Baquedano # 411 Arica - Putre
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Day 1. Airport Calama – San Pedro de Atacama – Moon Valley
The first day starts with the reception at the airport in Calama, where your visit to the north of Chile begins. Mayuru Tour is characterized by personal and professional attention with the highest quality standards. Our aim is to fulfill all your requirements at the best on this circuit. We will transfer you to San Pedro de Atacama and bring you to you hotel.
In the afternoon our tour will continue at 16:00 o’clock towards the cordillera of the salt. This mountain range was formed millions of years ago and always has been exposed to the rain, the wind and the sun. It’s a geological phenomenon full of impressive forms made out of salt, plaster and adobe. From a viewing point you will get to appreciate these natural figures covered by a layer of salt.
We will move on to one of the most beautiful natural monuments in the world, the Moon Valley, located close to the cordillera of the salt, 4km west of San Pedro de Atacama. While visiting this mystic valley you will get to see its enormous and impressive sand dunes. The beauty of this place is undeniable, surrounded by small mountains and geological forms that have been created by the wind. Without doubt, you will be surprised by this beautiful paradise that was declared natural monument.
After appreciating this incredible place with its forms and figures of salt we will visit the Death Valley, where we will discover incomparable and majestic landscapes. This valley is another attraction of the driest desert in the world and its mystical ambience is just indescribable. Come and live the magic of this place yourself, it will be an unforgettable experience in your life.
Continuing the tour we will get to the surprising salt statues, known as “Las tres Marias” (“The three Maries”). They are formed out of adobe and salt and are one of the most valued corners of the planet. It results incredible believing that this marvelous landscape was only created by the impact of the time and the wind. Here we are going to realize a hike of about 30 minutes to the fabulous salt caves, enormous natural statues out of salt crystals that also have been formed by the time due to the high pressure and the lack of humidity in this desert.
One more time you will have the opportunity to enjoy the mystical desert while watching the sunset from the Great Dune in the Moon Valley. The beauty of the surprising geological figures, the majesty of the colors, the sound of the wind and the sun setting on the horizon will certainly touch you. After this probably most remarkable experience of the tour we will return to San Pedro de Atacama at around 20:30 o’clock.
Day 2. San Pedro de Atacama – Salt Lake Atacama – Altiplanic Lagoons – San Pedro de Atacama
We leave San Pedro at 8:00am to start the second day of our tour. Our destination are the altiplanic lagoons Miñiques and Miscanti, natural sceneries of an intense blue color. To get there, we will take the route to Toconao, a colonial village with an unique architecture. All its buildings are made out of stone from volcanoes, so called Liparitas, including its old colonial church with its impressive bell tower.
Moving on, we will get to see the great peaks of the cordillera of the Andes at 4.300m over sea level on our way to the lagoons Miscanti and Miñiques, which approximately were formed a million years ago due to the eruption of the volcano Meñiques. This area is part of the National Reserve of the Flamingos, surrounded by impressive mountains and volcanoes that create an incomparable landscape.
You will have the privilege to enjoy the most beautiful panoramic view over the Jere Valley, located in the surroundings of the village Toconao. The sweet water that flows through this valley helps to establish an extraordinary flora, and also you will have a great view on the Andes on the horizon, marked by the silhouette of the volcano Lincancabur, the symbol of San Pedro de Atacama.
The trip goes on to the biggest treasure of the driest desert in the world, the impressive Salt Lake of the Atacama. Without doubt, this enormous lake with tons of salt implies an incredible majesty and a unique natural ambience. The intense color contrast and the numerous small canyons in this area will help to convert your trip into a lifetime experience. The salt lake of the Atacama is one of the biggest in Chile and also includes the main flamingo reserve of the country, the National Reserve of the Flamingos.
We will visit the pre-cordilleran village Socaire, where you can enjoy a great view over the white sea of the salt lake. Also, this town is known for its hadcrafts mainly made out of cow or llama wool. Here you will have the possibility to taste the typical food of the region. Surprise yourself with the fantastic lagoon Chaxa, a place where ducks, alpacas, vicuñas, foxes and ostriches live. And of course, there are pink flamingos at the shore and flying at the sky of the highland over the salt lake of the Atacama.
