Atacama, Chile

Explorations

We propose a new way of travelling based on in-depht exploration of the surroundings and the luxury of the essential.

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Bike rides
Hikings
Horseback rides
High mountain ascents
Hiking

Salar de Atacama

Departure from explora by van (35 min). Before entering the town of Toconao we begin our hike. We start in a beautiful oasis surrounded by orchards. It is a gentle 45 minute hike. From there, we make our way towards the Reserva Nacional Los Flamencos to Laguna Chaxa, where the Salar de Atacama is located, an ideal spot for bird watching (depending on the season). Here we wait until sunset and head back to the lodge.

  • Type: Half day
  • Duration: 1h
  • Distance: 2 km / 1,2 miles
  • Max. altitude: 2,500 meters / 8,000 feet
Hiking

Cuchabrache heights

Departure from explora by van (25 min.) towards the source of the San Pedro River. We walk uphill to the summit plateau, from where there are spectacular views of the Green valley of Catarpe/ Cuchabrache contrasted by a view of the dry salt range and volcanoes in the distance. Great opportunity to experience panoramic views and enjoy the silence of this less traveled hike. Return to lodge by van.

  • Type: Half day
  • Duration: 2h30m
  • Distance: 6,5 km / 3,9 miles
  • Max. altitude: 3,000 meters / 9,600 feet
Hiking

Yerbas Buenas –Valle del Arcoiris

Departure from explora on the road to Calama, taking a detour to visit the Yerba Buena Petroglyphs. We continue until reaching the small town of Rio Grande, one of the prettiest in Atacama, where we stroll through its quaint streets. Return by van to the lodge.

  • Type: Half day
  • Duration: 2h
  • Distance: 2 km / 1,2 miles
  • Max. altitude: 3,000 meters / 9,600 feet
Hiking

Cornisas

Departure by van towards the Catarpe Valley. Trekking along the cornices of the Cordillera de la Sal, with panoramic views of the Oasis, the Salar de Atacama, and the Andes, finishing at the dunes of Valle de La Muerte. Return to the lodge
by van.

  • Type: Half day
  • Duration: 2h
  • Distance: 4,2 km / 2,5 miles
  • Max. altitude: 3,000 meters / 9,600 feet
Hiking

Quebrada del Diablo

Departure from explora by van towards Vilama. Intense ascent until reaching the Vilama lookout point, with panoramic views of the Volcanoes. Then we continue to hike along the Cordillera de la Sal and descend towards the Quebrada del Diablo Valley, where the high walls of clay and gypsum surround us during the final 45 minutes of the trek. Return to explora
by van.

  • Type: Half day
  • Duration: 2h30m
  • Distance: 5 km / 3 miles
  • Max. altitude: 3,500 meters / 11.200 feet
Hiking

Salar de Tara

Departure from explora by van towards the eastern altiplano area, passing between Licancubur and Cerro Toco. The road hugs the Bolivian border and passes by the Quipiaco Lagoon at 4,600 M (15,100 Ft) above sea level, before descending toward the Monjes de la Apacana. Drive off road across the altiplano, before reaching cathedral-like rock formations and the salt flat; habitat to atliplanic fauna and located approximately 4,200 M (13,800 Ft) above sea level. We take a short walk before enjoying a picnic lunch. Return to hotel
by van.

  • Type: Full day
  • Duration: 1h30m
  • Distance: 2,5 km / 1,5 miles
  • Max. altitude: 4,500 meters / 14,400 feet
Hiking

Salar del Altiplano

Departure from explora by van toward the southern part of the Altiplano, which includes the Salt Flat of the Miscanti Minique Lagoon, Aguas Calientes, and Tuyayito Lagoon, located over 3,960 M (13,200 Ft) above sea level. There we take a short walk followed by a buffet lunch at the Salar de Aguas Calientes. During the van ride back to the lodge we will pass directly through the Altiplano, observing flora
and fauna.

