Visit the Atacama Desert & Northwest Argentina

Trip ideas
Duration (in days): 7

From: Calama

To: Salta

From

£1,135

Exc. International flights (per person, based on 2 sharing) 
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Overview

Spend seven days discovering the Atacama Desert and the city of Salta in North West Argentina.

You’ll spend the first three nights in the picturesque town of San Pedro de Atacama with fascinating guided tours to Death Valley, Moon Valley, the Atacama salt lake and El Tatio geysers – the world’s highest geothermal field.

Next, you’ll cross the border on a long (but super-scenic!) bus journey through deserts, mountains and lush valleys until you reach Argentina. Here, you’ll spend three nights exploring the colonial city of Salta and the surrounding area including Humahuaca Gorge – an ancient Inca trading route that’s rich history and cultural tradition. This short trip combines impressive landscapes with some fascinating insights into local Andean communities who still live according to their old traditions and culture.

This itinerary can be tailored to suit your requirements, please contact one of our consultants to start planning your dream trip.

Highlights

  • Visit the other-worldly Death and Moon Valleys
  • See the El Tatio geyser jets at the world’s highest geothermal field
  • Crossing from Chile Argentina on the stunning route from the Atacama and Salta
  • Visit Salta’s MAAM Museum to understand the Incan culture and heritage
  • Tour Humahuaca Gorge and learn the history of this ancient trade route
Itinerary

 

Itinerary in brief:

  • 3 nights in San Pedro de Atacama
  • 3 nights in Salta

 

Day 1: Arrive in Calama     

On arrival at Calama airport, you’ll be met and taken to San Pedro de Atacama to check in for a three-night stay. In the afternoon, you’ll join a small group tour to visit the Death and Moon valleys where you’ll witness the spectacular sunset over the incredible sand and stone formations. At the end of the tour, you’ll be driven back to your hotel.


Day 2: San Pedro, Toconao & Atacama Salt Lake 

After breakfast, you’ll go on a tour of San Pedro followed by a visit to the 3,000-year-old pre-Columbian village of Tulor. The archaeological remains here are the oldest evidence of human settlement in the valley. You’ll have lunch and continue to the village of Toconao and the Atacama Salt Lake, an ancient inland sea characterised by stunning rock formations and crystalised salt formed millions of years ago. In the late afternoon, you’ll be taken back to your hotel to spend the evening at leisure.    


Day 3: El Tatio and Machuca      

There’s an early start today as you’ll be picked up before dawn and driven to El Tatio Geysers, a geothermal field with impressive peaks all around. The scenery is spectacular and at 4,300m and this is the highest in the world. We suggest bringing some warm clothing for today’s excursions as temperatures at this kind of altitude and time of day can be quite low. We’ve included a packed breakfast followed by a visit to the village of Machuca. You’ll return to San Pedro late morning and will have a free afternoon.       


Day 4: Bus journey to Salta

Today you’ll cross from Chile into Argentina with a long, yet spectacular bus journey to reach beautiful Salta. You’ll be picked up at your hotel in San Pedro after breakfast and taken to the bus terminal. The trip is about 10 hours but buses are very comfortable, and you’ll be passing through such beautiful landscapes that the time will fly! Bring food and drinks for the bus as only a snack is provided and you won’t have many opportunities during the journey to buy refreshments.  

Once you arrive in Salta, you’ll be taken you to your hotel for a three-night stay.


Day 5: Salta city tour 

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before a morning tour of the city. Salta is the provincial capital of this mountainous region, founded in 1582. It is famous for its Spanish colonial architecture combined with Andean heritage. The afternoon will be free for you to spend as you wish.        


Day 6: Humahuaca Gorge   

Today will be an early departure to travel to the Quebrada de Humahuaca (Humahuaca Gorge), s a narrow and arid mountain valley that follows the line of the Camino Inca, along the spectacular valley of the Rio Grande. The valley’s residents adhere to their ancient traditions, and you’ll learn how the valley still shows evidence of its use as a major trade route over the past 10,000 years.

You’ll also visit some of the villages where you’ll have lunch, and at the end of the day, you’ll be driven back to your hotel in Salta.

North-west of Argentina has a diversity of landscapes; South of Salta are lush, green valleys famous for wine production. If you wish to visit some of these wineries and maybe even spend a night, we suggest speaking to one of our consultants and add a night or two to this itinerary.


Day 7: Depart Salta    

You’ll be collected from your hotel today and be taken to the airport by private transfer to connect with your onward travel plans.

Info

You can visit the Atacama and the north-west of Argentina throughout the year. However, the months from September to November and March to May are considered the shoulder season, with good weather and lesser tourists.

This itinerary is purely a suggestion and can be tailor-made to your requirements, so please contact us with your dates and requests, and we’ll put together a bespoke quotation for you.

What's included: 

  • 6 nights accommodation with daily breakfast
  • Return airport transfers
  • Meals as mentioned in the itinerary
  • Excursions as mentioned in the itinerary in small groups
  • Bus ticket from San Pedro de Atacama to Salta

Not included: 

  • Flights
  • Any meals not mentioned
  • Any excursions not mentioned
  • Personal expenses
  • Tips & gratuities
Accommodation

6 nights in 4* standard accommodation.

Hotels in this category include:

  • Kimal San Pedro

  • Design Suites Salta
     
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