Finally we will reach our destination, the fabulous lagoons of Miscanti and Miñiques that present a great variety of different colors. After experiencing this incredible places and enjoying a magic trip we will return to San Pedro de Atacama, one of the main tourist attractions in the world.
Day 3. San Pedro de Atacama – Geysers del Tatio – Hito Cajon – Colored Lagoon
The fourth day of our tour starts at 4:00am from the hotel. We will enter the cordillera to live one of the most fascinating experiences on this tour. One of the most impressive spectacles that offers the Atacama Desert, the Geysers del Tatio. This geothermic field is from volcanic origin and located at more than 4.000m over sea level. Here water and steam shoot high in the air and reach a temperature of about 85 ºC in the morning hours between 6:00 and 7:00am. The field includes more than 40 active geysers that actually represent 8% of all the active geysers in the world. Also you will find some thermal baths and a natural pool. Breakfast at the geysers included.
During this day of the tour you will get to see enormous columns of steam, craters and fabulous thermal baths, a great diversity of colors and contrast that are only to find at the geysers del Tatio.
Afterwards we are going to visit the small village of Machuca, located at 80km of San Pedro de Atacama where you can observe the impressive flora and fauna under the pure blue sky. This village consists of about 20 houses and has only very few people living there who dedicated themselves to agriculture and cheese production. Later, when we have enjoyed the beauty of this small place, we will make our way to Hito Cajon to enter the country of Bolivia. After all the formalities we continue our expedition through the deserts in the south-east of Bolivia. We will enter the National Reserve of the Andean Fauna Eduardo Abaroa, where we will visit the Green Lagoon that is located at the foot of the volcano Lincancabur (5.800m) which form spart of the mountain range that marks the limit between Bolivia and Chile.
We will move on north and cross the desert Los Lipez, passing the Lagoon Polkes where, depending on the time, you can take a bath in its natural waters (38⁰C). Continuing our trip we will get to the geysers Sol de Mañana (Sun of the Morning) where you can observe impressive geothermic activities. Finally we reach the Colored Lagoon, containing the most important colony of Andean Flamingos of the National Reserve. Here you will find hundreds if not thousands of flamingos and other species of birds. The night we will spend in the desert Los Lipez.
Day 4. Desert Los Lipez – San Juan
The second day in Bolivia will take us further north to the Stone Tree (Árbol de Piedra), a famous rock formation. We will cross the region of the lagoons, discovering the lagoon Charkota, Hedionda y Cañapa where we can observe the precious fauna. In the afternoon we are going to arrive in the village of San Juan, passing the Salt Lake Chiguana, a native site in the desert Los Lipez. Noche en San Juan.
Day 5. San Juan – Salt Lake Uyuni
Get to know the famous salt lake Uyuni, the biggest salt deposit in the world with an extension of more than 12.000 Km². This salt lake is of an enormous mineralogical richness, for example it contains 50% of the world reserve of lithium, a high valued metal. Also we will be visiting the Island Incahuasi and Lomo de Pescado that are full of giant cactuses which exist for more than thousand years. Here we are going to realize some small hikes where you get the possibility to reach the highes point of the islands to enjoy a great and fascinating view over the idyllic landscape of the salt lake and the surrounding mountains. Finally, we will move on to the volcano Thunupa. We will spend the night at the foot of the volcano in Jirira or Tahua.
Day 6. Jirira/Tahua – Salt Lake Coipasa – Pisiga – Colchane, Chile
On our last day in Bolivia we will visit the Salinas of Garci Mendoza and the salt lake Coipasa. On the route you can appreciate various examples of the life in the highlands, until we get to the border Pisiga – Colchane in the afternoon. Transfer to the village Colchane in Chile.
Day 7. Colchane – National Park Volcano Isluga – Salt Lake Surire – Putre
Leaving Colchane in the morning we will be visiting the altiplanic communes of Enquelga and Isluga that are located in the middle of a bofedal where Llamas and Alpacas feed themselves. Also, the churches are very beautiful to see, they are made out of adobe and date from the 17th century.