  • Type: Full day
  • Duration: 1h
  • Distance: 3 km / 1,8 miles
  • Max. altitude: 4,500 meters / 14,400 feet
Hiking

Guatín – Punta del Inca

Departure from explora by van taking the road toward the Guatín settlement and the confluence of the Puritama and Purifica rivers. Most of the hike is through a garden of Cardon and Opunsias. The hike follows the river through a canyon, crisscrossing it several times and eventually climbing down two dry waterfalls (approximately a 10 foot/ 3 meter drop). Finally walking out of the canyon we enjoy splendid panoramic views of Atacama. Return to the lodge by van.

  • Type: Half day
  • Duration: 2h30m
  • Distance: 4,2 km / 2,5 miles
  • Max. altitude: 3,000 meters / 9,600 feet
Hiking

Kari

Departure by van on the road towards Calama. Trekking through the Kari Ravine, a small canyon formed by water erosion, surrounded by enormous salt walls. Return to the lodge by van.
(*) This exploration can be cancelled due to certain climate conditions under which natural processes can take place

  • Type: Half day
  • Duration: 2h
  • Distance: 5,5 km / 3,3 miles
  • Max. altitude: 3,000 meters / 9,600 feet
Hiking

Kamur

Departure from explora by van towards the Valle de la Luna, where travelers will be able to appreciate the variations of sunlight and the spectacular landscapes of the Cordillera de la Sal. Return to the lodge by van.
(*) This exploration can be cancelled due to certain climate conditions under which natural processes can take place.

  • Type: Half day
  • Duration: 3h30m
  • Distance: 9 km / 5,4 miles
  • Max. altitude: 3,000 meters / 9,600 feet
Hiking

Guatín – Puritama

Departure from explora by van to Guatín. The trek begins with climbs and descents, finally gaining a total of 270 M (880 Ft) along the way to Puritama, located 3,500 M (11,500 Ft) above sea level. We begin walking eastward above a ravine for approximately 45 minutes, surrounded by ancient cacti. The trek descends into the ravine through pre-puna vegetation until reaching the bottom, where we find some ancient settlements and a river. The terrain is rocky at times. We will arrive at the Puritama Thermal Baths for a chance to enjoy the hot springs and warm pools with a light snack (bathing suit required; towels provided). Return to lodge by van.
*We recommend this hike for travelers who wish to acclimate for hiking at the next level of 4,000 M (13,200 Ft) and above.

  • Type: Half day
  • Duration: 2h30m
  • Distance: 5 km / 3 miles
  • Max. altitude: 3,500 meters / 11,200 feet
Hiking

Machuca Río Grande

Departure from explora by van toward the picturesque village of Machuca (3930 M/ 13100 Ft). Downhill trekking on a slope along the riverbed. Picnic lunch at Peñaliri. A trail along the edges of the cropped terraces of the Rio Grande Village. Return by van. Daypack required.

  • Type: Full day
  • Duration: 5h
  • Distance: 16 km / 9,6 miles
  • Max. altitude: 4,000 meters / 12,800 feet
Hiking

Quebrada de Nacimiento

Departure by van south towards Socaire. We will ascend up to the entrance of the Quebrada de Nacimiento Ravine with panoramic views of the volcanoes. Picnic lunch. Descent along old shepherd’s trails following the river and surrounded by magnificent rock walls. Return by van. Daypack required.

  • Type: Full day
  • Duration: 6h
  • Distance: 12 km / 7,2 miles
  • Max. altitude: 4,500 meters / 14,400 feet
Hiking

Kulamar

We leave the lodge by van and head towards the Altiplano and the Salar of Atacama. We begin walking toward one of the many salt flats of the Altiplano. We might see flamingos or other small birds in and near the lagoon. After descending we walk along the edge of the salt flat. We begin our ascent until reaching the the Salar de Aguas Calientes, from where we have a spectacular view. Finally, we descend to the lunch spot we will choose based on the climate conditions.

