DAY 01: ARICA: City Tour
Arrival, reception and transfer to chosen hotel.
In the afternoon city tour in Arica. Set off toward Plaza Colon, visiting San Marcos Cathedral and the House of Culture, built at Gustavo Eiffel’s workshop. Visit to the Hill of Arica and panoramic view of the city. On our way to the Valley of Azapa we will see ancient petroglyphs of nomad tribes that dwelled in the desert. Arrival in the San Miguel Archaeological Museum, where the Chinchorro Mummies are exhibited; valuable vestiges of mysterious groups of fishermen that developed the oldest mummification process dating 5.000 years BC, "Mummies of Complicated Preparation". The mummified bodies and the fragile remains of their material culture were superbly preserved by the sands of the desert.
DAY 02: ARICA: Tour Lauca National Park
Breakfast. Early departure from Arica, going across the Valley of Lluta, the desert and the pre cordillera until reaching the altiplano, where the Lauca National Park is located; there we will appreciate a great variety of native flora and fauna within an environment of natural beauty revered and respected by the local Aymara people as a sacred place. The Lake of Chungara, one of the highest in the world (4.517 metros of altitude) declared Biosphere Reserve, along with the beautiful “Payachatas” (Parinacota and Pomerape Volcanoes), which are Mallkus (divinities) for the Aymara culture. Nearby the lake, numerous lagoons and wetlands allow life in the altiplano. Aymara settlements, herds of llamas and alpacas join the native fauna of vicuñas, guanacos, vizcachas and birds. We will visit: the Valley of Lluta, Cacti Creek, the Pucara (fortress) of Copaquilla, Inca Tambos (inns) of Zapahuira, Parinacota and Putre. Breakfast and box lunch on the route.
DAY 03: ARICA – IQUIQUE
Breakfast. In due time transfer to the bus terminal or airport in Arica to make a connection to the City of Iquique. Reception and transfer to your hotel. (See optional land transportation with tour).
DAY 04: IQUIQUE: City Tour
Breakfast. Visit to a city known in old times as the great port of saltpeter and which today combines modern constructions and tourism with architectonic relics of American Georgian style.
The tour begins along the extensive coastal sector, the Cavancha Peninsula and beautiful beaches, in order to advance toward the historic center with the architectonic beauty of its avenues built in the late XIX century, dressed with glossy Oregon pine; its majestic and imposing Municipal Theater stand out, the Astoreca Palace, a museum that hosts the Casa de la Cultura (House of Culture). Visit to the exotic building of the Spanish Center, of Moor-like style, with stuccos and polychrome woods. Continuation toward the port sector and the monument to “The Unknown Seaman” in the famous cove of Iquique, in memoriam to Captain Arturo Prat, national hero killed in this place during the War of the Pacific. Return to the hotel.
DAY 05: IQUIQUE: Excursion Saltpeter Offices, Salt Deposit of Pintados and Oasis of Pica
Excursion to the abandoned salt deposits in the Desert of Atacama, to the petroglyphs of the salt deposit of Pintados and to the Oasis of Pica. Early departure crossing the cordillera from the coast toward the inner desert of Iquique, on the ascension we will be able to appreciate a spectacular panoramic view of the City of Iquique near the ocean and its beautiful beaches, where the gigantic and sharpened dune Cerro Dragon stands out. We will continue through the arid plain that presents us with its immensity and beautiful contrasts in colors. We will stop at the former offices of the Santa Laura and Humberstone saltpeter mines, declared National Monument, where we will discover the splendorous past of saltpeter. Its architecture stands out for its boilers, chimneys, church, store, hotel and theater. We will leave behind the ghost towns bound for the petroglyphs of Pintados, one of Chile’s most important archeological patrimonies, more than 400 figures drawn along the slopes of the mountains in panels or theme groups. They were made with mosaic, scratched and mix techniques by the nomad tribes who inhabited the zone. We will continue toward the Oasis of Pica with its church from the XVII century. Lunch and/or time off to enjoy the thermal baths in the lagoon. Visit to the Oasis of Matilla nearby and to the sanctuary and Town of Tirana. Return to Iquique.
DAY 06: IQUIQUE – SAN PEDRO: Visit to the Valle de la Luna
Breakfast. In due time transfer to the bus terminal or the airport in Iquique. (See optional land transportation with tour to San Pedro de Atacama).
Arrival in Calama, reception and transfer to San Pedro de Atacama, a small town located at 98 Km from Calama at the foot of the Andean Cordillera and beside the great salt deposit of Atacama.
In the afternoon visit to the mythical Valle de la Luna, a landscape of curious geological formations dyed in white by the salt, which gives it a moonlike aspect. On the way we will stop to take pictures of the salt cordillera. In Valle de la Luna we will take a hike across different sectors, we will visit the statues of salt called “Las Tres Marias”, the mine and caverns of salt, finishing at the great Central Dune, from where we will watch the sunset and a panoramic view of the valley and cordillera surrounding San Pedro. Return to your hotel.
DAY 07: SAN PEDRO DE ATACAMA: Archaeological Tour and Salt Deposit of Atacama
Breakfast. In the morning we will visit the Padre Le Paige Museum and the archaeological ruins located in the surroundings of San Pedro, through which we can appreciate the genesis and development of the Atacama Culture. We will visit the Pucara de Quitor, a fortress built in the XII century of our time, where the local culture stood to face the Spanish conquest. We will visit the ruins of the Village of Tulor, the first cultural remains in the zone dating back 2.800 years. Return to San Pedro through the Ayllu (Incan social and administrative center) of Sequitor.
In the afternoon we will visit the Salt Deposit of Atacama, which is the largest salt deposit in Chile and the second largest in South America, after that of Uyuni (Bolivia).
On the way we will stop in the Town of Toconao, a traditional town built of liparite rocks, of volcanic origins. On the streets we can appreciate typical handicraft from the zone of Atacama (made of wool of llama, alpaca, wood of cactus and volcanic rock), besides the Tower of San Lucas (National Monument and symbol of the town). Later we will visit the quarries of liparite rock and the Valley of Jerez.
We continue towards the salt deposit, at 2,305 meters above sea level; an endless white, rough mantle of salt, stained by the fine dust of the desert, under which there is a large lake that emerges to the surface in the form of small lagoons that contain an interesting variety of wildlife, with the pink flamingoes, one of the three species of these birds who have their habitat in the high cordillera, standing out.. We will watch the sunset at the side of the Chaxa Lagoon to then return to San Pedro de Atacama.
DAY 08: SAN PEDRO DE ATACAMA: Visit Geysers of Tatio
At dawn, (04:00 AM) we will set off toward the Geysers of Tatio, a spectacular geothermic field located at 4,320 meters above sea level, with cracks that expel thick columns of steam with temperatures reaching 85° C. At dawn, when temperatures drop below zero, the landscape becomes yet more amazing and the jets can reach up to 7-meter heights. The phenomenon is produced by the cold subterranean river getting in contact with the magma of the Tatio Volcano. Breakfast in the place and the chance of taking a bath in a pool of thermal waters. Then we will visit the Community of Machuca, located approx. 50 kilometers northeast of San Pedro de Atacama and at a height of 4.000 meters. Its adobe houses as well as its church of traditional construction have been refurbished. This town in Atacama bases its economy on pasturing and traditional agriculture. Return to San Pedro de Atacama at noon.
Afternoon off for optional excursions.
DAY 09: SAN PEDRO DE ATACAMA - CALAMA
Breakfast. In due time transfer to the airport of Calama to take your returning flight.
End of our services