Atacama Desert Tour
Starting out from the capital Santiago, this unforgettable Atacama Desert tour has been designed to include the best sights and experiences around the Atacama Desert region and its communities.
- Experience the daily life of the Lickan Antay people in the Atacama Desert
- Stargaze under some of the planet’s clearest skies
- Trek through the Atacama Desert in a traditional llama caravan and hike through colourful ravines
- Sample the traditional delicacies of the indigenous and rural communities of the North
- Discover the world-renowned Altiplanic Lagoons and Salt Flats
- Enjoy an unforgettable sunrise at Tatio Mallku, South America’s highest geothermal geyser field
This is a private tour and you will be accompanied by an English-speaking local guide during all excursions. The price displayed is per person based on two people sharing. All tours can be tailor-made to suit your interests and requirements.
This Atacama Desert tour starts in the beautiful city of Santiago,before heading north into the heart of the Atacama Desert. You will discover the cultures, landscapes and history of the Atacama and its people, and experience life within its traditional and indigenous communities.
Chile is one of the most visually diverse countries in the world. Stretching over 4,300 kilometres in length, it is edged by mountains and ocean, dotted with deserts, lagoons and salt flats, and bursting with colourful cultures. The Atacama Desert is well known for being the driest desert in the world. There are places where rain has never been recorded. The Atacama is not a sand desert though. Instead it is made up of incredible mountains, volcanoes and stark rocky terrain. Thanks to the mountains, there is water in the highlands (if you are lucky, you will experience some amazing thunderstorms!) and this makes the Atacama even more unique. Wildlife has evolved to adapt to these conditions, so you will see three different species of flamingo, geese, coots, ducks and avocets, among many others. Vicunas, Guanacos and Lamas also live in these extreme conditions.
Santiago has a totally different landscape. The Andes Mountains rise up over five thousand meters on one side, while the valley is fertile, temperate and perfect for wine-growing. The city parks and tree-covered hills add to its unique landscape and it is one of the most developed cities of the southern hemisphere.
In the Atacama Desert you’ll visit the Lickan Antay people who are both promoting and strengthening their community by welcoming visitors into their homes and showing them their way of life. Travel with Sumak and you’ll meet these traditional groups of people face-to-face, learn about their beliefs, sample their cooking, shepherd llamas and be taught how to plant crops according to the night sky.
The varied geographical landscapes of Chile are home to a multitude of wildlife. On this trip you'll see rare species of birds, lagoon-dwelling flamingos and llamas. Along the way you'll hike through dramatic ravines, natural geysers and multi-coloured valleys. You'll listen to ancient stories and legends, experience breathtaking landscapes, beautiful sunsets and star-filled skies on an in-depth tour of incredible high-altitude Chile.
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- Trip duration: 9 days
- Countries visited: Chile
Adventure: Accommodation in hostels (always in a private room) and B&Bs, and sometimes in hammocks, rustic cabins or tents. Internal transport is overland rather than by plane wherever possible.
Note: this is a guideline; please refer to the tour detailed description for what is and is not included.
- Level of difficulty: Low
- Accommodation: 2 nights in a hotel in Santiago de Chile, 6 nights in a B&B in San Pedro de Atacama
- Transport: Internal flights, bus, private car
- Meals included: 8 breakfasts, 3 lunches
Percentage of cost going to local communities:
At least 40%
- Bilingual guide: Available in English, French or Spanish
- Extra services:
- Additional information: You will be greeted at the airport on arrival by a local guide who will take you to your hotel and will be able to answer any questions, make any additional arrangements and generally ensure everything goes smoothly. No minimum number of passengers required and you will not be travelling with a group of people you do not know. Prices quoted are per person and based on at least 2 people travelling. You should expect a cheaper price for a bigger group. Passport is required at time of booking. For information on visa requirements and health formalities you can visit the FCO Travel Advice Website (UK citizens) or the US Travel Advice Website (direct links to Chile page). Information on money changing in each destination, as well as what it is customary to tip for various services, will be provided. This trip, like most of our adventures through Latin America, has a low level of physical difficulty and participants can choose to do as much or as little as they like. If you have any concerns or require special arrangements please call or email us to discuss. What to bring: Travel insurance, passport, binoculars, alarm clock, walking shoes, water bottle, daypack, sun protection, insect repellent, sun glasses and hat, swimwear, flip-flops, torch with extra batteries, wind and waterproof jacket, warm clothes to layer, warm socks, fleece, hat, gloves, scarf.
- Best time to travel: September-May
- Extra budget recommended: Around £200 / $250 pp to cover meals and all other expenses not included in the itinerary.
- What is included: Welcome reception at the airport. Transfers (some may be shared) and internal flights. Overland transport. Accommodation. Entrance fees to sites of interest, museums and national parks mentioned in the itinerary. Guided activities and excursions with English speaking guides (some private, some as part of a small group). Meals as stated in the itinerary (B= Breakfast, L= Lunch, D= Dinner). Contributions to the social projects visited. Donation to help in preserving the Amazon rainforest through agro-forestry and education.
- What is not included: Flights from your country of origin. Travel insurance. Alcoholic drinks. Additional meals or snacks. Travel within and around each town. Visa fees (if any). Tips. Souvenirs.
Atacama Desert Tour
£ 1,400 GBP
The Atacama desert is one of the harshest yet most impressive landscapes in South America. Start your adventure in Santiago, then fly to Calama for the trip to San Pedro. Experience evening hikes in the desert and some of the finest star gazing on the planet. Discover Atacamenian astronomy, walk through fields of giant cacti and bathe in thermal pools. Meet the Lickan Antay people, share traditional meals and experience their culture first hand within local communities