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Route

Technical Characteristics:

Route Profile:  Medium, designed for people who lead active lives and are comfortable participating in up to [5] hours of physical activity per day. Programs at this level generally involve some activities of higher intensity and/or a more vigorous pace.

Distance: Biking: 264 km
Hiking: 39.8 km

Travel Season: Departures: Sundays June 5; July 3; July 17; September 25 and October 9, 2022
Other dates on request from March to November

Accommodation:

Variety of 3* and 4* hotels all with private facilities

Hike & bike among astonishing landscapes surrounded by volcanoes and secret paths between valleys, salt flats & gorges. You will learn more about the history of the Atacama Desert, culture, archaeology, native flora and fauna.​

Itineraries

Day 1

Morning Bike Los Ayllus & Likan Antay Experience 30 km / Afternoon Hike Kari Gorge 8 km / Stargazing At Night

On our first day, you will meet your team of local professional guides at Hotel Casa de Don Tomás, at 9:00 am. They will go over all logistic details and help you fit your bike to your satisfaction. Make sure you arrive to Chile and the Atacama Desert with at least one day in advance. Morning Ride: Today we will have a great introductory experience to the Likan Antay culture and its way of living. We will leave the hotel by bike and ride through different ayllus. The Ayllu is an ancient type of organization and land management. Created by the Altiplano people who inhabited these desert sites, it was this that allowed for the settlement and development of these cultures, managing the landscape to survive in the most complex conditions of this isolated place, in the middle of the driest desert in the world. We will pass by Solcor, Sequitor & Tulor. Here we will make our first stop in order to visit the archeological site Tulor, one of the oldest archaeological sites of northern Chile. Then we will meet Wildo and his family at the ayllu of Coyo and share with his family some daily activities and ancestral cosmovision. We will enjoy lunch at a local restaurant in Coyo, tasting typical food prepared with local products. Finally, we will bike back to the hotel, rest from the sun and get prepared four our afternoon excursion.
Afternoon Hike: During the afternoon we’ll head toward the Salt Mountain Range, which forms a natural barrier between the Pacific Ocean and the Atacama Salt Flat. The hike starts at the Coyote rock, a strange rock formation and getting deep into the mountain range and it geologic forms. We’ll hike two hours by the Kari George located in the Moon Valley, admiring beautiful views of Atacama. The Moon is well-known due to it statuesque and rocky formations. Salt emerges to the surface, covering the surface with a dry, whitish layer that gives the place a lunar aspect. Evening Activity: At night we will enjoy an amazing astronomy outing. We'll spend two hours that starts with an astronomy lecture in a specially equipped room, followed by naked eye star-gazing and finally, a celestial bodies telescopic observation.

Day 2

Morning Hike Guatin – Puritama Hotspring 6.8 km / Afternoon Bike Toconao & Chaxa Lagoon 63.7 km

Morning Hike: After breakfast departure from your hotel by van (30 minutes) on the road towards the North East. The excursion starts out by ascending from the Guatín settlement. The hike begins climbing along at 273 meter slope towards the Puritama hot springs. The trail passes through ancient settlements and hundred year old cactus; the terrain is rocky at times. Once we reach the hot springs we will relax in mineral hot water and enjoy snacks. Return to San Pedro de Atacama; lunch in the village on your own. Afternoon Ride: Once here we will visit the main plaza, the church and the historic bell tower, all of them historic symbols of this town. Moreover, we will visit some vegetable gardens and sample some local wine. After we will continue biking towards "Reserva Nacional Los Flamencos", where the Atacama Salt Flat is located and bird watching is amazing. This National Reserve is formed by a gigantic depression of more than 3, 500 km2, located at 2,300 meters high. The Atacama salt flat is the biggest salt field in Chile and its large quantities of salt make the surface white and rough. The dryness and altitude of the salt field allow an excellent panoramic view of the area. The bottom of the salt field is composed of an enormous lake, which receives water from mountain rivers and melting snow. As it has no runoff, several small lagoons have formed, where we can observe the three species of flamingos living in the area: Puna, Andean and the Chilean flamingo. Here we will wait until sunset and then head back by van to our hotel in San Pedro and spend the night (in summer sunset is around 9:00 pm and in winter around 6:00 pm).

