Chile hotel reservations and description for

EXPLORA ATACAMA LODGE TOURS

San Pedro Atacama, Chile

Atacama Desert

Tours: A wide selection of tours are included in the price, tours you choose upon arrival. Tours for every taste, age, and physical ability. See below for tours and their description and difficulty.


Arrival via Santiago de Chile on an international flight. From Santiago, a flight to Calama must be taken. The duration of this flight is approximately two and a half hours. explora staff will welcome guests and drive them on a comfortable van to explora EN ATACAMA, in a journey that takes approximately 1 hour.

Explorations in Atacama will allow you to become acquainted with the multiple aspects of this territory. Its geography, its history, its fauna, its geological features; approaching volcanoes and visiting ancient villages.

explorations have been designed considering a gradual acclimatization to height. There are excursions which are made at the level of San Pedro oasis, between 2.500 and 2.800 meters above sea level, others are made at intermediate levels, and the most difficult reach steep heights above 6.000 meters above sea level.

During your stay at explora you will gradually feel the challenge to see more, and perhaps, to reach higher, although explora is not a competition. Our motto is "here each person decides what he or she does", and sometimes it is just as good to go out for a walk or to go by bicycle or simply stay at the hotel and relax.

Our weather is good all year round, and there are almost no limitations to make all the trips, every day.

Acclimatization

Reaching the summit becomes an irresistible drive. However, it is necessary to become "acclimatized" to do this. After a night and a day in Atacama a person is in better condition to go over 3,000 meters above sea level. Going on explorations beyond 4,000 meters requires experimenting minimum heights to see if physical condition allows for higher altitudes.

Equipment

  • In order to feel comfortable and safe while exploring Atacama we suggest having at least the following equipment:
  • 8 - 15 liter backpack and Trekking shoes and/or boots, Several layers of outerwear, Convertible pants, Thick windbreaker, Sunblock protector (30 SPF) and sunglasses (UV protection), cap for protection against sunrays , Cap and gloves for high altitude hikes, Goose feather parka for climbing above 5,000 mts.
  • TREEKING (HIKING)

