OVERLAND EXCURSION FROM ARICA TO THE ATACAMA DESERT - 5 days, 4 nights (single room)

  • Port

    Arica

  • Level of difficulties

    Moderate

  • Type

    Sightseeing, Nature excursion, Cultural, Meal included

  • Price

    Adults

    EUR3260.0

  • Duration in hours

    100

  • Shore excursion code

    02XJ

Description A truly spectacular and unmissable tour of one of the most fascinating places in the world: the Atacama desert, with its shapes and colours, ancient villages and mining towns, geoglyphs and salt flats, where nature reigns and the passage of ancient civilisations can still be seen.

What we will see Day 1 
  • Visit to Arica: Morro de Arica cliff overlooking the ocean and the Chiza geoglyphs
  • Site of Humberstone, ancient mining town 
  • Cerros Pintados geoglyphs (photo stop) 
  • San Pedro de Atacama: dinner and overnight stay at hotel 
Day 2
  • San Pedro de Atacama: city visit 
  • Lunch in a local restaurant 
  • Moon Valley: sand and stone sculpted by the wind and water, myriad of colours 
  • Return to the hotel in San Pedro: dinner and overnight stay 
Day 3
  • Pukará de Quitor archaeological site (photo stop) 
  • Visit to the village of Tulor 
  • Lunch at the hotel 
  • Atacama salt flats, photo stop in Jerez Valley 
  • Dinner in a local restaurant and overnight hotel stay 
Day 4
  • Village of Ayllu de Coyo: visit to a small farm and lunch in a local restaurant 
  • Return to the hotel in San Pedro: free time to visit the city 
  • Farewell dinner 
  • Overnight stay at the hotel
Day 5
  • Flight to Santiago 
  • Visit to Casablanca Valley 
  • Veramonte vineyard: wine tasting and lunch in the winery restaurant 
  • Transfer to the port of San Antonio


What we will do Day 1
  • We will begin our tour leaving the port of Arica and taking a coach to the Morro de Arica, a 139-metre-high cliff that overlooks the ocean and protects the city from the winds from the south. From the cliff top, we have spectacular panoramic views of the city and the green Azapa Valley. There is also a small weapons museum commemorating the battle of Arica in 1880 during the Pacific War, when Chilean troops conquered the city, defeating the Peruvian army.
  • After a brief stop for photos, we will leave the centre of Arica and head to the surrounding desert areas, along the road to Iquique. We will cross Chiza valley, famous for the geoglyphs from the pre-Hispanic era on its hills, which we will see as we drive past on the coach. They are drawings carved into the land by the pre-Columbian people using stones or scratching the salty surface of the desert soil, which depict human and animal shapes and pastoral scenes. 
  • The next stop on our journey is the site of Humberstone, an abandoned ancient mining town that was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005. It was named after its founder, James Humberstone, who created saltpetre works there. 
  • We will make a quick stop for photos here and eat our packed lunch, which will be provided.  
  • Then we will continue our journey to San Pedro de Atacama, stopping again for photos at the Cerros Pintados geoglyphs, which are large and spectacular and depict geometric animal and human figures. 
  • In the evening, we will finally reach San Pedro de Atacama and settle into our hotel for dinner and an overnight stay.
Day 2
  • After having breakfast at the hotel, our morning will be spent visiting the town of San Pedro, situated in the El Loa province in the region of Antofagasta. During the pre-Columbian period, it was the centre of Atacaman culture before the arrival of the Incas in 1450. When the Spanish arrived, it became a strategic place for the conquest of vast areas of the inland plateaus. Today, San Pedro de Atacama is known across the world for its Archaeological Museum, founded by priest Gustavo Le Peige, which has a vast collection of artefacts from the region. The colourful town is the starting point for many important excursions to the heart of the Atacama desert, where several activities are available such as sandboarding. The town is situated 2,400 metres above sea level and has a mild, dry climate with temperatures ranging from 25°C to 30°C in the day in summer, whilst in winter the temperature during the day is around 22°C but it can drop to -10 °C at night.  
  • We will have lunch in a local restaurant and then set off again in the afternoon to Moon Valley, 13 km west of San Pedro. The valley contains various formations of sand and stone that have been sculpted by the wind and water, making it similar to the surface of the moon, and it is famous for the myriad of colours we can see when we visit it. 
  • After visiting Moon Valley, we will return to the hotel for dinner and an overnight stay.
Day 3
  • We will leave the hotel and head to Pukará de Quitor, a pre-Columbian archaeological site approximately 3 km north-west of San Pedro, which was designated a National Monument in 1982. We will stop here for photos and then continue on to the village of Tulor, another archaeological site miraculously preserved by the sand. 
  • We will then return to the hotel for lunch before setting off again in the afternoon to see the Atacama salt flats, where there are also some lagoon areas, home to flamingos. Before we head back, we will stop for photos in Jerez Valley. 
  • Then we will return to San Pedro for dinner in a restaurant in the town centre and then go back to the hotel for the night
Day 4
  • We will leave the hotel and head to the village of Ayllu de Coyo, where we will visit a small farm and meet the owners. 
  • We will have lunch in a local restaurant and then return to the hotel. Then we will have the afternoon free to explore San Pedro on our own. 
  • Then we will prepare to bid farewell to the town with dinner at a restaurant in the centre and then return to the hotel for the night. 
Day 5
  • We will leave the hotel in San Pedro and travel to Calama airport, where we will catch a flight to Santiago de Chile. 
  • When we land in Santiago, we will board a coach that will take us to Casablanca Valley, renowned across the world for producing fine wines. 
  • We will stop at Veramonte winery where we will taste the local wines and have lunch at the on-site restaurant
  • After visiting the winery, we will travel to the port of San Antonio where the ship will be waiting for us.

What you need to know
  • This excursion is not recommended for guests with mobility problems, wheelchair users or those who suffer from high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes or vertigo.