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TOUR: DESERT OF ATACAMA
Santiago, Viña del Mar, Valparaiso, Calama and
|Duration||:||06 days / 05 nights|
|Type / activities||:||-|
|Reservation||:||One month before planned departure|
|Tour Season||:||Every day of the year, Mondays through Sundays|
DAY 01: INTERNATIONAL ARRIVAL IN SANTIAGO
Arrival, reception at the Santiago International Airport Arturo Merino Benites and transfer to the hotel of your choice.
In the afternoon, a city tour of Santiago de Chile. The first place visited is the Cerro Santa Lucia Hill, an important architectural complex, which constitutes an attractive and notable element in the image of the city. We will continue on to the centre of the city, where the Main Square - Plaza de Armas with the Cathedral, the Royal Tribune - Real Audiencia, the Main Post Office - Correo Central, which used to be the residence of the Conquistador, and the Municipality of Santiago is situated. A few blocks away from the Plaza we will see the so called Coin Palace - La Moneda, which used to be the place where the Spaniards minted their coins, but today is the presidential palace and residence ever since the declaration of Chile's independence from the Spanish Crown.
Note: This city tour is only possible to carry out if your international flight arrives before Noon.
Overnight in Santiago de Chile.
DAY 02: SANTIAGO - VIÑA DEL MAR Y VALPARAISO
Breakfast. In the morning we will start out on our visit to the city of Valparaiso, picturesque city, rich in native architecture, inspiration of artists and poets, which has been declared Cultural Heritage of Humanity. It is located at 120 kilometres (almost 75 miles) from Santiago.
During the trip you will be able to appreciate the imposing view of the valley of Curacavi and then Casablanca. Arrival in Valparaiso.
Here we will be pleasantly surprised, by the picturesque houses climbing up the hills. We will visit Paseo 21 de Mayo (we will make a stopover at this place to appreciate the beautiful harbour, one of the most important ports in the country)
We will continue on to the neighbouring city of Viña del Mar, the Garden City, which with its paradisiacal beaches is the most important beach resort in Chile, and one of the principal ones of South America. The sea and vegetation seems to be the perfect combination for this jewel of the Pacific, also known as the Garden City. It is located 9 kilometres (about 6 miles) northwest of Valparaiso and offers all types of comfort for its visitors.
Free time for lunch (not included in tour). Return to Santiago and your hotel.
DAY 03: SANTIAGO - CALAMA - SAN PEDRO DE ATACAMA: Valley of the Moon Excursion
Breakfast. Transfer to the Santiago International Airport to board your flight to the city of Calama.
Arrival, reception and transfer to San Pedro de Atacama.
In the afternoon we will visit the Valley of the Moon - Valle de la Luna, a spectacular geological moon like landscape, with small hills but with very pointed crests and a landscape with characteristics that make it look like the moon.
DAY 04: SAN PEDRO DE ATACAMA: Salt Deposit Exccursion
Breakfast. Free Morning to optional tour.
Visit to the Salar de Atacama Salt Deposit. It is the largest salt deposit in Chile and the second largest in South America after Uyuni (Bolivia).
The salt deposit at 2,305 m.a.s.l. (Approximately 7000 feet) is an interminable white uneven blanket, speckled with the dust of the desert, beneath which there is great lake, which emerges to the surface as small lagoons, in which one will find interesting wildlife, of which we can mention the beautiful rose flamingos, one of the three species of these birds that make their habitat in the high mountains.
We will also visit the town of Toconao, a traditional town built out of volcanic stone.
Back to San Pedro de Atacama.
DAY 05: SAN PEDRO DE ATACAMA: Visit to the Tatio Geysers - Calama-Santiago
Full day excursion to the Tatio Geysers, a spectacular geothermal area at 4,320 m.a.s.l.
(Approximately 13000 feet) with fissures that expel thick columns of vapour, at temperatures that reach 85 °C. (185 F) At dawn, when temperatures drop below the freezing point, the landscape becomes even more eerie and the jets reach as high as 7 metres above the surface. This phenomenon takes place due to the contact of the ice-cold waters of the underground river with the hot magma of the Tatio volcano.
After this amazing start of the day, we continue across the highland toward Caspana, one of the most beautiful towns in Atacama, and the Town of Chiu-Chiu, which survives on the shore of the longest river of Chile and keeps the first church founded by the Spaniards, being one of the oldest towns of the basin of the Loa River.
Following the Lasana Creek we find a great number of rock paintings (petrography), testimony of the past of the Andean man. A testimony that is even more palpable in the imposing Lasana Fortress or Pukara (Contemporary of the Quitor Pukara), making it easier to have an historical perspective of the man and the desert from its walls in ruins.
The tour ends leaving the passengers at the Calama Airport in order to take a domestic flight.
Arrival, reception and transfer to the selected hotel.
Overnight in Santiago.
DAY 06: International Departure
Breakfast. Free day depending on the departure time of your flight. Transfer to airport in time to board your international flight.
|Hotels Selected for the Tour|
Santiago has a temperate climate with Mediterranean overtones. In summer - December through March - the thermometers will reach 30 ºC (86 F) while during the winter - June through August - there are heavy but short lived rains. Annual average temperatures are 14°C (55 F).
The temperatures of San Pedro de Atacama present characteristics proper to a high altitude desert. In the summer, December through March, temperature reaches an average of 27° C (80 F); peaking at 30° C, while at night it may come down to 16°C.
WHAT TO PACK.
We recommend packing light cotton clothing, t-shirts, shorts, bathing suits, sunglasses, sunscreen and blockers as well as sun hats for the very hottest hours; and, jackets, sweaters, gloves, and thick socks and other warm clothing for the chilly nights.
Tap water is safe to drink in most places but we recommend you to stick to bottled water to avoid unpleasantries.
HEALTH AND EMERGENCY SERVICES
Santiago de Chile has an important network of hospitals, clinics and medical posts. Most of these offer emergency services.
San Pedro de Atacama does not have any hospitals or clinics; the only thing available is a central medical post on the plaza, which is equipped to handle basic necessities. Thus, in the case of a major emergency it is necessary to transfer to the town of Calama to the Hospital Dr. Carlos Cisternas, located on the Avenida with the same name.
The Chilean cuisine is very varied, we can mention a few typical dishes such as: Empanada de Pino (fried dough pastries filled with onions, meat, raisins and olives), Pastel de Choclo (corn pie prepared with sweet corn, meat, eggs and olives), Porotos Granados (tender beans cooked with squash and sweet corn), Cazuela de Ave or Vacuno (chicken or beef broth with cooked vegetables), apart from the typical regional local dishes.
Lastly, you must try the exquisite Mote con Huesillos, a dessert made out of cooked fruit and sweet corn.
Restaurants in Santiago
Restaurants in San Pedro de Atacama
IMPORTANT: Turismo Enjoy Chile reserves the right to, without previous notice, make changes in the order of the excursions and trips, due to climate, river levels, arrival and departure times of aircraft or buses or any other relevant reason that may affect the best enjoyment or safety of your trip.