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Atacama Moon

Atacama Desert Trek

Example 7 Day Tour
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Discover the mystical beauty and inspiring geology of the Atacama Desert. Witness the fantastic colorful display of the Valley of the Moon at sunset. Visit the altiplanic lagoons Miscanti & Meñiques and spend a day visiting the Tatio Geysers. With more time, you can choose from a variety of day tours that explore this incredible region. The opportunities to explore this region are endless. Spend your nights in San Pedro de Atacama, where lodge options provide relaxing accommodations while appreciating the traditional ways of life of the indigenous communities.
The salt flats of the Atacama Desert stretch as far as the eye can seeA magnificent sunset over Atacama's ValleyFlamingos in the lagoons of the Atacama DesertAtacama DesertLooking out over the Atacama DesertOn top of the world in the Atacama Desert, ChileEnjoy your stay at the uniquely stucco Hotel AltiplanicoFlamingos in Bolivia's Salt FlatsTatio GeysersThe salt flats of the Atacama Desert stretch as far as the eye can seeAtacama Moon
  • Discover the mystical beauty and inspiring geology of the Atacama Desert
  • See turquoise lagoons contrasting with the desert reds and oranges.
  • Experience the Geysers of Tatio as boiling steam bursts into the sky.
  • Watch the moon rise over the wind-sculpted salt statues in the Moon Valley
Activity Level: Relaxed

Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Arrive Atacama

We’ll arrive at Calama Airport and drive straight to San Pedro de Atacama, passing via the Cordillera de la Sal's spectacular rock formations (Salt mountains). We get a briefing on the future days over lunch in San Pedro, and then we go on our first trek through the enormous, magnificent Valle de la Luna in the afternoon (Moon Valley). Stroll across sand dunes until we reach the viewpoint, where we'll be treated to one of the world's most spectacular sunsets, enhanced by the Valley's warm colors.  Come back to town and stay overnight in San Pedro.

Day 2: Yerbas Buenas to Valle del Arcoiris

After breakfast, we'll drive to Quitor's Fortress and go on a hike to the San Pedro River's mouth, stopping to explore minor canyons along the way. At several points, the path crosses the river, and there are distinctive geological formations. We'll camp under the beautiful Atacama sky at the end of the day.

Day 3: Trek to Rio Grande

  • Hotels
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Begin the day with a strenuous hike that will take us from the riverbed to the plateau, going to a greater altitude. We'll get a beautiful perspective of the abandoned mines, which are home to a lot of tales.

In the midst of the parched barren desert, Trail continues through the river canyon, where huge cactus emerge. Some parts of the valley are so arid that scientists have yet to discover life or even microorganisms. We'll set up tent on the riverbanks of the Rio Grande Village, one of the few remaining indigenous towns of the Atacameo people.

Day 4: Rio Grande to Machuca

  • Hotels
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
As we continue towards Machuca Village, it will be the most physically demanding day of the hike. The road continues along little streams through narrow, scenic valleys populated by indigenous people and their llama herds. We'll keep hiking up rocky desert gorges, gaining height, until we arrive at Machuca's wetlands, which are teeming with local fauna. From here, we have a spectacular view of Licancabur Volcano, the Atacameo people's sacred mountain. We'll spend the evening relaxing and acclimating at our campground close to a large 'bofedal' - wetlands where llamas graze - at 4,000 m (13,000 ft) above sea level.

Day 5: Machuca to Tatio Geysers and Copa Coya

  • Hotel
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch
After a hearty breakfast,We'll depart Machuca after a healthy breakfast and go to the Tatio Geysers, arriving just after the massive dawn crowds have left and the Geysers may be enjoyed in sunshine at a more relaxing pace and nice temperature. Boiling steam bursts up to 40 meters above the earth's surface from over 900 meters below.

Following the geysers, we'll embark on a three-hour hike to a high Andean plateau known as Copa Coya, which is also the name of the trail. We'll witness Andean greenery and possibly viscachas (chinchilla-like animals) during our trek, and we'll pause for lunch with a view. A tough upward ascent leads to the summit at the end of the walk. We end the day back at our hotel.

Day 6: Atacama Salt Flat and Lagoons

  • Hotel
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
We get up feeling refreshed and satisfied that we crossed the heart of Atacama with the same explorer spirit of its first inhabitants. Drive to the incredible Salt Flats, which are home to incredible species including Chilean Pink Flamingos. Then we drive on to the magnificent Miscanti and Miiques Lagoons, which have turquoise waters that contrast nicely with the autumnal colors of the Altiplanic hills. It's a breathtaking landscape! Our final night will be spent in San Pedro.

Day 7: Return Home

  • 1 Breakfast
Depart from your lodge and return to Calama airport to fly on to your next adventure or return to Santiago to fly home. With extra time in Atacama, you can wander around the village, visiting the handicraft shops, church, and museum.


Atacama Desert - Hotels

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  • 6 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 6 Dinners
  • 6 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Entrance Fee: Valley of the Moon 
  • Entrance Fee: Atacama Salt Flat and Lagoons
  • Entrance Fee: El Tatio Geyser
  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)


When to Go

Good to ideal period to travel, and many people choose to visit at this time.

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The trip was terrific with great planning on your part. Most of the adventures were not mainstream and somewhat off the beaten path which made it especially enjoyable!! We felt taken care of and you all were readily available to respond to questions and issues. I would highly recommend your company and friends have already expressed interest based on our pictures and excitement.
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