  • Type: Full day
  • Duration: 4h30m
  • Distance: 10 km / 6 miles
  • Max. altitude: 4,200 meters / 13,440 feet
Hiking

Copacoya

We leave the lodge by van and head towards the El Tatio geothermal fields. The hike follows an ancient “llaretero” road with panoramic views of the volcanoes. We continue downhill until arriving at the bottom of the gorge. Next, we hike uphill following an area of wind eroded rocks until arriving at several abandoned settlements. We continue along a steep ascending slope until reaching a windy saddle. Then we begin descending and have picnic at the El Tatio Geysers. We return to the lodge by van.
**This is one of the acclimatization hikes required for high mountain ascents.

  • Type: Full day
  • Duration: 4h30m
  • Distance: 7 km / 4,3 miles
  • Max. altitude: 4,500 meters / 14,400 feet
Bike ride

Laguna Céjar

Departure from explora by bicycle towards the south. We cross the ayllus until we reach the entrance to the Salar de Atacama area, where we can observe vegetation specially adapted to the salty ground. The trail is flat and easy, full of areas dusted with chusca (powdery soil). Finally we reach a set of lakes where the Céjar Lagoon is located, and we have the opportunity to float in its salty water (bathing suit and flip-flops required; towels provided). Return to hotel by van.

  • Type: Half day
  • Duration: 2h
  • Distance: 18 km / 11 miles
  • Max. altitude: 2,400 meters / 7,680 feet
Bike ride

Catarpe

We leave the lodge by bike. We go towards the north, passing by Pukará de Quitor (fortures pre-incaica). Then, we enter Catarpe’s former Valley, following the River San Pedro, to visit the Tambo de Catarpe (administrative center Inca) and San Isidro’s Church at the end of the Valley. On the way back there is a possibility to visit the Gully of the Devil.

  • Type: Half day
  • Duration: 2h
  • Distance: 20 km / 12 miles
  • Max. altitude: 2,450 meters / 7,840 feet
Bike ride

Circuito de los Valles

Departure from explora by van along the road that connects San Pedro to Calama. We start from the Llano de la Paciencia toward the Moon Valley on packed gravel roads. The scenery is mesmerizing and the terrain is not technical, although there are several climbs and descents.

  • Type: Half day
  • Duration: 3h30m
  • Distance: 45 km / 27 miles
  • Max. altitude: 2,600 meters / 8,320 feet
Bike ride

Piedra de la Coca

Departure from explora Atacama by bicycle towards the Catarpe Valley. We take a detour on an old dirt road that goes up toward the Cordillera de La Sal. We pedal through a historic tunnel before starting a zigzagging decent through dry river beds, which eventually leads us to Piedra de la Coca, an area with petroglyphs. We continue down through the Llano de Paciencia riding along more dried river beds and stony off-road terrain. The exploration ends when we meet the van waiting for us on the road to San Pedro. Return to hotel by van.

  • Type: Half day
  • Duration: 3h
  • Distance: 18 km / 11 miles
  • Max. altitude: 2,700 meters / 8,640 feet
Bike ride

Quebrada del Diablo

We leave the lodge crossing the Catarpe valley towards the Garganta del Diablo. From here, we will cross ravines of gypsum and crystallized salt. During this bike ride, we will see some of the local culture and visit the San Isidro chapel.

  • Type: Half day
  • Duration: 2h30m
  • Distance: 22 km / 13,2 miles
  • Max. altitude: 2,600 meters / 8,320 feet
Horseback ride

Sequitor

Departure from explora on horseback towards the Ayllus de Larache, Yaye, and Séquitor. Staying close to the perimeter of San Pedro, we see the Río San Pedro, where you can see diverse vegetation and local agrarian fields. Excellent introduction to riding in this area.