  • These explorations can be done starting from the 1st day.
  • 1.TREKKING ALONG THE QUEBRADAS Length: 7 to 8 hours, walking for 3.5 to 5 hours. Distance by foot: 4.8 km (a.m.) and 4.5 km (p.m.). Itinerary: Departure from Explora by van (20 min.) along the road towards Calama. Trekking along Quebrada Kari inside the Cordillera de la Sal. Picnic lunch. Afternoon hike coming down the settlement of Guatín towards Punta del Inca. Return to explora by van (35 min.). Schedule: Full day. Level: Easy.
  • 2. JOURNEY THROUGH THE CORDILLERA DE LA SAL Length: 7 to 8 hours, walking for 4 to 5 hours. Distance by foot: 7.3 km (a.m.) and 4.8 km (p.m.). Itinerary: Departure from explora by van (40 min.) towards Catarpe Valley. Trekking along the cornices of the Cordillera de la Sal with panoramic views. Valle de la Muerte. Picnic lunch. Afternoon trek along Quebrada Kari inside the Cordillera de la Sal. Return to explora by van. (15 min.). Schedule: Full day. Level: Easy.
  • 3. EL HOJALAR Length: 6 to 7 hours, walking for 4 to 5 hours. Distance by foot: 13 km. Itinerary: Departure by van (40 min.). Trekking along ancient shepherd trails until reaching Quebrada de Jere. Picnic lunch. Trekking down along the gorge by the shade of the orchards. Schedule: Full day. Level: Moderate.
  • 4. KAMUR Length: 2.5 to 3 hours, walking 2 to 2.5 hours. Distance by foot: 5.8 km. Itinerary: Departure by van (35 min.) towards the Valle de la Luna. Trekking will allow visitors to appreciate the variations of sunlight and will conclude at an outpost to contemplate sunset. Schedule: Half day. Level: Easy
  • 5. ATACAMA CULTURE Length: 3.5 hours. Distance: 15 km (approx.) by van. Itinerary: Departure by van to Museo Padre Le Paige. This is a good introductory approach to this area. Then, departure by van towards Pukará de Quitor. Trekking with an optional climbing to the Pukará's summit. By van we visit Ayllu de Solor with a chance to observe how the Atacama people live nowadays. Schedule: Half day. Level: Easy.
  • 6. CUCHABRACHE HEIGHTS Length: 3.5 to 4 hours, walking 2 to 2.5 hours. Distance by foot: 4.9 km. Itinerary: Departure by van (50 min.) towards the bocatoma of San Pedro river. Uphill walk to Alto de Cuchabrache, discovering petroglyphs along the trail, with views to Catarpe and Quitor valleys. Return to explora by van (35 min.). Schedule: Half day. Level: Easy.
  • 7. LAS APACHETAS Length: 7 to 8 hours, walking 4.5 to 5.5 hours. Distance by foot: 5 km (a.m.) and 6 km (p.m.). Itinerary: Departure from explora by van (35 min.) to Guatín, where the trekking begins climbing along a 250 mts slope towards Puritama (3,528 mts) along ancient settlements and hundred years old cactuses. Optional baths on thermal springs. Picnic lunch. Van trip to Valle de Quitor. Hiking from Quebrada del Diablo to Vilama. Schedule: Full day. Level: Moderate.
  • 8. QUEBRADA DE JERE Length: 8 hours, walking 5.5 to 6.5 hours. Distance by foot: 13 km. Itinerary: Departure from explora by van (30 min.) to Toconao. Ascending trek along Quebrada de Jere. Contrasting views among orchards and the dryness of the desert. Picnic lunch. Crossing of several gorges as ancient shepherd trails are followed. Schedule: Full day. Level: High.
  • 9. RÍO GRANDE Length: 8 to 9 hours, walking 4.4 to 5.5 hours. Distance by foot: 14 km. Itinerary: Departure from explora by van (1.5 km) towards picturesque village of Machuca (4,000 mts). Downhill trekking on a slope of some 800 mts along the river's bed. Picnic lunch at Peñaliri. A trail follows along the edges of the crop terraces of the Río Grande village. Return by van. Schedule: Full day. Level: Moderate.
  • 10. CASPANA / CHIU-CHIU Length: 8 hours by van. Distance: 200 km. Itinerary: Departure from explora by van (2.5 hours) crossing the altiplano towards the picturesque village of Caspana (3,322 mts). Walk across farmlands. Lunch at the village. The trip continues with the visit of the ancient Lasana Pukará, Chiu-Chiu church, towards airport in Calama. Schedule: Full day, ending at Calama airport. Level: Easy.
  • trekking (4,000 - 5,000 mts / 13,120 - 16,400 ft) These explorations can be done starting from the 3th day.
  • 11. MISCANTI HEIGHTS Length: 11 to 12 hours, walking 8 to 9 hours. Distance by foot: 22 km. Itinerary: Departure from explora by van (90 min.) towards the altiplano. Trekking along the cornices with a view to Laguna Miscanti and Salar de Atacama. Picnic lunch. Descent along Quebrada de Nacimiento. Schedule: Full day. Level: High.
  • 12. QUEBRADA DE NACIMIENTO Length: 9 to 10 hours, walking 5.5 to 6.5 hours. Distance by foot: 12.5 km. Itinerary: Departure from explora by van (1.5 hrs) south towards Socaire. Ascending hike with views to the volcanoes up to the entrance of the ravine. Picnic lunch. Descent along shepherds' trail. Schedule: Full day. Level: High.
  • 13. COPA COYA Length: 10 to 11 hours, walking 5.5 to 6.5 hours. Distance by foot: 12.5 km. Itinerary: Early departure from explora by van (2 hrs) towards geothermal field (4,321 mts). High altitude hike and breakfast with views. Descending hike following the course of an ancient river. Picnic lunch. We then take a llaretero road once again ascending (350 mts difference in level) on the edge of Copa Coya hill. Return by van with an optional bath at Puritama hot springs. Schedule: Full day. Level: High.
  • 14. RUTA DEL AGUA Length: 10 to 11 hours, walking 2.5 to 3 hours. Distance by foot: 8.5 km. Itinerary: Departure from explora by van (2 hrs) to El Tatio. Walk with a view to the geothermal field. Traveling on a van towards Puritama (1 hr). Two to three-hour walk following shepherd trails. Picnic lunch. Optional baths at Puritama hot springs. Schedule: Full day. Level: Moderate.
  • high mountain climbing (5.000 - 6.000 mts / 16,400 - 19,680 ft)
  • Climbing high hills and volcanoes are demanding excursions which are suitable for people who have a good physical condition. These are not permitted for people who have trouble with heights or a heart condition. Sometimes there are paths, although they are generally ascended by rope hauling or rocks and there is a chance of finding ice or snow. Climbing these hills allows for the observation of the beauty of the landscape and the features of the terrain, and competition is not an aim (neither competing against oneself nor against others). However, it is necessary to have a previous acclimatization for two or more days by doing high altitude trekking.
  • The recommended season for these climbings is September to April, having in mind the inconveniences which may arise from the altiplanic rainy season (January and February). The coldest season at high altitude level goes from May to August.
  • 15. CERRO TOCO (5,604 mts / 18,381 ft) Length: 6 to 7 hours, walking 2 to 3 hours. Slope: Approximately 550 mts (5,050 to 5,600 mts), depending on the amount of snow. Itinerary: Departure from explora by van, reaching an old sulfur plant (1.5 hrs). Here is where climbing begins and should take between 1.5 and 3 hours. Summit offers panoramic views. Climbing down is easily done by rope hauling for 1 hour. Schedule: Morning. Level: Moderate.
  • 16. VOLCÁN LASCAR (5,591 mts / 18,338 ft) Length: 8 to 10 hours. Slope: 750 mts approx. (4,850 to 5,591 mts), depending on the snow amount. Itinerary: Departure from explora by van to Laguna Lejía (2.5 hrs) where climbing begins and should take between 2.5 and 4 hours across rock and volcanic ash. Arrival at the crater allows for the appreciation of its activity. It is possible to continue up to the summit (another 40 min.). Climbing down is by rope hauling for 1.5 hours. Lunch. Schedule: Full day. Level: Moderate to high. Other: Masks will be worn if necessary, due to gas emanation.
  • 17. VOLCÁN SAIRECABUR (6,010 mts / 19,712 ft) Length: 8 to 9 hours. Slope: 650 mts approximately. Itinerary: Departure from explora by van towards Azufrera Sasiel. Climb up for 2.5 to 3 hours across large rock and loose stones. Arrival at the highest summit of the area. Climbing down is difficult and takes 2.5 hours. Lunch and optional bath at Puritama hot springs. Schedule: Full day. Level: High.
  • 18. VOLCÁN COLORADO (5,748 mts / 18,853 ft) Length: 11 to 12 hours. Slope: Approximately 1,250 mts (4,500 to 5,750 mts) Itinerary: Departure from explora by van to El Tatio. Climb up for 6 to 7 hours across large rock and loose stones. Arrival at summit. Picnic lunch with views. Climbing down is difficult and takes 3 to 4 hours. Schedule: Full day. Level: Demanding.
  • 19. VOLCÁN LICANCABUR (5,916 mts / 19,404 ft) Length: 2 days. Slope: 1,350 mts approximately (4,550 to 5,950 mts), depending on the amount of snow. Itinerary: Departure from explora by van crossing the Bolivian frontier. Base campsite at 4,533 mts. Afternoon trek towards Laguna Verde. Early morning ascent with flashlights along Incas ruins. We reach the summit after 7 or 8 hours and get a view to the crater and the world's highest lagoon. Climbing down is difficult and takes 3 to 4 hours. Schedule: 2 days. Level: Demanding. Other: this exploration requires confirmation 60 days prior to arrival in explora. Visa to enter Bolivia is requested.
  • HORSEBACK RIDING

