Red Hot Chile - Trek the Atacama Desert
Chile & Bolivia, Trek & Walk, 11 days - from £1,895 (land only) - from €2,560 (land only) - from $3,155 (land only)
Day 1: On arrival into Calama there will be a complimentary single timed transfer to the pretty oasis town of San Pedro de Atacama. The transfer takes around 1.5 hours and we will enjoy some stunning views of the impressive rock formations. On arrival in San Pedro we will have a briefing with our guide before our evening meal. KE group package services begin with the 'Welcome' dinner. Overnight hotel.
Day 2: This morning we head for the Valle de Marte (Valley of Mars) where we will walk on the Corniza Trail over the ridge of the stand stone mountains. We will have some stunning views back over the oasis. In the afternoon we make the 40min drive to the Salar de Atacama where we can spend the afternoon watching the flamingos on Chaxa Lagoon. Overnight hotel in San Pedro. Approximately 2.5 hours walking.
Day 3: After breakfast we visit the atmospheric fortress of Pukara Quitor before we depart for the Valley of the Moon. We spend the afternoon exploring its vast sand dunes, salt mines and rock formations. We end our day at perfect vantage point from which to watch the vivid sunset illuminate the dunes. We return to our hotel in San Pedro for a third night. 2hrs walking.
Day 4: We begin with a 40 min drive back towards the fort at Quitor, where we will begin out walk. We follow the San Pedro river up stream, crossing several times. As we travel further up stream broad valley floor narrows into an impressive canyon. We arrive into camp at the ghost town of San Bartolo in the mid afternoon and we'll have some time to look around before dinner. Overnight camp. 7hrs walking.
Day 5: Today's walk will be the most challenging so far as we climb higher in altitude. We follow the bed of the Rio Grande, passing the old abandoned mine at San Bartolo. We cross the river on several occasions. As we climb out of the valley the vast desert land scape opens out before us. We reach our camp, at the tiny Indian village of Rio Grande (3200m), in the late afternoon. Camp. 8hrs walking.
Day 6: Another physically demanding day. We walk through old agricultural terraces and through green cactus gardens as we climb nearly 900m out of the valley towards the village of Machuca (4100m), where we set up camp next to a water meadow. From here we will have a fantasic view of Licancabur. Camp. 7hrs walking.
Day 7: We have an early morning transfer to the geysers at Tatio. After some time to marvel at this impressive geological feature we set off on our walk to the summit of Copa Coya (4500m). This wonderful trail offers fantastic views of Atacama. Descending, we make the drive back to our hotel in San Pedro, stopping en route at the Puritama Hot Springs. Overnight hotel. 3 - 4 hrs walking.
Day 8: After a morning to relax in San Pedro we set off on the drive across the Bolivian border to Laguna Blanca (4350m) where we will spend the next two nights in a refuge. In the afternoon there will be plenty of photo opportunities as we explore around the Laguna and enjoy the views and the natural hot springs. We overnight in the mountain refuge.
Day 9: After breakfast at the refugio we transfer to Laguna Verde from where we will start our acclimatisation walk. From the base of Licancabur (4500m) we climb up to an altitude of around 5000m, we will have lunch before returning to the Laguna. We transfer back to the refuge for dinner and an early night. Overnight refuge.
Day 10: It is a 4am start for our summit walk. We begin with the drive back to Camp Inca (4500m) where we will start our climb. The ascent is not technical, but at this altitude the walking is challenging. After approx 7 hrs walking we reach the summit. The views from the top are extraordinary. We have some time to look around before descending and returning to San Pedro. Overnight Hotel. 10hrs walking.
Day 11: After breakfast we check out of our hotel and there will be a complimetary single timed transfer from San Pedro back to the airport in Calama where KE Land Only package services end.