 18.645 feet and from the top there are great views of the Bolivian Altiplano and the Atacama Salt Flat to the west. After time for a break and a rest, the descent is taken slowly and safely down the same route until the vehicle is reached. Return to the hotel by vehicle. If time and the weather permits we can arrange more challenging volcano walks once Toco has been successfully conquered!
Depart the hotel in a vehicle towards Guatin Valley (2,800m/9,186ft). The confluence of two rivers takes place here; one coming from the warm thermal springs of Puritama, and the other is the Purifica River, whose waters are from the Andes Mountains. This unique mix of warm thermal spring water and cold clear mountain snowmelt gives rise to the new river which supports the unique ecosystem of the Guatin Canyon. We walk here, alongside waterfalls and rocky climbs whilst marvelling at the amazing Candelaria cactus.
A morning or afternoon excursion. Depart the hotel by vehicle and head to Devil's Canyon to start the walk. The altitude here is approx 2,450m/8,038ft. We walk on flattish ground for about an hour, on the dry river bed through formations of lime which are part of the Salt Mountain Range. We continue along an ancient caravan route, passing by petroglyphs which show the former commercial activity in the area and finish at the old settlement known as Vilama. Return to the hotel by vehicle.
To the north of San Pedro and reached by van via a steep road, is the tiny village of Machuca at an altitude of 4000 m / 13,123 feet. The village of Machuca has a privileged site surrounded by nature and in its only street we can see the roofs made of cactus and maybe taste barbecued llama, offered by the villagers. The church is of special interest for the cultural significance and birds and llamas can be seen in the area.
This walk takes place at around 4,000m/13,200ft and is a great way to acclimatize to the altitude for people who want to climb a volcano during their stay. The walk follows the river bed and on the way we can see llamas, alpacas and local birds. Stop for lunch in the abandoned mountain village of Peñaliri. Following this break, discover the abandoned terraces of the gully and continue on to the village of Río Grande, where typical vegetables are grown. Return to the hotel by vehicle.
Depart the hotel by vehicle along the road heading to Calama. We continue through the Domeyko Mountain Range to the starting point of our hike (3,000mts/9,840ft approx). The start of this hike will wind along a small gully and then open up to large rock formations marked by petroglyphs. Following dry river beds flanked by mountains we admire spectacular views from various viewpoints. After a gentle climb-descent, we will finish at the Matancilla Valley, also known as Rainbow Valley. We will have lunch here before returning to the hotel by vehicle.
Pukará de Quitor
Through vestiges of history and the occupation of the area, we can get an idea of what has happened here in the past. The idiosyncrasies of a people and their culture come to light in visits to the archeological museum in San Pedro de Atacama as does the visit to the "pukara" or Fort of Quitor.