  • Horseback riding explorations which are described in the following pages have been devised for people having a good riding experience and feel safe riding for several hours in the desert. People who can trot and/or gallop. We have the best Chilean and English saddles, leggings, and helmets.
  • Those who do not know how to ride a horse and would like to learn to do so, or those who have some experience but would like to improve their riding skills may take 1 hour lessons in the morning (for no more than six people) before the walking or biking explorations they choose for each day. After at least two lessons, the instructor will determine whether the person is qualified to go horseback riding on these explorations.
  • Half day horseback riding explorations will be combined with trekking and bicycle explorations.
  • 20. CÚCUTER Length: 5 to 6 hours. On horseback 3.5 to 4.5 hours. Distance: 15 to 20 km. Itinerary: Departure from explora towards the south, crossing several ayllus, observing typical Atacama houses along the route. Picnic lunch. Return by horse to explora. Schedule: Full day. Level: Easy.
  • 21. LAS CORNISAS Length: 3 hours on horseback. Distance: 20 km. Itinerary: Departure from explora on horseback towards Valle de Quitor, climbing to cornices of Cordillera de la Sal. Panoramic view. Return along Valle de la Muerte. Schedule: Morning or afternoon. Level: Moderate.
  • 22. QUEBRADA DEL DIABLO Length: 3 hours on horseback approximately. Distance: 16 km. Itinerary: Departure from explora to Quebrada del Diablo. This is a narrow and uneven road, with ascents and descents, leaps and curves. Mirador Cordillera de los Andes. Return along the village of San Pedro. Schedule: Morning or afternoon. Level: Moderate.
  • 23. CATARPE / VILAMA Length: 3 hours on horseback. Distance: 17 km. Itinerary: Departure from explora into the Cordillera de la Sal. Visit to Catarpe church. View of the Cordillera de los Andes. Return along the village of San Pedro. Schedule: Morning or afternoon. Level: Moderate.
  • 24. RÍO SALADO Length: 5 to 6 hours on horseback. Distance: 30 km. Itinerary: Departure from explora to the cornices of Cordillera de la Sal, Río Salado. Picnic lunch. Return is made following the river's course and along abandoned villages of Cuchabrache and Catarpe. Schedule: Full day. Level: Demanding.
  • 25. VALLE DE QUITOR Length: 1.5 to 2 hours approximately, on horseback. Distance: 9 km. Itinerary: Departure covering the northern part of the oasis up to the viewing of the Pukará and the crops of the Valle de Quitor. Schedule: Morning or afternoon. Level: Easy.
  • 26. DUNAS DE LA CHULA Length: 2 hours approximately, on horseback. Distance: 9 km. Itinerary: Departure from explora on horseback to Cordillera de la Sal. Panoramic views of ayllus, salt lake, Cordillera de los Andes. Schedule: Morning or afternoon. Level: Moderate.
  • 27. BETER / TULOR Length: 3.5 hours on horseback. Distance: 18 km. Itinerary: Departure from explora to the southern ayllus. Walk around the oasis and the desert. Galloping in the dunes. Schedule: Morning or afternoon. Level: Moderate.
  • BIKING