Day 3

Morning Bike Tebinquinche & Cejar Lagoon 40 km / Afternoon Bike Piedra De La Coca & Mars Valley 36 km

Morning Ride: Today we’ll bike towards Ojos del Salar, Tebinquiche and the Cejar Lagoon, where you’ll get the chance to swim, enjoying the gravitational effect caused by the amount of salt condensed, making you float very easily. Your eyes will be amazed with the beautiful turquoise color of the lagoon. Lunch on your own. Afternoon Ride: After lunch we leave by bicycle to Catarpe through a road that goes up to the Salt Ridge. We go through an ancient tunnel before starting a descent that will take us to the Piedra de la Coca, a site with petroglyphs. We continue our trip to the Paciencia plains through stony grounds and on our way back we pass through the Mars Valley. Return to San Pedro de Atacama and overnight.

Day 4

Bike & Hike Guatin-Machuca-Rio Grande (Full Day) Bike 22 km Hike 16 km

Today we will experience a full day excursion combining biking & hiking. We will leave the hotel by van until we reach the Guatin Valley. Here we will start biking towards Machuca Village. Starting at 3,600 meters above sea level we will go biking uphill passing by the intermediate gorges and rock formations until we get to the high flats where Machuca is located. Here we will enjoy the wetlands and we will be able to appreciate different bird species. We will have time for a rest and get prepared to start hiking. We will hike along a creek to the Grande River. In this exploration we can see fauna and typical Andean farming terraces. The path is an old caravan trail and goes alongside the river. We will stop for lunch at Peñaliri, an abandoned village and continue hiking until we reach Rio Grande a very charming and authentic village. The path is an old caravan trail and goes alongside the river. Finally, we’ll head back to the village and stay overnight, dinner is on your own.

Day 5

Hike El Tatio Geysers (Full Day) 9 km

Today we will enjoy a hike at the geothermal field. We will hike thorough abandoned shelters and native wildlife. This hike around the Copa Coya Hill to the Tatio Geysers provides unforgettable moments. The red hued rock which the wider valley is known for turns to a dusty grey or pale orange throughout this excursion, which begins on the trails surrounding Copa Coya Hill. Despite its elevation and apparent isolation, the route is known to attract its fair share of on looking wildlife as you hike, including native Vizcachas, Vicuñas and an abundance of llareta plants, the longest living in the world. We will enjoy lunch at the geothermal field with the chance to take a swim at the thermal pools. Later, we’ll return to San Pedro de Atacama and enjoy dinner together with your local guides.

Day 6

Bike Andean Villages – Alto Loa (Full Day) 89 km

Today we will leave the town of San Pedro de Atacama to discover beautiful and charming towns at the Alto Loa. We will drive for about one hour from San Pedro towards the area of Tocorpuri, passing some wetlands and long plateaus. We will start biking at 4, 000 meters on a paved road. The road has rolling hills and amazing views to volcanoes and ravines. We will bike for about 40 kilometers descending the famous Cuesta de la Chita until we reach the town of Caspana which is developed in an environment of agricultural crops and small livestock. It has the permanent irrigation of the Caspana River, which favors the agricultural cultivation in terraces. Here we will enjoy lunch. Afterwards we will continue biking alongside the Alto Loa area to get to the Ayquina village and the isolated Turi Pukara which is a residential and ceremonial hub of the Atacama culture, dating from the year 1250. Here we will take our vans and drive to Calama where we will stay overnight and enjoy our farewell dinner together.

Day 7

Bike Chiu-Chiu Village, Lasana Valley & Pre-Inca Fortress (Half Day) 20 km / Transfer-Out Calama Airport

After breakfast we will drive from the hotel towards the Town of Chiu Chiu. This village is located in an oasis that in pre-Hispanic times had a large concentration of Likan Antay population and was part of the Inca Trail. From here we will start biking through the Lasana Valley until we arrive to Lasana Pukara, a well-preserved 12th century fortress where its more than 100 buildings built in stone. We will have the chance to visit this archeological site and bike back to Chiu Chiu. Here we will take the vans back to the hotel and get prepared to drive to the airport in Calama. End of our services.

Prices

    Included:

    • 5 nights' accommodation at Hotel La Casa de Don Tomas
    • 1 night's accommodation at Hotel Noi Borde Loa
    • Professional tour guide (1 guide per 7 guests)
    • Private ground transportation in Mercedes Benz Sprinter or Similar (12 seats + guides)
    • Meals as per itinerary (6 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 2 dinners and 1 welcome cocktail)
    • Accident and medical insurance
    • Rides and hikes as described on itinerary
    • All activities according to the itinerary
    • Entrance fees to natural and cultural attractions

    Not Included:

    • International and local flights
    • Gratuities at restaurants and hotels
    • Other cycle parts and components (derailleur, crankset, fork, etc)
    • Extra beverages & cocktails
    • Laundry and SPA services
    • Gratuity to tour conductor/crew about $120.00 USD per person

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