Alto Atacama

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Highlights:

Atacama Desert, Valley Inca Trek, Petroglyphs, Excursion, Devil’s Throat

From:

US$ 1950

Tucked away in a valley of serene beauty, the Alto Atacama Desert Lodge & Spa blends seamlessly into its environment and appears as a part of the terracotta-colored ridge rising behind it. This luxury, one-of-a-kind desert retreat's surroundings are very much like the typical dwellings located 10 minutes away in the oasis village of San Pedro. Blessed with this spectacular location (flanked by dramatic mountain ranges, iconic archaeological sites and the San Pedro River trickling alongside), the lodge is a superb base for visiting the Atacama Desert. Geysers, hot springs, volcano climbs, mountain biking through desert canyons, horseback riding on a sand dune, and exploring ancient Incan ruins and "petroglyphs" (rock engravings) are just a few of the 30 adventurous excursions offered - always led by highly trained local guides. Alto Atacama also encourages guests to get off the beaten track by interacting with the local indigenous culture as well as exploring the desert’s varied and eerily beautiful landscapes by foot or mountain bike. Indeed, more than half of Alto Atacama’s staff is indigenous, and their personal stories and histories enrich a guest's understanding of the region. At the hotel's on-site spa, visitors can also indulge in a variety of relaxing treatments, including body scrubs, hot stone and deep tissue massages, and hydrotherapy treatments, all complemented by six outdoor pools, as well as indoor and outdoor whirlpool baths. With accommodations faithful to the local aesthetic, the lodge's 42 guest rooms are rustic yet elegant, with local crafts adding warmth and character. Each of these guest rooms has a private terrace — the perfect spot for absorbing the color and silence of the valley.

Itinerary Details

Room / Cabin / Category
Price
Catarpe Room (Double)
USD$ 2400
Quitor Room (Double)
USD$ 1950
Tilo Suite (Double)
USD$ 2550

Included in the price:

  • Accommodations in selected room
  • Transfer in/out from/to Calama (airport) or from / to Border with Bolivia
  • Shuttle service to and from San Pedro de Atacama – available from 09:00 – 23:00
  • Buffet-style American breakfasts
  • Lunch and Dinner à la carte (Starter, Main Course and Dessert)
  • Alcoholic & non-alcoholic drinks
  • Open bar from 11:00 to 23:30. After-hour charges apply
  • Daily Excursions – 1 full day excursion or 2 half day excursions per person, per day (maximum of 10 guests per vehicle on half day excursions and 8 guests per vehicle for full day excursions). Excursions with local guide
  • Please note, excursions are offered from 15:00 on arrival day until 13:00 on departure day
    Access to Puri Spa (swimming pools, sauna, steam room, hydro-massage bath and shower)
  • Free use of mountain bikes
  • Guests must inform the property of arrival and departure times at least 72 hours in advance, in order to coordinate the airport shuttle service
  • Park tickets
  • Private astrological observatory of the Andes

Not Included in the price:

  • Spa treatments (Massage, reflexology, Reiki, etc.)
  • Premium Alcoholic Beverages
  • Laundry, telephone calls, personal expenses
  • Tips & gratuities
  • International & domestic flights
  • Health & Travel Insurance
AM: Welcome to the Atacama Desert..!! Upon arrival at northern Chile’s Calama Airport, you will be transferred to the village oasis of San Pedro de Atacama (1.5 hours, shared with other lodge guests). Dinner will be served at Alto Atacama Lodge, and later that same evening, your guide will suggest optional activities available on Day 2.
PM:
AM: This morning’s trek proceeds exclusively within the Catarpe Valley itself. As a guest, you will travel with your guide along the famous San Pedro River before crossing into Tambo, the former administrative center of the Incan Empire. After exploring Tambo, the walk continues through the vast landscapes of the valley, passing smaller villages along the way.
PM: Following lunch, we will strike out on a cultural excursion that begins in the Hierbas Buenas region. Here, you will find ancient petroglyphs that represent scenes of the ancient shepherds’ day-to-day lives. Having explored the caves and rock faces, we will continue on to Rainbow Valley, named for its multi-colored hills and cliffs, which were created by the buildup of different mineral deposits and their reflection of the sunlight.
AM: This full-day “Route of the Shepherds” tour recreates the ancient trail taken by migrating local shepherds and their flocks for many centuries. We will begin this hike in the wetlands of Vado Machuca, and then follow the course of a nearby river past the abandoned ruins of old stone structures used by the shepherds (though some of these structures are still inhabited to this day). The trek continues to Peñaliri, a now deserted village that is noteworthy for its well-maintained agricultural terraces. Finally, the last few kilometers of this trek will take you on a scenic journey to the Rio Grande, where you will stop for a well-earned local dinner.
PM:
AM: This excursion begins on mountain bike from the Ayllu (settlement) of Quitor. From here the path winds through the spectacular gorges of the Cordillera de la Sal in the Catarpe Valley. The tour continues on the Garganta del Diablo (Devil´s Throat Pass), named in connection with ancient myths of the local people. Finally, you will bike to the village of San Isidro, where its perfectly situated church is an ideal destination for your mountain bike ride.
PM: After returning to the lodge for lunch, you will be driven back to the Calama airport. As you head to the airport for your departing flight home or onward, enjoy your last look back at the spectacular Atacama Desert, a unique region of inspiring natural wonders.
Room / Cabin / Category
Price
Catarpe Room (Double)
USD$ 3200
Quitor Room (Double)
USD$ 2600
Tilo Suite (Double)
USD$ 3400