  • The challenge in this case consists on going along the desert trails and cordilleras on a mountain bike. Using the equipment we provide to assure comfort and safety, you can fully enjoy the geography of Atacama. The use of helmets, gloves, sunglasses and adequate footwear are an important element for each of these outings.
  • Half day bicycle explorations will be combined with trekking and horseback riding explorations.
  • 28. RUTA DE LOS MIRADORES Length: 3 hours on bicycle. Distance: 18 km. Itinerary: Departure from explora to Valle de la Muerte. Ascent to Paso de Jaranillas with a view over the Cordillera de la Sal. Descent on a winding road, taking the road to Calama up to explora. Schedule: Half day. Level: Moderate.
  • 29. LAGUNA SEJAS Length: 3.5 to 4 hours. On bicycle 1.5 to 2.5 hours. Distance: 19 km. Itinerary: Departure from explora by bicycle towards the south, crossing the ayllus until the entrance to the area of Salar de Atacama with its interesting vegetation. Bath floating on the salty waters of Sejas and Agua Piedra lagoons. Schedule: Half day. Level: Easy. Other: Flip-flops are necessary to take a bath on the lagoons.
  • 30. CIRCUITO DE LOS VALLES Length: 3 to 4.5 hours on bicycle. Distance: 45 km. Itinerary: Departure from explora by bicycle. Crossing the Cordillera de la Sal, a descent allows for the viewing of Cordillera de Domeyko to Llano de la Paciencia, where a winding road leads to another crossing of Cordillera de la Sal, this time along Valle de la Luna. Return to explora. Schedule: Half day. Level: Demanding.
  • 31. PUTANA TO GUATÍN DESCENT Length: 10 to 12 hours. On bicycle 6 to 8.5 hours. Distance: 33 km. Itinerary: Departure by van (1.5 hrs) to Altos de Putana. Descent by bicycle along an unpaved road with slopes and ascents on the gorge, until reaching picturesque town of Machuca. Picnic lunch on the road. The trip continues with a view to Salar de Atacama looking over the settlement of Guatín. Return to explora by van (30 min.). Schedule: Full day. Level: Demanding. Other: There is an option to go down by bicycle to San Pedro (70 km).
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