  • Type: Half day
  • Duration: 2h
  • Distance: 8 km / 4,8 miles
  • Max. altitude: 2,400 meters / 7,680 feet
Horseback ride

Valle de Quitor

Departure from explora on horseback. Ride through the northern part of the oasis to a viewing place of the Pukará de Quitor, Rio San Pedro, and the surrounding farmlands. Pass the nearby Cordillera de la Sal during the return trip to hotel.

  • Type: Half day
  • Duration: 1h30m
  • Distance: 9 km / 5,4 miles
  • Max. altitude: 2,400 meters / 7,680 feet
Horseback ride

Dunas de la Chula

Departure from explora on horseback to Cordillera de la Sal. On the way we are surrounded by panoramic views of the ayllus, the salt lake, and the Andes Mountains. The trail follows along dunes and rock formations.

  • Type: Half day
  • Duration: 2h
  • Distance: 20 km / 12 miles
  • Max. altitude: 2,500 meters / 8,000 feet
Horseback ride

Solor / Beter

Departure from explora on horseback to the southern ayllus of Tulor and Beter. We walk around the oasis and the desert, and then gallop through the dunes and nearby Beter’s ruins.

  • Type: Half day
  • Duration: 3h30m
  • Distance: 18 km / 11 miles
  • Max. altitude: 2,400 meters / 7,680 feet
Horseback ride

Las Cornisas

Departure from explora on horseback towards Valle de Catarpe. We trot and gallop before climbing the cornices of Cordillera de la Sal, where we can enjoy panoramic views. We return by descending the dunes towards Valle de la Muerte.

  • Type: Half day
  • Duration: 3h
  • Distance: 20 km / 12 miles
  • Max. altitude: 2,700 meters / 8,640 feet
Horseback ride

Valle de la Luna

Departure from explora on horseback towards Valle de Catarpe. We trot and gallop before climbing the cornices of Cordillera de la Sal, where we can enjoy panoramic views. We return by descending the dunes towards Valle de la Muerte.

  • Type: Half day
  • Duration: 4h
  • Distance: 26 km / 15,6 miles
  • Max. altitude: 2,600 meters / 8,320 feet
Horseback ride

Quebrada del Diablo

We leave the hotel crossing the Catarpe valley towards the Garganta del Diablo. From here, we will cross ravines of gypsum and crystallized salt. During this bike ride, we will see some of the local culture and visit the San Isidro chapel.

  • Type: Half day
  • Duration: 3h
  • Distance: 30 km / 18 miles
  • Max. altitude: 2,600 meters / 8,320 feet
High mountain ascent

Jurinquinca (short version)

We leave the lodge by van and head towards the base of the Juriquinca Hill. The ascent starts at 4,500m, where we begin hiking upwards in a route with no trail. When we reach the top, we see the Cordillera de los Andes, with views of the Licancabur and Colorado, as well as parts of the Salar de Atacama.

  • Type: Half day
  • Duration: 3h
  • Distance: 4 km / 2,4 miles
  • Max. altitude: 4.900 meters / 15.680 feet
  • Nights of acclimatization needed: 3
High mountain ascent

Cerro Toco

Departure from explora by van. We begin the ascent at an old sulfur plant and ACT (Atacama Cosmology Telescope) at 5,300 m (17,380 ft). We climb along a steep, but well marked path for 1 to 2 hours. Toco is an ideal introduction to high mountain climbing and offers panoramic views of Chile, Bolivia, and the surrounding volcanoes.

  • Type: Half day
  • Duration: 3h
  • Distance: 3 km / 1,8 miles
  • Max. altitude: 5,604 meters / 17,933 feet
  • Nights of acclimatization needed: 3
High mountain ascent

Volcán Lascar

Departure from explora by van to Laguna Lejia where climbing begins and from where it should take us between 2.5 and 4 hours across rock and volcanic ash. Arrival at the crater allows the appreciation of its activity. It is possible to continue up to the summit (another 40 min) climbing down is by rope howling for 1.5 hours. Lunch. This hike starts at 5000 meters.