Included in the price:

  • Accommodations in selected room
  • Transfer in/out from/to Calama (airport) or from / to Border with Bolivia
  • Shuttle service to and from San Pedro de Atacama – available from 09:00 – 23:00
  • Buffet-style American breakfasts
  • Lunch and Dinner à la carte (Starter, Main Course and Dessert)
  • Alcoholic & non-alcoholic drinks
  • Open bar from 11:00 to 23:30. After-hour charges apply
  • Daily Excursions – 1 full day excursion or 2 half day excursions per person, per day (maximum of 10 guests per vehicle on half day excursions and 8 guests per vehicle for full day excursions). Excursions with local guide
  • Please note, excursions are offered from 15:00 on arrival day until 13:00 on departure day
    Access to Puri Spa (swimming pools, sauna, steam room, hydro-massage bath and shower)
  • Free use of mountain bikes
  • Guests must inform the property of arrival and departure times at least 72 hours in advance, in order to coordinate the airport shuttle service
  • Park tickets
  • Private astrological observatory of the Andes

Not Included in the price:

  • Spa treatments (Massage, reflexology, Reiki, etc.)
  • Premium Alcoholic Beverages
  • Laundry, telephone calls, personal expenses
  • Tips & gratuities
  • International & domestic flights
  • Health & Travel Insurance
AM: Welcome to the Atacama Desert..!! Upon arrival at the Calama airport, you will be driven to the oasis village of San Pedro de Atacama (1.5 hours, shared with other lodge guests). Dinner will be served at Alto Atacama lodge. During the evening, your guide will suggest optional activities available on Day 2.
PM:
AM: This morning, the Lickanantai culture tour can be your first excursion. The archaeological site of Tulor – 2,400 years old and yet still well maintained – has been of great value in understanding many aspects of local history. Next, you will drive over to the village of San Pedro to explore the old city and its church. Later this morning, we will visit Pucara of Quitor, a pre-Hispanic village that provides an outstanding example of the area’s original native heritage.
PM: This afternoon’s hike can be to the Cardones Ravine, which begins at the point where the Puritama and Purifica rivers meet and turn into the mighty Vilama River. We will then trek through diverse rock formations and vegetation, including ancient cacti standing at over seven meters tall. The region was once populated with an abundance of shepherding communities, so you will pass through former settlements as we walk.
AM: The first stop on this whole-day excursion will be to a number of high Andean villages, which are archeological sites that offer insight into traditional farming techniques and practices. The first stop is the ancient shepherd village known as “Machuca.” Travelers will then continue to the Putana Vado, known for its variety of native flora, fauna and birdlife species. The next stop is Caspana, another typical village of the Altiplano, though it is noted for its representative architecture and a strong cultural identity.
PM: After lunch at a local restaurant in Caspana, the journey continues to Chiu-Chiu, a former trading hub of the region. Chiu-Chius streets are best explored on foot, visiting the central church along the way. Finally, this excursion ends in the village
AM: This full-day Wetlands Tour offers the chance to delve deep into the Andean landscape, observing a variety of wildlife. The first stop is the Quepiac Wetland Park, an important protected area in the region, and a great place to spot native bird species. Next, we will venture to the Salar de Pujsa, the largest reserve of its kind and the migration point for nesting flamingos. Finally, travelers can visit the immense rock formations known as the “Pecan Monks,” noted for their sheer size and their sudden emergence from the desert floor. (*excursion includes lunch)
PM:
AM: On the final day of your stay at Alto Atacama (and depending on the time of your flight home or onward), you can go on a tour of Inca Pass. This challenging half-day trek begins with a climb to the base of the cornices of the Catarpe Valley to enjoy the expansive views before your descent. After taking in the surrounding vista, you will begin the climb down through the dunes of the Mars Valley, eventually heading back to the lodge.
PM: After returning to the lodge for lunch, you will be driven back to the Calama airport. As you head to the airport for your departing flight home or onward, enjoy your last look back at the spectacular Atacama Desert, a unique region of inspiring
Room / Cabin / Category
Price
Catarpe Room (Double)
USD$ 4000
Quitor Room (Double)
USD$ 3250
Tilo Suite (Double)
USD$ 4250

