Chile travel

Itineraries

5 days in San Pedro de Atacama and Alto el Loa

A mystical route that will connect you with nature and your inner self, this is one of the favorite destinations for those who love spiritual life. Be amazed by the colorful oasis that you’ll find in the middle of the world’s driest desert. Visit the Andean villages of Chiu-Chiu, Lasana and Caspana which still have ancient churches and museums. And enjoy their geysers, lagoons and scenic views that will leave you breathless.

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san-pedro-de-atacama-flickr-luis-perez-cortes-ATR67

San Pedro de Atacama

Day 1: San Pedro de Atacama

A rustic town which every day merges the roots of Andean culture with modern tourism. Walk among its dirt roads and by its adobe houses while you let yourself be seduced by the local crafts shops. Visit the R.P Gustavo Le Paige Archaeological Museum where you can meet the ancient mummy from Atacama called Miss Chile. In the afternoon you can take your bike to the Moon Valley (Valle de la Luna) or Death Valley (Valle de la Muerte) and be wowed by the play of lights and shadows the desert has to offer.

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Valle-de-la-luna-y-de-la-muerte-TCH-ATR77 Moon and Mars Valley
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Atacama Salt flats

Day 2: Excursion from San Pedro de Atacama to the Chaxa Lagoon

Set this day aside for this excursion and to see wild flora and fauna. Southeast from San Pedro you'll find the Los Flamencos National Reserve where you'll see the best face of the Atacama Salt Flat in the Chaxa Lagoon, home to families of flamingos and altiplanic birds that seem to hover among the salt crusts floating on the water. Don't forget your camera as you can capture the exotic vegetation of the area and the strange mirage achieved by the reflection of the mountains on the lagoon.

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Laguna-miscanti-shutterstock-ID77 Los Flamencos National Reserve Salar-de-atacama-sernatur-ATR69 Atacama Salt flats
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Ayquina

Alto El Loa

Day 3: Alto el Loa: Chiu-Chiu and Inca Coya Lagoon

Recharge your batteries for a slow paced trek or follow the ancient Inca Road. Stop at the Inca Coya Lagoon and enjoy the beauty of the mysterious salt water oval. A few kilometers north you'll reach the village of Chiu-Chiu. When you enter the village lower your voice as its inhabitants are quite ceremonial and still keep their traditions alive. Admire their buildings made with ancient indigenous techniques and visit the church of San Francisco built with adobe and cactus wood, the oldest of its kind in Chile.

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chiuchiu-lucia-abello-ATR01 Chiu Chiu
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Ayquina

Alto El Loa

Day 4: Alto el Loa: Pujara de Lasana and Ayquina

Do you like history and architecture? Then you'll feel wonderful visiting the Pukara de Lasana. Built by the Atacama people in the 12th century, you'll be in awe of the details of distribution and design. Climb the remains of the fortress as from its top you'll have an spectacular view of the entire valley. Walk a few meters and you'll reach the village of Ayquina. This small village with no more than 50 inhabitants is the birthplace of one of the biggest religious celebrations in the north of Chile: the Festival of the Guadalupe Virgin. Be a part of it during September and join the singing and dancing of the more than 70,000 parishioners that arrive here.

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Ayquina Alto El Loa
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Geiser del Tatio-shutterstock-ATR55

El Tatio Geyser

Day 5: Excursion from San Pedro de Atacama to Tatio Geysers and Caspana

Set your alarm clock since you have to get up extremely early. The best time to enjoy the huge fumaroles of the Tatio Geyser is between 6 and 7 in the morning. There are more than 80 craters that will amaze you with the show that begins with the first rays of sun through the steam mist. Take your binoculars, as a reward for your efforts you'll see how vicunas, rheas and local birds search for their breakfast. At the end of the morning show, visit the village of Caspana. Surrounded by terraced fields and the Salado River, in its streets you can admire Inca architecture, the old church of San Lucas and you can try local dishes cooked with locally harvested produce.

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Geiser del Tatio-shutterstock-ATR55 El Tatio Geyser

4 days Iquique and Antofagasta

A sunbathing destination which will surprise you on arrival with a long list of warm beaches that give you eternal summer. Adrenaline junkie? Its amazing dunes and dry desert are perfect for sandboarding and parasailing. Get to know more about Chile’s mining history, visiting its old saltpeter mines, remains of the conquest of men over nature.

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Iquique

Iquique

Day 1: Iquique, beach and surfing, parasailing and sandboarding

In Iquique, stretch out your towel on the sand and relax. The sun and the sound of the waves will be your best company. Enjoy its warm water beaches where children can safely splash around and the adults can test their skills on beaches like Cavancha and Huaiquique. See for yourself why they are the favorite of world-class sportspeople. At sundown, practice the adrenaline filled sandboarding or soar through the sky parasailing. You'll see the amazing sights of the coast.

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Iquique-CentroHistorico-sernatur-ATR40 Iquique’s Historic District pica-shutterstock-ATR50 Pica CALETA PISAGUA (19) - Subsecretaria de Pesca Pisagua
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Iquique

Iquique

Day 2: Isluga National Park and Puchuldiza Geyser

Located north of Iquique, the Isluga National Park invites you to discover the adventures hidden in its trails full of altiplanic bushes, cacti and cushion bogs with animals like vicunas, guanacos, alpacas and flamingos. Prepare for a demanding trek at more than 4,000 meters above sea level! At the end of your journey, you'll find the Chumisa hot springs with their 42°C waters and the Puchuldiza geysers whose water jets freeze up in winter forming one of a kind icicles.

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Salitrera Humberstone-shutterstock_223089553

Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Offices

Day 3: Excursion from Iquique to the Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Offices

Set a day aside to go deeper into Chile's mining history. Get up early and take one of the tours that visit the Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Offices. Declared World Heritage Sites by Unesco, these old buildings in the middle of the desert are the remains of the golden age of saltpeter and the sacrifice of men and women of the pampa, who defeated fate in the Atacama Desert.

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Salitrera Humberstone-shutterstock_223089553 Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Offices
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PLAYA RINCONADA

Antofagasta

Day 4: Antofagasta: Hand of the Desert and Juan Lopez Beach

Head south to reach the city of Antofagasta. Grab your camera and take snapshots of the Hand of the Desert. It´s a giant sculpture that emerges from the ground in the middle of the Atacama Desert and that seems to greet the tourists with a unique and surreal show. Have lunch at the Juan Lopez cove, their fried fish sandwichs are a must among the local cheap food that you have to try. In the afternoon, just enjoy the warm waters of its beaches and relax at one of the most visited beach resorts of the northern coast.

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La -Portada-shutterstock-ATR13 La Portada Natural Monument MariaElena-sernatur-ATR10 Saltpeter Offices FOTOGRAFIAS TURISTICAS Chuquicamata

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