DURATION
9 DAYS

DIFFICULTY LEVEL:
EASY

Expedition to the North

The North Expedition will bring you to the main attractions of the northern part of the country over the course of 9 days – the famous Valley of the Moon, the Tatio Geysers, the ancient Pukara de Quitor or the oasis surrounded by volcanoes that we now call the Altiplanic Lagoons – but also to visit some other unmissable destinations! Experience the Ecotruly ecological community with its Yoga Monastery and organic gardens, the Humberstone saltpeter known as the “ghost town of the Atacama Desert”, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, and the town of Pica with its thermal baths in the middle of the desert!

Highlight

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

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Itinerary

Your tour will start at 10:30 a.m. with a visit to the Agricultural Terminal to see a typical regional market. You will enter the Valley of Azapa, where you can see the Geoglifo The Tropilla and visit the Museum San Miguel de Azapa along the way. You will cross into the Lluta Valley where you can enjoy views of both valleys. Lunch will be eaten in an eco-community called Ecotruly, where you will be shown a candelabra cactus is and visit what we call the magnetic zone, and also a pre-Incan fortress in Copaquilla. You will visit the town of Socoroma located at 3000 masl in the Andean foothills. After a 1 hour walk, you will take a short coffee and biscuit break. You will return to Putre (at 3500 masl) approximately at 18:30 hs.
Today you will leave Putre at approximately 08:30 hs. You can have breakfast there or in Termas de Jurasi and then continue to the Bofedal de las Cuevas where we will do a 40 min walk. On the way you will see wild vicuñas, vizcachas and you see the bofedales which are the base of the ecosystem in the altiplano (Mirador Bofedal de Parinacota). You will also see a great variety of birds like the pythons of the north, guallatas and taguas, among others, and admire the Chungara Lake and the Cotacotani Lagoons, where you can do a 3 hour hike if you feel like it (optional). We will stop for lunch, or a picnic, In the village of Parinacota and you will have time to walk around and explore the town.
After breakfast in Putre, you will head to the Salar de Surire. You will visit Ancuta and Guallatire, two altiplanic villages at 4000 meters altitude, at the foot of the Guallatire volcano, which is still active. Towards 12:00 hs. You will arrive at the Salar de Surire and visit Chilcaya where you will take a walk of about an hour to photograph the flora and fauna and see for yourself the three types of exotic flamingos that exist in this Salar (Andean, Chilean, James). You will continue your trip to Polloquere Hot Springs (4270 masl), highly mineralized warm waters heated by the volcano that are at a temperature of 80º C. You will have time to relax, eat (picnic) and enjoy this unusual landscape. You will spend the night in a CONAF refuge.
After breakfast at the Colchane refuge, you will head towards Mulluri – Mirador de Arabilla, Enquelga. You will arrive at Isluga Volcano National Park. From there you can observe the different geological formations, the summit of the Isluga volcano and visit the town of Isluga to look around its church and the nearby bofedales. You will also see the giant Rio Grande cacti and at noon we will have a picnic. We will continue our trip to Cariquima, arriving around 4:00 p.m. This town is famous for the work of its skilled craft weavers that have been working in this trade for centuries.
Around 8:00 a.m. you will have breakfast in Cariquima, from where 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 have lunch in Huara and then you will visit the salt marshes of Humberstone and Santa Laura, arriving at the town of Pica at 5:00 p.m.
From Pica (at 1325 masl), after breakfast, you will walk towards the Cocha de Resbaladero, one of the many holes used to extract water in the Atacama Desert. These waters are semi-thermal and local people say they have medicinal properties. After taking a bath and relaxing for a while, you will leave Pica 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 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.
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
– 8 night accommodation
– Excursion to Eco Truly Community
– 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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