Included in the price:

  • Accommodations in selected room
  • Transfer in/out from/to Calama (airport) or from / to Border with Bolivia
  • Shuttle service to and from San Pedro de Atacama – available from 09:00 – 23:00
  • Buffet-style American breakfasts
  • Lunch and Dinner à la carte (Starter, Main Course and Dessert)
  • Alcoholic & non-alcoholic drinks
  • Open bar from 11:00 to 23:30. After-hour charges apply
  • Daily Excursions – 1 full day excursion or 2 half day excursions per person, per day (maximum of 10 guests per vehicle on half day excursions and 8 guests per vehicle for full day excursions). Excursions with local guide
  • Please note, excursions are offered from 15:00 on arrival day until 13:00 on departure day
    Access to Puri Spa (swimming pools, sauna, steam room, hydro-massage bath and shower)
  • Free use of mountain bikes
  • Guests must inform the property of arrival and departure times at least 72 hours in advance, in order to coordinate the airport shuttle service
  • Park tickets
  • Private astrological observatory of the Andes

Not Included in the price:

  • Spa treatments (Massage, reflexology, Reiki, etc.)
  • Premium Alcoholic Beverages
  • Laundry, telephone calls, personal expenses
  • Tips & gratuities
  • International & domestic flights
  • Health & Travel Insurance
AM: Welcome to the Atacama Desert..!! Upon arrival at the Calama airport, you will be transferred to the oasis village of San Pedro de Atacama (1.5 hours, shared with other lodge guests). Dinner will be served at Alto Atacama lodge. During the evening, the guides will suggest optional activities available the following day.
PM:
AM: After breakfast, you and your guide will head out along a route that crosses one of the most important ancient thoroughfares, one that was once used by local shepherds thousands of years ago. Next, you will pass through the daunting tunnel formerly used to connect San Pedro with Calama, and then walk along the cliffs of the Cordillera de la Sal, the perfect place to observe the Catarpe Valley, the oasis of San Pedro, the Salar de Atacama, the Andes, the Cordillera de Domeyko, and even Alto Atacama itself! Finally, we will make our way back to the lodge, crossing a path that rolls down the middle of the high dunes, a well-known feature of the Mars Valley.
PM: After dinner, we will travel to the Cordillera de la Sal, and through the appropriately named Mars Valley. Once you have scaled to a decent height, during this full-moon excursion you can enjoy views of the Catarpe Valley, the San Pedro oasis, Salar de Atacama, the Andes and Cordillera de Domeyko, all visible by the unique and eerie light offered by our celestial cousin. NOTE: This nighttime trek is only possible during full moons, though other astronomy excursions are available. (* excursion includes aperitif).
AM: This morning we will head out on an extensive Desert Valley Expedition that will take you across some of the most arid and inhospitable regions of the desert, recreating old routes formed by the ancient people of this area. You will start in the east, in Mars Valley, before trekking through to the Llano de la Paciencia. From there we will make our way to the western side of the Valley of the Moon, later cross to the Cordillera de la Sal, then pass the “Three Marys” (ancient rock formations sculpted largely by extreme winds), and on to explore the central crater of Moon Valley. The geology changes throughout this trek, including giant sand dunes and compacted salt mineral beds. (*This excursion includes a picnic)
PM: In the afternoon, this varied tour starts with a visit to Toconao, a local village known for its masonry and architecture which is typical of the area, as well as its important agricultural heritage. Next, we will continue to the Tamarug Forest, a woodland region en route to the Los Flamencos National Reserve, one of the most iconic and memorable spots for enjoying the renowned sunsets of the desert. (*Excursion includes an aperitif).
AM: This morning’s hike to the Cardones Ravine begins in Guatín, at the point where the Puritama and Purifica rivers meet and turn into the mighty Vilama River. We will trek through diverse rock formations and vegetation, including ancient cacti standing at over seven meters tall. The region was once populated with an abundance of shepherding communities, so you will pass through former settlements as you walk.
PM: Following lunch, we will strike out on a cultural excursion that begins in the Hierbas Buenas region. Here, you will find ancient petroglyphs that represent scenes of the ancient shepherds’ day-to-day lives. Having explored the caves and rock faces, we will continue on to Rainbow Valley, named for its multi-colored hills
AM: Today’s full-day excursion will take us to a place dubbed “Grandpa crying,” which is the local name used to describe the Tatio Geysers. This geothermal field consists of large pools of boiling water and mud, fumaroles, and natural hot springs that sit at 4,321 meters above sea level. The geysers begin spouting at dawn, though this is also a good chance to appreciate the unique flora and fauna that have adapted and flourish in this extreme environment. On our return, we will stop at Machuca, a traditional village that was formally used by local shepherds.
PM:
AM: On the final day of your stay at Alto Atacama (and depending on the time of your flight home or onward), we will go on a tour of Ojos del Salar salt lakes. This excursion will take us to these two incredibly deep freshwater pools that emerge unannounced from the arid desert plains. (*Includes aperitif)
PM: After returning to the lodge for lunch, you will be driven back to the Calama airport. As you head to the airport for your departing flight home or onward, enjoy your last look back at the spectacular Atacama Desert, a unique region of inspiring natural wonders.
Room / Cabin / Category
Price
Catarpe Room (Double)
USD$ 4800
Quitor Room (Double)
USD$ 3900
Tilo Suite (Double)
USD$ 5100

