Day 1: Calama – San Pedro de Atacama - Moon Valley.
Transfer from Calama’s airport to San Pedro de Atacama, according to flight of arrival. 4.00 p.m., departure. We start visiting one high point over the Salt Mountain range, from where we can appreciate the big salt lake of Atacama, the active Lascar volcano in the Andes, and down there the different villages “Ayllos” or oasis that are part of San Pedro de Atacama. Then we will visit The Valley of the Death from where we can see the impressive and conic “Licancabur” volcano (5916 m.a.s.l.). Always present in the area. Afterwards, in the Valley of the Moon, we will visit the Salt Caverns, the amazing formations of salt, named “Tres Marías”, and we will watch the sunset over the giant dune. We come back to San Pedro after sunset.
Day 2: Arcoiris Valley and Hierbas Buenas Petroglyphs & Ojo del Salar
Am. Visit to the Rainbow Valley, to see its hills and canyons, where formations of the rocks and layers of different materials give an aspect of rainbow of green, red, white and yellow colors. Then visit to the petroglyphs of Hierbas Buenas. This place full of drawing made for the ancient inhabitants, was the rest place for the old llama trading caravans that crossed the desert from Argentina with supplies to be trade by metals like copper, with the inhabitants of coastal areas. There are hundreds of picture of different animals including monkeys and the “two heads dragon”.
Ojos del Salar excursion:16.00 hrs. We start the excursion to visit some lagoons located in the north area of the Atacama Salt flat. After around 45 minutes of travel, arrival to the Cejar Lagoon a sink hole lake in the Salar de Atacama, 18 km from San Pedro. It has a 40% concentration of salt, producing an effect of floating like the Dead Sea. There is possible to take a bath and enjoy the warm waters. From here we will continue towards the “Ojos del Salar”, a couple of lagoons of fresh and cold water, in the middle of the desert. Then we will visit the beautiful Tebinquiche lagoon, in its waters the sky and clouds reflect showing an unique spectacle. Time to see sunset and taste the cocktail. Return arriving to San Pedro after sunset.
Day 3: Salar de Tara.
Amazing excursion in which is possible to see a wide variety of wildlife including many birds such as lesser rhea (suri), flamingoes, Andean goose (Guallatas) among others, mammals such as vizcachas, vicuñas and have an amazing view over the Atacama Desert at around 4000 of highest. We start at 7.00 a.m., following the international route to Jama border pass, straight to the east. Crossing over the Andes mountain range, the first stop is at Quepiaco Wetlands, to see the acuatic birds. Then we will continue towards the Pujsas Salt lake, to see thousands of flamingoes nesting over the white and yellow ground of the salt lake. We continue to the “Monjes de la Pacana” (big formations of rocks), and then towards the Tara Cathedrals, to finally arrive to the Tara’s Salt lake. This salt lake provides habitat for various rare and endangered species of wildlife and was designated a Wetland of International Importance in 1996, by the Ramsar Convention. Picnic lunch with view over the breathtaking landscape of the salt lake, surrounding cathedrals of rock and the Andes as background.
Day 4: Geysers of the Tatio Tour and Machuca Hamlet.
04.00 a.m. Pick up from the hotel, after around 1.5 hours of travel, we arrive at the Geysers of the Tatio. The guide will show us the geothermic field, and following the delimited trails is possible to see the columns of steam, geysers and pools of boiling water. The “magma” close to the surface warms the undersurface stone what in touch with the undersurface water produces this singular phenomenon. The best time to see them is at sunrise when each geyser is surmounted by a column of steam that condenses in the bitterly cold morning air. The steam plumes disappear as the air warms up. There is wreckage at the site from an old project of 1920, for harnessing geothermal power. You will have breakfast with the view to the geysers, after it is possible to take a bath in the thermal pool. On the road back to San Pedro we will make some stops to see and to take photograph of the landscape, volcanoes, Vicuñas (Vicugna vicugna ), cactus and typical endemic flora and fauna of the desert. Then we will continue to the Machuca hamlet to see its handicraft market and the church. Arrival to San Pedro at 12.30 hrs.
Day 5: Close Up to the Sairecabur Volcano (5971msnm.) & Puprints.
Departure from San Pedro de Atacama at 7.00 a.m., in direction to the northeast, towards the Andes. We reach the main crater of the Sairecabur volcano, with a width of 4km diameter, and at an altitude of 5,300 m.a.s.l. following an old, winding road, corresponding to a sulfur mine. Here it is possible a soft hiking for an hour, to see from a window of the crater, the majestic Laguna Verde (Bolivia) and the dimension of the Licancabur Volcano. Breakfast with a view of the Andes on the side of Bolivia. Descent to the Puritama Hot Spring, around 10.00 am, time to relax and enjoy the thermal pools (33 ° C). Return to San Pedro around 13.00 hrs.