DURATION
7 DAYS

DIFFICULTY LEVEL:
EASY

Expedition to the North and Iquique

If you have limited time but do not want to miss any of the main attractions of Northern Chile, we recommend this adventure that will take you to explore the best destinations in the region over 7 days: the famous Valley of the Moon with its stunning extraterrestrial surface, the Park Lauca National (world biosphere reserve), the Tatio Geysers, the port city of Iquique, one of the main tax-free zones in South America, the Quillagua oasis, declared one of the most arid points on earth by National Geographic, and the white town of Toconao on the edge of the Atacama Salt Flats, among others!

Highlight

  • Lauca National Park
  • Salar de Surire
  • Isluga Volcano National Park
  • Atacama Desert
  • Atacama Salt Flat
  • Highland Lagoons
  • Valley of the Moon
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Itinerary

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Itinerary

Our operator will pick you up at your hotel to start the tour at 9:00 a.m. On this full day tour you will vist the Lluta Valley, discover what a candelabra cactus is and find out we we mean by the area we call the “magnetic zone”, and you will visit a pre-Incan fortress in Copaquilla before having lunch in Zapahuira. You will be able to visit the town of Socoroma in the Andean foothills at 3000 masl, as well as the Mirador de Putre before crossing the 4000 masl threshold in the Bofedal de las Cuevas, where a 40 min walk awaits you. On the way you will see wild vicuñas, vizcachas and we will know bofedales, the base of the altiplano’s ecosystem (Mirador Bofedal de Parinacota). If you like birds you will see a great variety like the pythons of the north, guallatas, taguas, among others. You will see Lake Chungara and the Cotacotani Lagoons and the visit to the town of Parinacota will be the last stop of the full day tour. You will return to Putre at approximately 6:00 p.m.
Today you will depart from Putre at approximately 08:00am, and you will have breakfast in the Bofedal de las Cuevas (4310 masl). You will continue your trip to Ancuta and Guallatire, two altiplanic villages at 4000 meters above sea level at the foot of the Guallatire volcano, which is still active! Towards 12:00 hs. you will arrive at the Salar de Surire. After walking for about an hour you will visit Chilcaya to photograph the incredible flora and fauna seen at this national monument and then continue to the Polloquere hot springs located at 4270 masl where you can have a picnic and bathe. With renewed energy, you will leave for Mulluri- Mirador de Arabilla, Enquelga. And you will also visit the Isluga Volcano National Park where you will see its church and numerous bofedales. You will return to Colchane at 7:00 p.m.
Around 8:00 a.m. you will set out to visit the giant cactus in Rio Grande before arriving at the town of Cariquima, famous for its skilled craft weavers who have been producing artisan good for centuries. You will begin the descent towards the Quebrada de la Felicidad and on the way stop at the Victoria Lookout and enjoy the beautiful view of the volcanic canyons and rocks. You will continue to visit the Chusmiza and Pachica Viewpoints, located on the edge of the Atacama Desert. The crossing will continue to Cerro Unitas to observe the largest geoglyphs in the area: “El Gigante de Atacama”. You will stop in Huara to have lunch and then you will visit the salt marshes of Humberstone and Santa Laura, arriving at Iquique at 5:00 p.m.
From Iquique, after breakfast, you will head to visit the Pintados Geoglyphs that contain approximately 400 figures across 66 panels where you can see men, animals, birds and abstract drawings. You will leave from here crossing the Pampa del Tamarugal National Reserve to arrive later at the small town of Quillagua, an oasis next to the Loa river with its crops and village, a church and a railway station that should not be missed. You will pass through customs at Quillagua and then cross the desert until you reach Calama, or continue to San Pedro de Atacama (2438 masl).
You will have breakfast at the hotel and leave San Pedro de Atacama early (at 8:30 am), heading south towards the town of Toconao, an oasis on the edge of the Atacama Salt Flat. Continuing along the road you will arrive at the village of Socaire (at 3218 masl), to climb to the Miscanti and Meñiques Altiplanic Lagoons located at 4350 masl inside the Flamingos National Reserve, one of the 5 zones protected by CONAF. You will return to Socaire for lunch and then descend to the edge of the Atacama Salt Flat to visit the Chaxa Lagoons, some brackish lagoons where Chilean, Andean and James flamingos feed. You will spend the night in San Pedro de Atacama.
You will leave from San Pedro de Atacama after breakfast at 08:30 hs. to the Pukara de Quitor, an impressive Atacaman fortress from the XII century. Later you will visit the village of Tulor, the earliest vestige of habitation in the salt flat. Dating from 800 AD, it is composed of circular enclosures that are interconnected with each other. They are replicated in the surrounding landscape, allowing us to contextualize this visit in situ. You will continue with the tour to visit the Padre Le Paige Museum, the most important museum in the north of Chile. You will have lunch in San Pedro de Atacama, from where you will go on an excursion to the Valley of the Moon in the afternoon (at 4:00 p.m.). The Valley of the Moon is a protected area in ​​the Flamingo National Reserve and a the folds of the mountain range at sunset allows you to see the shades and colors of the Atacama desert. You will walk through a zone of caverns and see a great dune of 500 mts that is visible at dusk. You will spend the night in San Pedro de Atacama.
Today you will leave very early (at 4:00 am) to go to the Tatio Geysers geothermal field, one of the most important natural sites in Chile, at 07:30am. As dawn awakens while we eat breakfast, you can witness the emanations of water, gas and steam, coming from mother earth. On the way to Calama, you will pass by the picturesque villages of Caspana, Chiu – Chiu until we stop for lunch in the town of Lasana. Finally you will be transferred to the Airport or to Calama.

Include:

– All transfers mentioned in the itinerary
– 6 night accommodation
– Excursion to Lauca National Park
– Excursion to Salar de Surire
– Excursion to Volcano Isluga National Park
– Excursion to salitrera Humberstone & Santa Laura
– Excursion to Geoglifos de Pintados
– Altiplanic lagoons & Salar de Atacama tour
– Excursion to Valle de la Luna
– Excursion to Geysers del Tatio
– Breakfast & Lunch mentioned in the itinerary

Not include:

– International and / or Internal Flights
– National Parks, Reserves and Museum Tickets (except for exceptions mentioned in the itinerary)
– Optional excursions
– Tips
– Medical or Cancellation Insurance

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