Sacred Earth Travel - Sustainable Nature and Adventure Travel

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llamas in Atacama horseback riding in the valley of the moon salar pool at explora atacama valley of the moon, atacama


These excursions can be taken from the 1st day onward.

1. KARI

Duration: 3 to 3.5 hours (half-day), 2 to 2.5 hours of walking.
Distance by foot: 4.8 km (3 miles).
Itinerary: Departure by van (20 min.) along the road towards Calama. Trekking along Quebrada Kari, a small canyon formed by water erosion and flanked by it´s enormous salt walls. Return by van (15 min).
Level: Easy, with the exception of two 8 foot-high vertical descents.

2. GUATÍN – PUNTA DEL INCA

Duration: Half-day, 2 to 2.5 hours walking.
Distance by foot: 4.2 km (2.6 miles).
Itinerary: Departure from explora by van (35 min.) on the road towards the North-East. The excursion starts out by descending from the Guatín settlement until Punta del Inca, following the river’s course down through the ravine /canyon. Return by van (35 min.)
Level: Easy descent through rocky terrain, with a bit of loose ground.

3. CORNISAS

Duration: Length: 3 to 3.5 hours (half-day), walking for 2 to 2.5 hours.
Distance by foot: 4.2 km (2.6 miles).
Itinerary: Departure by van (30 min.) towards 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, ending at the dunes of Valle de la Muerte. Return by van (15 min.).
Level: Easy.

4. KAMUR

Duration: 2.5 to 3 hours (half-day), walking 2 to 2.5 hours.
Distance by foot: 8.5 km (5.3 miles).
Itinerary: Departure from Hotel de Larache by van (35 min.) towards the Valle de la Luna. From there the trekking will allow visitors to appreciate the variations of sunlight and the spectacular landscapes at Cordillera de la Sal. The highest point at 2,520 mts (8,400 ft) is reached near the end of the walk.
Level: Easy

5. ATACAMA CULTURE

Duration: 3.5 hours by van (half-day). Distance: 15 km (9.5 miles) approx.
Itinerary: Departure from explora by van to Museo Padre Le Paige. This is a good introductory approach to this area. Then, departure by van towards Pukará de Quitor. Trekking with an optional climbing to the Pukará’s summit. By van we visit Ayllu de Solor with a chance to observe how the Atacama people live nowadays.
Level: Easy.

6. CUCHABRACHE HEIGHTS

Duration: 3.5 to 4 hours (half-day), walking 2 to 2.5 hours.
Distance by foot: 4.8 km (3.0 miles).
Itinerary:Departure from Hotel de Larache by van (50 min.) towards the bocatoma of San Pedro river. Uphill walk to Alto de Cuchabrache, identifying petroglyphs along the trail, with views to Catarpe and Quitor valleys. Return to Hotel de Larache by van (35 min.).
Level: Easy.

7. LAGUNA CHAXA

Duration: 3.5 hrs. (half-day), 30 minutes walk.
Itinerary: Departure from explora by van towards the town of Toconao located 38 km. (23.5 miles) South from San Pedro de Atacama. Once in Toconao you visit the Plaza de Toconao, the Church and the historic Bell Tower, all of them historic symbols of this town. After 25 minutes of exploring through the village, we make our way towards the "Reserva Nacional los Flamencos" to the Laguna Chaxa, were the Salar de Atacama is located and bird watching is amazing. Here we wait for dawn to arrive in order to head back to the Hotel de Larache.
Level: Easy trekking (3,000 - 4,000 mts / 9,840 - 13,120 ft)

These explorations can be done starting from the 2nd day.

8. GUATIN - PURITAMA

Duration: 3.5 to 4 hours (half-day), 2 to 2.5 hours walking.
Distance by foot: 5 km (3.1 miles).
Itinerary: Departure by van (35 min.) to Guatín, where the trek begins climbing along a 820 ft slope towards Puritama (11,574 feet). The trail passes through ancient settlements and hundred year old cacti; the terrain is rocky at times.
Level: Moderate.

