Walk

THROUGH THE ATACAMA DESERT

Trekking in the Atacama Desert

What could be better than knowing the Atacama desert by walking amidst its striking landscapes? We offer you a selection of treks and hikes far from conventional tourism circuits were you can experience true nature, untouched. We'll go off the beaten path, following trails made by vicuñas and used by †he Likan-Antai thousands of years ago.

Click on the name of the place to navigate the site

 

Special Itineraries

Lights of Talar
A trip through a rich variety of desert landscapes and Lican-Antai villages. We'll explore the gorges in the Andes Range and then we'll head towards the Talar Salt Flat (Red Rocks) to walk by these high altitude Salt Lakes and delight ourselves with these views.

3 Full Days

Difficulty: Easy/Medium

Trip Type: Photography, Trekking, Camping

1rst day: Ckari gorge trek and visit to the Moon Valley. Afternoon, Chaxa Lake

2nd day: Talabre + Kezala trek to Soncor, trek Nacimiento Canyon.

3rd day: Tuyajto Lake, Talar (Red Rocks) trek, visit to Miscanti y Miñiques Lakes.

Return to San Pedro.

Tatio
Enjoy a true Altiplanic experience. Explore all 3 Mountain Ranges. We'll visit Andean villages and walk trough the most beautiful landscapes reaching the emblematic Tatio Geysers.

4 or 5 Full Days

Difficulty: Medium

Trip Type: Photography, Trekking, Camping

1rst day: Ckari Gorge trek and visit to the Moon Valley. Afternoon, Devil's Throat trek. Night, Andean Astronomy.

2nd day: Death Valley's Cliffs trek. Afternoon, Rainbow Valley Hills trek in the Domeyko Range.

3rd day: Rio Grande/Machuca  Village trek.

.4th day: Morning, Great White Geyser trek (natural hot springs). Afternoon, Cacti Forest in Guatin.

Return to San Pedro.

 

5th day optional: Ascension of ths Soquete mountain 5400m

Láscar
From the well known landscapes of Moon Valley to the heights of the imposing Láscar volcano, the most active in the northern part of Chile. We'll follow canyons enjoying nature, culture and the changing landscapes of the Altiplano.

4 Full Days

Difficulty: Medium

Trip Type: Photography, Trekking, Camping

1rst day: Ckari Gorge trek and visit to the Moon Valley. Afternoon, Death Valley's Cliffs.

2nd day: Trek in Toconao's gardens and visit to the Chaxa Lake in the Salt Flat. Afternoon, Soncor trek, from the Kezala (Petroglyphs) Canyon to Talabre.

3rd day: Trek from Old Talabre (abandoned town) to Tumbre.

4th day: Trek in the Lejía Lake sector. Return to San Pedro.

5th day optional: Láscar active volcano climb 5592 m; difficulty level: medium/easy).

High Altitude Salt Flats
We begin with some acclimatization treks, once ready we'll go to the inhospitable Altiplano. Here we begin our journey through hills, lakes and salt flats of unmissable beauty.

4 Full Days

Difficulty: Medium/Hard

Trip Type: Photography, Trekking, Camping

1rst day: Ckari Gorge trek and visit to the Moon Valley. Afternoon, trek in Toconao's gardens and visit to the Chaxa Lake in the Salt Flat

2nd day: Nacimiento Canyon trek (if you want we can do a bit of rock climbing here)

3rd day: Trek from Tara Salt flat to Aguas Calientes Lake.

4th day: Trek from Aguas Calientes to Pujsa Salt Flat. Returnto San Pedro

Trekking in San Pedro of Atacama Half Day

El Coyote view point

El Coyote view point

Travel in geological time

Travel in geological time

Caves of Ckari

Caves of Ckari

Salt formations

Salt formations

Ckari Gorge / Moon Valley

Difficulty: Easy
Distance by Vehicle: 20 km
Walking distance: 5.3 km
Duration: 2 hours
Tickets for reserves: 5,000 clp

Hike that begins at the Kari lookout, we enter this incredible panoramic view of the salt range and we go trough tunnels, dry watwrfalls and deep canyons to reach the Valley of the Moon. We continue by car and visit its points of interest.

