Atacama: Volcanoes and Salars

Chile

A guided tour in the north of Chile to discover the volcanoes and salars of San Pedro de Atacama.

Make the most of an evening observing the stars and a climb up the volcano Lascar (optional) : Beautiful landscapes with surnatural colours, an oasis in the middle of the desert, the sky full of stars and the geysers of El Tatio. Everything matches to make this visit an extraordinary experience!

€100 OFF for WATOC congress participants (booking before March 31)

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Day 01: SANTIAGO DE CHILE / SAN PEDRO DE ATACAMA
Santiago de Chile: welcome at the airport or at your hotel by your french and english guide. For the rest of the day you will be accompanied by a local guide to visit the town.
Lunch (free to do as you wish).
The Chilean capitol with all its charm is tucked at the foot of the Andes. Although it has become a modern and busy town there are still some parts of it full of romantic charm.

Flight late afternoon for Calama (18:15 – 20:20).
Transfer to San Pedro de Atacama.
Check in at the hotel La Casa de Don Tomas (three star or similar).
Night at hotel.

Day 02
Departure to visit the Salar of Atacama …
We visit the village of Toconao. This village with its stone houses is not quite as well known as San Pedro. A river runs through the village, from where, leaves a gorge that is home to many fruit trees: Valley Jere. After visiting the village, we will continue to the National Park Los Flamencos where Chaxa Lagoon, surrounded by the Salar, has three flamingo species: the Andean flamingo, Chilean flamingos and finally, James flamingos.

2/3 hours in the day will be spent hiking being able to discover the Salar de Atacama, San Pedro oasis, Coyo and Ayllus…

Evening Southern Sky: The evening will be devoted to observing the sky. At nightfall, we start with a French astronomer at a semi-professional observatory in San Pedro for a discovery session of the southern sky. After 2 hours of observation alternating between five telescopes on the site, you will complete the evening with explanations of what you saw with a hot drink before returning to the village.
Night at the hotel.

Day 03
Leaving early in the morning (around 4:00 am) to the Geysers of El Tatio, located at 4300 m. We arrive by a track (which is about three hours away) to the field of geysers of El Tatio (Los geysers El Tatio) and its numerous hot springs. The valley of El Tatio is a wonderful place to see geysers, colourful pools, terraces and mud pots in a landscape of active volcanoes. El Tatio contains at least 80 active geysers, although the height of their spurt is not very high it’s the third largest geyser field in the world after Yellowstone (USA) and Dolina Geizerov (Kamchatka) and the largest in the southern hemisphere.

After returning to San Pedro de Atacama, the afternoon will be devoted to visiting the Valley of the Moon. As its name suggests it is a lunar-like valley, nestled in the Cordillera de la Sal. You will discover numerous and surprising geological formations sculpted by the winds. Some sculptures seem to be handmade such as Las Tres Marias. We will also discover the salt mines and Death Valley.
Night at the hotel.

Day 04

Today will be devoted to the rise of the Lascar volcano, which is one of the most active volcanoes of the Andes with a strong smoke activity interspersed with occasional violent explosions. The volcano has four craters, which were juxtaposed or superimposed during its development which originated more than 200,000 years. Its historical activity consisted of a growth of domes in the central crater, often sprayed during explosive phases …

A major eruption took place in April 1993, projecting an ash cloud more than 25 kilometers high and whose ashes were carried as far as Buenos Aires, 1500 km away.
3 to 4 hours to climb up to the crater ahead (3 km diameter) at 5000 m.
The climb stops at the crater and not right at the top.

Top temperatures from -2 to 5 degrees. Return to San Pedro in the late afternoon.

The ascent is optional. For others, a free day in San Pedro (in this case, you may eat where you like but meals are at your expense).
Night at the hotel.

Day 05
At about 130km from San Pedro, Salar de Tara is one of the most isolated places, but also one of the most impressive landscapes of the Altiplano.
Located at 4300m altitude, this salar is bordered by volcanoes and volcanic formations eroded by time, whose forms are very original and surprising. “The guardians of Pacana” pillars erected on the sand eroded by wind or “cathedrals of Tara” huge rocks sculpted by nature, forming a “fortress”. But in this hostile environment, the laguna Tara maintains it’s flora and fauna who have adapted to this cold and barren world.
Night at the hotel.

Day 06
Transfer to Calama airport – flight to Santiago

HIKES
There are no particular physical difficulties during this visit. The days are punctuated by short hikes on various sites without any real difficulties.
Note that your visit is at high altitude (San Pedro de Atacama is 2438m above sea level and the El Tatio geysers are located between 4200 and 4600m above sea level).
The day dedicated to the Lascar volcano is difficult, for those who choose this ascent. But the ascent is optional. The departure of the hike is at 4700m above sea level, the crater rim is about 5400m and the summit is 5592m.

CATERING:
We have meals together in small local restaurants. Depending on requirements, some lunches will be picnics.

Group size: This tour will only be operated with a minimum of 4 participants per departure; maximum group size is 14 participants.

NOTE: The programme and itinerary are for information only. Certain activities or parts of the programme may be modified, replaced or cancelled for various reasons such as weather, the closure of the site, access conditions of excavation sites , schedule changes, etc. … Any changes or cancellations cannot give rise to a refund. However, the guide will make every effort to adapt to the living conditions encountered on site and allow you to enjoy your trip.

11/10 to 17/10/2014

€2490 per person
€100 OFF for WATOC congress participants (booking before March 31)

Included in the price:
• Domestic flight Santiago / San Pedro de Atacama
• Air taxes (Domestic flight)
• English-speaking guide
• Transfers in a suitable private vehicle
• Accommodation in double or twin rooms as specified in the quotation or similar
• Full board except meals and drinks in Santiago.
• Taxes and entrance fees to the sites mentioned in the quotation.
• The astronomy evening “observation of the southern sky”

Not included in the price:
• International flight to Santiago
• Airports taxes
• Insurance assistance, repatriation, (mandatory) and cancellation.
• Accommodation and meals in Santiago
• Drinks
• Personal expenses
• The entries to the sites and museums and optional activities not mentioned in “the price included”.
• Tips (guides, porters in hotels, drivers, etc.).
• The additional actual cost of stay in case of a change of flights.
• SGL room supplement €270 (mandatory for individual entries *)

*Depending on the number and sex of participants you may need the ability to share a room – SGL supplement will be refunded.

Group size: This tour will only be operated with a minimum of 4 participants per departure; maximum group size is 14 participants.

The price of this trip is calculated by availability and the fares available according to the dates of your visit. The price is subject to change and availability at time of booking. The tickets are issued on reservation.

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