9. QUEBRADA DEL DIABLO

Duration: Half day, 2.5 hours walking.
Distance by foot: 5 km (3.1 miles).
Itinerary: Departure from Hotel de Larache by van (15 min.) towards Vilama. Intense ascent until reaching the Vilama look-out point, with a view of the volcanoes. A trek along the Cordillera de la Sal (salt range) on descent towards the Quebrada del Diablo, where the high walls of clay and gypsum surround us during the final 45 min. of the trek. Return to Hotel de Larache by van (20 min.).
Level: Moderate

10. QUEBRADA DE JERE

Duration: 6 to 7 hours (full-day), 4.5 to 5.5 hours walking.
Distance by foot: 10.2 km (6.4 miles).
Itinerary: Departure by van (40 min.) to Toconao. Ascending trek along Quebrada de Jere. Strong contrast between the lush orchards within the canyon and the dryness of the surrounding desert. Picnic lunch at the site. Several gorges are crossed during the trek along the ancient shepherd trails through the canyon. Return by van (40 min.)
Level: Demanding, even though the maximum height is only 3,150 mts (10,500 ft). A daypack is required. Additionally, there is an option for a 1.5 hour walk excursion (half-day) into the farmlands of Jere.

11. RÍO GRANDE

Duration: 7 to 8 hours (full-day), 4.5 to 5.5 hours walking.
Distance by foot: 14 km (8.7 miles).
Itinerary: Departure from explora by van (1.5 hrs.) towards picturesque village of Machuca (3,930 mts / 13,100 ft). Downhill trekking on a slope of approx. 787 mts (2,625 ft). along the river bed. Picnic lunch at Peñaliri. A trail follows along the edges of the crop terraces of the Río Grande village. Return by van.
Level: Moderate. Daypack required.

12. CASPANA - CHIU-CHIU

Duration: 8 hours by van (full-day).
Distance: 200 km (125 miles).
Itinerary: Departure from explora by van (2.5 hours) crossing the altiplano towards the picturesque village of Caspana (3,270 mts/ 10,900 ft), passing by the Geysers del Tatio. Trek across the Caspana farmlands. Lunch at the village. The trip continues with the visit of the ancient Lasana Pukará (pre-colombian fortress), the Chiu-Chiu church, and finally towards the airport in Calama.
Level: Very Easy.

13. TULAN – TILOMONTE

Duration: Full day. 4.5 hours walking.
Itinerary: Departure from explora by van (2 hrs), crossing the Salar de Atacama, to reach the town of Peine. Next we continue by van for approx. 35 min. until reaching the ancient indigenous settlement named Tulan (13,150 mts / 10,500 ft), where we continue on foot until reaching the village named Tilomonte (2,322 mts / 7,743 ft). Lunch in the town. Return by van.
Level: Moderate trekking (4,000 - 5,000 mts / 13,120 - 16,400 ft)

These explorations can be done starting from the 3th day.

14. QUEBRADA DE NACIMIENTO

Duration: 8.5 to 9.5 hours (full-day), 5.5 to 6.5 hours walking.
Distance by foot: 12.5 km (7.8 miles).
Itinerary: Departure by van (1.5 hrs) south towards Socaire. Ascending hike with views of the volcanoes up to the entrance of the ravine, Quebrada de Nacimiento. Picnic lunch. Descent along old shepherds trail, following the river and surrounded by magnificent rock walls. Return by van (1.5 hrs).
Level: Moderate. Daypack required.

15. COPA COYA

Duration: 10 to 11 hours (full-day), 4.5 to 5.5 hours walking. Distance by foot: 10.5 km (6.5 miles).
Itinerary: Early departure from Hotel de Larache by van (2 hrs) towards geothermal field (4,320 mts / 14,176 ft). Descending hike following an ancient "llaretero" road, with views of the volcanoes. Uphill to our picnic lunch spot. After lunch, we begin an ascending trek (328 mts / 1,094 ft. slope) on the edge of Copa Coya hill. Return to explora by van with an optional bath at the Puritama hot springs.
Level: Demanding. Daypack required.