Included in the price:

  • Accommodations in selected room
  • Transfer in/out from/to Calama (airport) or from / to Border with Bolivia
  • Shuttle service to and from San Pedro de Atacama – available from 09:00 – 23:00
  • Buffet-style American breakfasts
  • Lunch and Dinner à la carte (Starter, Main Course and Dessert)
  • Alcoholic & non-alcoholic drinks
  • Open bar from 11:00 to 23:30. After-hour charges apply
  • Daily Excursions – 1 full day excursion or 2 half day excursions per person, per day (maximum of 10 guests per vehicle on half day excursions and 8 guests per vehicle for full day excursions). Excursions with local guide
  • Please note, excursions are offered from 15:00 on arrival day until 13:00 on departure day
    Access to Puri Spa (swimming pools, sauna, steam room, hydro-massage bath and shower)
  • Free use of mountain bikes
  • Guests must inform the property of arrival and departure times at least 72 hours in advance, in order to coordinate the airport shuttle service
  • Park tickets
  • Private astrological observatory of the Andes

Not Included in the price:

  • Spa treatments (Massage, reflexology, Reiki, etc.)
  • Premium Alcoholic Beverages
  • Laundry, telephone calls, personal expenses
  • Tips & gratuities
  • International & domestic flights
  • Health & Travel Insurance
AM: Andean Astronomy: To make the most of the Alto Atacama’s privileged desert location, the lodge has installed the region’s only open-air observatory. Sitting atop one of the many hills near the hotel, the observatory’s six swivel chairs and its powerful telescope will enable you to take in the intricacies of our universe with unrivaled clarity. You will also benefit from the knowledge of one of the lodge’s expert guides, who can answer questions and provide information about the long history of human astronomical discoveries. (This one-hour activity is considered easy and requires no acclimatization.)
PM:
AM: Devil’s Throat Gorge: This mountain biking excursion begins from the Quitor “Ayllu” (settlement), where we will descend a winding path through the spectacular gorges of the Cordillera de la Sal in the Catarpe Valley. The tour continues on to the Garganta del Diablo (Devil´s Throat) gorge, which got its name from the ancient myths of local people. Finally, we will bike to the village of San Isidro to visit its perfectly situated church – an ideal conclusion to the ride. (This half-day excursion is considered to be of medium difficulty, as it consists of a18 km [11.18 mi] bicycle ride, though it requires no acclimatization.) Desert Valleys: This extensive mountain biking tour will take us across some of the most arid and inhospitable regions of the Atacama Desert. Recreating old routes traveled by the ancient people of this area, this excursion starts in Mars Valley and proceeds with a ride to the Llano de la Paciencia (“Patience Plain”). The geology changes throughout this trek, including giant sand dunes and compacted salt mineral beds. Later, we will make our way to the western side of Moon Valley, and after a picnic lunch (included), we will explore the central crater of the valley. From there, we will cross over to the Cordillera de la Sal, and then pass the “Three Marys” (ancient rock formations sculpted largely by extreme winds). (This half-day excursion is considered to be of high difficulty, as it entails a 38 km [23.61 mi] bicycle ride and requires two days of acclimatization.
PM:
AM: Licancabur Volcano: This extended expedition begins with an ascent up the eastern slope of the Juriques Volcano, at the southwestern edge of Laguna Verde (“Green Lake,” at 4,350 m) near the Bolivian border. From there, we will hike along the path to neighboring Licancabur Volcano in Bolivia. Licancabur is thought to house the earliest remnants of human activity in the high Andean region, with traceable signs of ancient ceremonies still visible to this day. Once we reach the summit, you will be treated to unparalleled views of surrounding volcanos, the Salar de Atacama salt flat, the Andes and the wider Altiplano. All meals are provided on this 2-day excursion. (This two-day climbing excursion is considered to be of expert-level difficulty, as it consists of a climb to an altitude of 5,917 meters [requiring seven days of acclimatization], as well as a 50 km [31.06 mi] van ride and a 1 km [0.62 mi] walk)