 
Going to the tunnel

Going to the tunnel

Walking down the dunes

Walking down the dunes

View of the Catarpe valley

View of the Catarpe valley

Death Valley's Cliffs

Difficulty: Easy / Intermediate
Distance by Vehicle: 20 km
Walking distance: 7,3 km
Duration: 4hrs
Tickets for reserves: 3,000 clp


We climb an old cattle trail and cross an abandoned tunnel to reach an incredible panoramic view of Death Valley. As we walk, we'll enjoy the sunset, admiring the changing colors in the Andes Range, to finally go down the dunes barefoot.

Entrance to the gorge

Entrance to the gorge

Trail made by water

Trail made by water

Clay formations

Clay formations

Devil's Throat

Difficulty: Easy
Distance by Vehicle: 25 km
Walking distance: 4.6 km
Duration: 3 hours


We climb up a dry waterfall next to the Vilama river, once up, we can see a couple of petroglyphs. We follow a path with a beautiful view of the Andes Range, finally we get to a lookout point were we can see a general view of the Salt Range and the Devil's Throat we descend into this landscape and follow the course of an ancient river running sinuous curves until we reach the San Pedro river and its green surroundings.

We can also do a variation of this on mountain bikes.

 
walking by the cactuses

walking by the cactuses

Cardones cactus

Cardones cactus

Trough the canyon

Trough the canyon

Guatin's Cacti Forest

Difficulty: Easy / Intermediate
Distance by Vehicle: 45 km
Walking distance: 3 km
Duration: 2 hours
Reserves Fees: no

 

We descend into Guatin so we can follow the Puripica river, we follow it through a deep canyon populated by numerous Cardón cacti, that are hundreds of years old. We follow the water through several waterfalls, finally climbing out in an old archeological site, that is still used by shepherds today.

Deep canyon of Puritama

Deep canyon of Puritama

Cardones

Cardones

Walking

Walking

Hot springs

Hot springs

Guatin / Puritama Hot Springs

Difficulty: Easy
Distance by Vehicle: 55 km
Walking distance: 4.7 km
Duration: 3 hours
Tickets for reserves: 15,000 clp


We climb following the Puritama River, finding archaeological remains of the ancient inhabitants of the area along the way. Finally after enjoying the millenary Cardón Cati and nature around this river, we arrive at the beautiful Puritama natural Hot Springs where we enjoy a thermal bath.

 
Old road

Old road

Going down to the canyon

Going down to the canyon

Gardens in the desert

Gardens in the desert

Toconao's Gardens

Difficulty: Easy
Distance by Vehicle: 76 km
Walking Distance: 1.6 km
Duration: 1 hr
Reserves Fees: no


We descend through a deep ravine to find narrow and labyrinthine trails that traverse the heritage of the Toconares. We will see rich orchards cultivated with fruit trees and varied vegetation that show us potential paradises in the desert oasis.

Kezala

Kezala

Pictoglyph

Pictoglyph

Petroglyph

Petroglyph

Kezala

Difficulty: Easy
Distance by Vehicle: 60 km
Walking distance: 3,7 km
Duration of the hike: 2 hrs
Tickets for reserves: 3,000 clp

From the small village of Talabre we enter a deserted ravine where we find around 200 petroglyphs carved into the rock walls and some pictoglyphs. These are representations  made by the Likan-Antay of their experiences and interactions with the environment, they date between 800 and 400 BC.

 

Trekking in San Pedro de Atacama Full Day

Nacimiento canyon

Nacimiento canyon

Follow the river

Follow the river

Rock formations

Rock formations

Nacimiento Canyon

Difficulty: Easy / Intermediate

Distance by Vehicle: 210 km

Walking distance: 12 km

Duration of the hike: 6 hrs

Meals Included: Lunch

Tickets for reserves: No

 

We climb the pre-cordillera, with a fantastic view of the Atacama Salt Flat. We then descend towards the bed of the Nacimiento river where we observe the flora and fauna of the ravines that where inhabited by the first atacameños.

There is also a shorter version of this hike.