  • Type: Full day
  • Duration: 5h
  • Distance: 4 km / 2,4 miles
  • Max. altitude: 5,591 meters / 17,891 feet
  • Nights of acclimatization needed: 3
High mountain ascent

Jurinquinca

We leave the lodge by van and head towards the quaint village of Machuca. We begin hiking towards the top of the Juriquinca Hill, crossing several ravines along the way, ad observing the local vicuñas and birds. Once we reach the base of Jurinquinca, we begin our hike to the top. The hill has three “fake peaks”, which help travelers to gradually acclimatize to the height along the way. This hike starts at 4100 meters.

  • Type: Full day
  • Duration: 5h
  • Distance: 12 km / 7,2 miles
  • Max. altitude: 4,990 meters / 15,968 feet
  • Nights of acclimatization needed: 3
High mountain ascent

Volcán Saciel

Depart from explora by van (2 hrs) to arrive at a sulfur mine located between Bolivia and Chile and on the folds of the Sairecabur Volcano (5,300 M / 17,400 Ft). Begin ascent on a steep, unmarked rocky trail. One will find much more wind on this ascent compared to the Cerro Toco. After 2 hours trekking arrive at the edge of the Saciel Crater and the summit with a spectacular view of inside the crater. Depending on the wind conditions, we decide where to safely descend. Return to the van and back to the hotel.

  • Type: Full day
  • Duration: 2h30 to 3h
  • Distance: 3 km / 1,8 miles
  • Max. altitude: 5,674 meters / 18,157 feet
  • Nights of acclimatization needed: 3
High mountain ascent

Volcán Corona

Departure from explora by van towards Talabre. The ascent begins by trekking across volcanic rocks and boulders, lasting between 2.5 to 4 hours depending on snow conditions. On the summit, we enjoy amazing views of the entire volcanic arc of the Andes, including Lascar Volcano. We descend through numerous volcanic rock fields for 2 to 2.5 hours. We have lunch in the altiplano.

  • Type: Full day
  • Duration: 9h30m
  • Distance: 4 km / 2,4 miles
  • Max. altitude: 5,291 meters / 16,931 feet
  • Nights of acclimatization needed: 4
High mountain ascent

Volcán Sairecabur

Departure from explora by van heading north towards Azufrera Saciel, where we will tour an old mine. Our drive continues, as we curve our way up to the Sairecabur Caldera—part of the Sairecabur Volcano Complex. Here we begin our ascent across loose rocks, stones, and boulders. We cross through an old, abandoned sulfur mine, before the final steep ascent across rocks and boulders. The summit is the highest dome of Sairecabur.

  • Type: Full day
  • Duration: 8h to 10h
  • Distance: 3 km / 1,8 miles
  • Max. altitude: 6,010 meters / 19,232 feet
  • Nights of acclimatization needed: 3
High mountain ascent

Volcán Colorado

Departure from explora by van to El Tatio. 6 to 7 hours ascent across large rock and loose stones. Arrival at summit, pinic lunch with panoramic views.

  • Type: Full day
  • Duration: 9h
  • Distance: 6 km / 3,6 miles
  • Max. altitude: 5,748 meters / 18,394 feet
  • Nights of acclimatization needed: 4
High mountain ascent

Volcán Licancabur

We spend a night in high altitude, camping at 4,600 m (15,000 ft). We are accompanied by a local Bolivian mountain guide. Tent, sleeping bag, mattress, and food are provided. Travelers must provide their own appropriate clothing and mountain hiking boots (ask for “what to bring” list).

*This exploration requires confirmation 60 days prior to arrival at explora. Visa to enter Bolivia is requested.

  • Type: Full day
  • Duration: 2 days
  • Distance: 6 km / 3,6 miles
  • Max. altitude: 5,916 meters / 18,931 feet
  • Nights of acclimatization needed: 6

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