PM:
AM: Licancabur Volcano: This extended expedition begins with an ascent up the eastern slope of the Juriques Volcano, at the southwestern edge of Laguna Verde (“Green Lake,” at 4,350 m) near the Bolivian border. From there, we will hike along the path to neighboring Licancabur Volcano in Bolivia. Licancabur is thought to house the earliest remnants of human activity in the high Andean region, with traceable signs of ancient ceremonies still visible to this day. Once we reach the summit, you will be treated to unparalleled views of surrounding volcanos, the Salar de Atacama salt flat, the Andes and the wider Altiplano. All meals are provided on this 2-day excursion. (This two-day climbing excursion is considered to be of expert-level difficulty, as it consists of a climb to an altitude of 5,917 meters [requiring seven days of acclimatization], as well as a 50 km [31.06 mi] van ride and a 1 km [0.62 mi] walk)
PM:
AM: Route of the Shepherds: Recreating an ancient route taken by migrating local shepherds and their flocks, we will begin this full-day hike in the wetlands of Vado Machuca. Following the course of a nearby river, the tour will take us past the ruins of old stone structures formerly used by the shepherds, though some are still inhabited to this day. The trek continues to Peñaliri, a now deserted village though noteworthy for its well-maintained agricultural terraces. Finally, the last few kilometers of this trek will take you on a scenic journey to the Rio Grande, where you will stop for some well-earned local food (lunch included). (This full-day excursion is considered to be of high difficulty, as it consists of a 108 km [67.10 mi] van ride and a 15 km [9.32 mi] walk at an altitude of 4,015 meters and requires two days of acclimatization.)
PM:
AM: Llaretas Route: The name of this excursion comes from the name of the locally grown plant that is found attached to rocks in this area. These Llaretas plants were used by ancient herdsmen of the region as fuel for fire, both for cooking and for heating. This excursion is a specially designed route selected to prepare guests for the acclimatization and skills necessary for enjoying high-altitude volcano climbing. The route starts in the hills to the east of the geysers, where the pathway is marked only with the vague tracks of local animals – as your guide will point out. At an altitude of 4,000 m., the route descends between rocks and cliffs until we reach the bottom of the ravine before beginning an ascent back up to the mountain pass. The excursion includes a picnic lunch. (This full-day climbing preparation excursion is considered to be of high difficulty, as it consists of an 8 km walk [4.97 mi], a 98 km (60.89 mi) van ride, and requires two days of acclimatization)
PM:
AM: Catarpe Valley: This treks will take us exclusively through the Catarpe Valley itself as we hike along the famous San Pedro River before crossing into Tambo, the former administrative center of the Incan Empire. After exploring Tambo, the hike continues through the vast landscapes of the valley, passing smaller villages along the way. (This half-day excursion is considered to be of high difficulty, as it consists of a 14 km [8.69 mi] bicycle ride, though it requires no acclimatization.)
PM:

Trip Advisor Reviews

star rating  Estuvieron todo el tiempo que estuvimos por el Ecuador muy atentos a nosotros y tuvieron todos los detalles y nos dieron todas las facilidades que les fue posible en nuestra Luna de miel. Volvemos encantados a España, pensando en nuestro próximo viaje con Surtrek!

EM M
October 13, 2018

star rating  Hola, estuve viajando con mi familia por Bolivia y Chile a través de Surtrek y el servicio fue excelente.

ebuenavida
January 29, 2020

star rating  Si quieres conocer a sudamerica no dudes en pedirles que te preparen un viaje personalizado. Tienen contactos con locales en diferentes países y te organizan un viaje de lujo. Muy recomendable

Ricardo V
June 27, 2018

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