Petroglyphs

Petroglyphs

Salty River

Salty River

Clay formations

Clay formations

Salado River / Catarpe

Difficulty: Easy

Distance by Vehicle: 110 km

Walking distance: 14 km

Duration of the hike: 4 hrs

Meals Included: Lunch

Tickets for reserves: 3.000 clp

 

We follow the main water source of the town, the San Pedro river. At the end of our walk we find the white salt river and on our way back we stop at the coca stone where pre-hispanic caravans left their testimony through numerous petroglyphs.

 
Cementery of Talabre

Cementery of Talabre

Vertical rock formations

Vertical rock formations

Abandoned town

Abandoned town

Talabre / Tumbre

Difficulty: Intermediate

Distance by Vehicle: 135 km

Walking distance: 5,4 km

Duration of the hike: 4 hrs

Tickets for reserves: No

 

We start at a village abandoned due to the bombardment of pyroclastic materials from the Lascar volcano, Old Talabre. We ascend watching the remains of this settlement and strange rock formations to reach a traditional grazing site called Tumbre.

Going down from the altiplano

Going down from the altiplano

Abandoned village

Abandoned village

Snack on the road

Snack on the road

Meeting the Salt range

Meeting the Salt range

Close to Rio Grande

Close to Rio Grande

Rio Grande / Machuca

Difficulty: Intermediate

Distance by Vehicle: 135 km

Walking distance: 14 km

Duration of the hike: 5 hrs

Meals Included: Lunch

Tickets for reserves: No

 

From the isolated village of Rio Grande, where time seems to have stopped, we start a long walk to reach the wetlands of Machuca. We cross beautiful landscapes and archeological remains to finally reach Machuca, where the llamas graze and where we find a lagoon populated by flamingos and other birds of the altiplano.

 
Aguas Calientes

Aguas Calientes

Trekking Talar

Trekking Talar

Red Stones

Red Stones

Talar

Difficulty: Intermediate

Distance by Vehicle: 310 km

Walking distance: 7,5 km

Duration of the hike: 3 hrs

Meals Included: Lunch

Tickets for reserves: No

 

We travel through vast mountain landscapes to begin our trek surrounding the Murchota hill, from the heights we enjoy  views of the Capar salt lake and the Talar Salt Flat (Red Rocks) our final destination. You will admire views that look like a painting.

Ascend to the salt flat

Ascend to the salt flat

Rocks surge

Rocks surge

First view of Tara salt flat

First view of Tara salt flat

Cathedrals of Tara

Cathedrals of Tara

Altiplanic Salt Flats

Difficulty: Intermediate / Dificult

Distance by Vehicle: 245 km

Walking distance: 22,7 km

Duration of the hike: 7 hrs

Meals Included: Lunch + Snacks

Tickets for reserves: No

 

We'll go off road for this one, crossing the otherworldly landscapes that take us to Tara, from there we begin a long and beautiful walk to descend towards the Aguas Calientes Salt Flat.

 
Tatio geysers

Tatio geysers

Hot river

Hot river

Natural hot springs

Natural hot springs

Great white geyser

Great white geyser

Great White Geyser

Difficulty: Easy / Intermediate

Distance by Vehicle: 195 km

Walking distance: 4,2 km

Duration of the hike: 2 hrs

Meals Included: Breakfast or Lunch

Tickets for reserves: 10.000 clp

 

We begin our journey through geothermal fields from the most visited spot on the Tatio geysers. We then escape the common by following paths made by the passage of vicuñas, they take us to a river of thermal waters where several pools are formed. Here, in absolute privacy, we can choose at which temperature we want to bathe. We end our hike at the source of this river, the Great White Geyser.

Rainbow Valley

Rainbow Valley

Petroglyphs in Atacama

Petroglyphs in Atacama

Geology in Atacama

Geology in Atacama

Rainbow Hills

Difficulty: Easy

Distance by Vehicle: 150 km

Walking distance: 6 km

Duration of the hike: 2 hrs

Meals Included: Lunch

Tickets for reserves: 3.000 clp

 

We start walking from an ancient shelter that was used by llama trade caravans. Here the rock walls are covered with petroglyphs. From there, we head towards the Rainbow Valley where we see colorful  hills made by plutonic formations, exposed by the folding of the crust due to tectonic movements.

 
Atacama Contact

Callejon Real 576,

San Pedro de Atacama

contact@atacamacontact.com

+56 9 9829 5614

walking by the cactuses