Tierra Atacama – 4 nights
The Atacama Desert in Northern Chile is one of the most surreal places on earth, and a great place to start or finish your adventure in Chile. At Tierra Atacama, our expert guides and friendly staff are on hand to ensure you get the most out of your trip. The sample itinerary below will give you an idea of what your Atacama Desert adventure could look like, though it is purely for inspiration, as every experience at Tierra Atacama is completely unique.
Day 1 – Arrival and Atacama Salt Flats Tour
Having arrived at Tierra Atacama in the late morning, our guides will sit down with you to find out what sort of activities and Atacama Desert adventures you might be interested in, creating an excursion plan for the upcoming days as you chat. Activities penciled in, you’ll then be shown around the hotel for an introduction to your new home and enjoy a delicious lunch, before perhaps setting out on an afternoon half-day tour – to the Atacama Salt Flats, for example – to get your Atacama Desert adventure started in style.
After visiting the village of Toconao, this scenic vehicle tour heads to Los Flamencos National Reserve at Chaxa Lagoon, home not only to various Flamingo species but also to Andean Gulls, Highland Chorlos and more birdlife. While taking a gentle walk along the trails that wind their way around this watery haven, there’s no doubt you’ll be reaching for the camera to capture this landscape of vast open skies, imposing peaks looming on the horizon and the colors of the sunset mirrored in Chaxa Lagoon, as the Flamingos go about their own daily business.
Day 2 – Moon Valley, Hot Springs and Atacama Astronomy Tours
After a comfortable first night at Tierra Atacama, wake up with the sight of beautiful desert views and head to our dining room for breakfast before meeting with your guide, who will then lead the way on a half-day tour of the Moon Valley. Here, marvel at the raw beauty of the Atacama Desert, its dunes, deep canyons and dramatic lunar landscapes – a place sure to leave visitors feeling awestruck – as your guide explains the finer geographical details of this spectacular place.
Return to the hotel and fuel up on lunch, preparing for your next expedition; this time to Puritama Hot Springs. You can either hike along the canyon to the thermal waters or travel by road, though once you arrive the reward is the same; wallowing in mineral-rich shallows while admiring the pristine valley all around you. Back at Tierra, fully refreshed, sit down for a delicious dinner before venturing out yet again for a rather special after-dark astronomy excursion, one of Atacama’s must-see experiences and a perfect way to round off the day.
Day 3 – Horseback Riding in the Atacama Desert
Opt for something a little different today by venturing out on a horseback ride through the wild scenery which surrounds our lodge, an unmissable chance to explore the Atacama Desert in an exhilarating and surprisingly spiritual way. The difficulty level and duration of the ride itself are up to you: they can be half or full-day tours and as easy or challenging as each rider sees fit! What’s more, as part of our commitment to sustainability, we always work with small, local providers; our guides are true experts in their field and take great care of their beautiful horses, using typical Chilean riding gear. So, saddle up and prepare for an energizing excursion deep into the Atacama Desert.
Following your horseback adventure, why not head to the Uma Spa at Tierra Atacama for a chance to rest weary bones and treat yourself to a calming therapy? The heated pool, outdoor hot tub and relaxation space are sure to leave you feeling pampered after a busy day.
Day 4 – Full-day Tour to the Tara Salt Flat
Today, embark on a full-day excursion to the Tara Salt Flat, promising a jaw-dropping mix of volcanoes, staggering rock formations and wildlife. The drive includes an ascent to 4,700m (15,419ft) above sea level, awarding you with a panorama across the kaleidoscopic surroundings of wetlands and salt flats, though there are plenty more astonishing views ahead. You’ll witness the Monjes de la Pacana, rock pinnacles that jut out of the desert landscape in a striking display of nature, before reaching the Tara Salt Flat itself. This colorful expanse is dazzling to behold, a desolate yet spellbinding place where flora and fauna flourish, and it is here that you’ll stop for a picnic lunch while soaking up the views; with any photographers sure to be in
Day 5 – Tatio Geysers and Transfer to the Airport
An early start this morning is more than made up for at the Tatio Geysers, which you’ll reach just as the sun begins to emerge above the horizon, casting an ethereal glow on the vapor columns which tower at a height of 12 meters. Spend some time appreciating this geothermal field, home to over 80 active geysers which protrude from bubbling pools of boiling water, before hopping back in the vehicle to make your way home. In the light of day, you’ll be able to spot Vicuñas, Foxes, Vizcachas and Andean Ostriches roaming outside your window, making a stop at the picturesque, adobe village of Machuca and arriving back at the hotel.
Enjoy your final lunch at Tierra Atacama this afternoon, before you bid farewell and are transferred to the airport, ready for your journey home or onward adventure in Chile – to Chiloé or Patagonia, for example!