We will continue the tour to the Nationl Park Vulcano Isluga, located more than 4.000m over sea level, crossing the paths of the highlands, the desert and the pampa. The diversity of ecology is impressive and allows you to appreciate different landscapes within the park, such as the lagoon Arabilla, surrounded by small bofedales (wetlands) and forests of Queñua (typical tree of the highlands). We will visit the thermal baths of Polloquere, where you will have the perfect panorama full of flamingos and we will take the time to enjoy a Picknick.
The trip continues, reaching the most captivating destination of this tour, the salt lake Surire. It is located at 4,200 m above sea level. Surire was declared national monument and is characterized by its enormous majesty. The presence of salt deposits of intense white color contrast with the pure blue of the water of the lagoons, without doubt a delight to your eyes. The salt lake of Surire also preserves the existence of valuable species such as the ostrich (ñandu), flamingo, vicuña, alpaca and the llama, among others.
Also you will get the opportunity to appreciate majestic sceneries like the villages of Ancuta and Gualltire located at 83 km of Putre at the foot of the volcano Guallatiri. Here you can enjoy the beautiful view of its peak white of snow. The route continues to the National Reserve of the Vicuñas which as its name implies, was created to preserve the vicuña. The flora and fauna of this place are very attractive as they offer a great variety species, besides being surrounded by beautiful scenery of the Chilean Altiplano. Finally, after enjoying unforgettable landscapes and an impressive flora and fauna we will reach Putre, where the seventh day of our tour ends.
Day 8. Putre – National Park Lauca – Lake Chungara – Thermals Baths of Jurasi – Arica
The eighth day of our tour starts from the beautiful town of Putre. We leave for the National Park Lauca with an expanse of 137.883 hectare, a biosphere reserve that covers the foothills and the highlands in the northeast of the region of Arica and Parinacota. To get to this wonderful world in the height, we start with a hike through the sector of the caves. In this district you can get to know the paradisiacal landscapes of the highlands, 4.300m over sea level, and you can observe the so called Vizcachas that come out at dusk and dawn. What makes this hike special is the mystical ambience that surrounds the region. It’s said that there are men living in this area that are over 9000 years old, and sometimes they are still seen, walking the ways of the highlands. They are said to be the very first visitors who appreciated the beauty of the landscapes.
Our journey continues to the viewing point of Chucuyo, which is located in the center of the National Park Lauca that contains a unique ecosystem and an extraordinary flora and fauna. Also, we will stop at the viewing point lagoon Cotacotani. This lagoon consists of different lakes and vulcano islands that are evidence of the high volcanic activity of this zone. The viewing point is placed in the middle of the wetlands and is perfect to observe the great variety of plants and animals, such as the parinas, ducks, vicuñas, vizcachas and taguas.
We will be moving on to one of the most beautiful attractions of the National Park Lauca, the lake Chungara, which is located over 4.500 meters over sea level and is on eof the highest lakes in the world. It’s magical beauty and the marvelous reflection of the volcano Parinacota amaze thousands of tourists every year. On the other side of the lake you can see the famous volcanoes Payachata (twins), about which many legends are told due to their mystical appearance. For example people say, that they house an old treasure of the Inca, and others say that they are a couple in love.
Furthermore we will visit the village of Parinacota, which was declared national monument. Here you can discover the ancient architecture of the highlands. The old houses are all made of adobe and have a great historical value, for they contain relicts of the time of colonialism and are symbols of the Aymara-culture. At the end of our excursion we enjoy a bath in the thermal springs of Jurasi, located in the middle of a small canyon. They are well known for its medicinal purposes, for example they are recommended in case of rheumatism.
After enjoying all these different landscapes and regaining our strength with a warm thermal bath, we will return to the city of the eternal spring, Arica, known for its architecture and thanks to its mild climate an attractive destination for thousands of tourists every year.
Without doubt, on this circuit you will have the privilege to enjoy some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world, like the Salt Lake Uyuni, the fabulous and impressive Geysers del Tatio, the Salt Lake of the Atacama, the altiplanic lagoons and a lot more. We will cross the ways of the highland, the desert and the pampa, places that you never will forget.