16. SALAR DE TARA

Duration: Full day. 1 to 2 hours walking.
Itinerary: Departure from explora, traveling by van (2 hrs) towards the Salar de Tara (Tara Salt Flat), located approx. 3,936 mts (13,120 ft). above sea level. The road flanks the Bolivian borderline, passing through the aguada de Quipiaco (Quipiaco Lagoon), the monjes de la apacana and the cathedral-like rock formations before reaching the salt flat, habitat to altiplanic fauna. Lunch at the site, a short trek and back to Hotel de Larache.
Level: Easy.

17. SALARES DEL ALTIPLANO

Duration: Full day. One hour walk.
Itinerary: Departure by van (2 hrs.) towards the salar de Aguas Calientes and Laguna Tuyayito, located over 3,960 km (13,200 ft) above sea level, where we will take a short trek. Buffet lunch at the salar de Aguas Calientes. Along the road we will pass directly through the altiplano observing its flora and fauna. Return to explora.
Level: Easy.

18. TATIO

Duration: 5 hours (half-day), 1 hour walk through the geothermic field of the Geisers del Tatio (4,320 mts / 14,176 ft).
Itinerary: Departure by van towards the Geysers del Tatio (2 hours aprox) passing through the town of Machuca. After an hour of exploration through the geothermic fields, we go to the Termas de Puritama for a swim and then back to explora.
Level: Medium high mountain climbing (5,000 - 6,000 mts / 16,400 - 19,680 ft)

Climbing high-altitude mountains and volcanoes are demanding excursions which are suitable for people who are in good physical shape. These are not permitted for people who have trouble with heights or a heart condition. In some areas there are trails, although they are generally ascended by rope or rocks, and there is a chance of ice or snow. Climbing these mountains allows guests to observe the beauty of the surrounding landscape and interesting land formations in the area. Competition is not the goal (neither competing against oneself nor against others). It is necessary to acclimatize for two or more days beforehand by trekking in high altitudes. The recommended season for these climbs is September to April, keeping in mind complications that may arise from the altiplanic rainy season (January and February). The coldest season at high altitude level is from May to August.

19. CERRO TOCO (5,604 mts / 18,381 ft)

Duration: 6 to 7 hours (morning), 1.5 to 2.5 hours walking, depending on the amount snow.
Slope: Approximately 540 mts (1,800 ft).
Itinerary: Departure from Hotel de Larache by van, reaching an old sulfur plant (1.5 hrs); from this point begins an ascent, climbing along a well marked step path. Summit offers panoramic views of Chile, Bolivia and Argentina.
Level: Moderate.

20. CERRO CORONA (5,291 mts / 17,359 ft)

Duration: Full day.
Slope: 738 mts (2,460 ft.)
Itinerary: Departure from Hotel de Larache by van towards Talabre (2hrs.). The ascent begins across volcanic rock and ash, lasting between 2.5 to 4 hrs. depending on snow conditions. Lunch is served at the summit, on the crown. Descent through volcanic rock fields for 2 to 2.5 hrs.
Level: Moderate to Demanding.

21. VOLCÁN SAIRECABUR (6,010 mts / 19,712 ft)

Duration: 8 to 9 hours (full-day).
Slope: approx. 639 mts (2,130 ft).
Itinerary: Departure from explora by van towards Azufrera Sasiel. 2.5 to 3 hour ascent across large rock and loose stones. Arrival at the highest summit of the region. Climbing down is difficult and takes 2.5 hours. Lunch and optional bath at Puritama hot springs. Level: Demanding.

22. VOLCÁN COLORADO (5,748 mts / 18,853 ft)

Duration: 11 to 12 hours (full-day).
Slope: Approx. 1,230 mts (4,100 ft).
Itinerary: Departure from explora by van to El Tatio. 6 to 7 hour ascent across large rock and loose stones. Arrival at summit. Picnic lunch with views. Climbing down is difficult and takes 3 to 4 hours.
Level: Demanding.

23. VOLCÁN LICANCABUR (5,916 mts / 19,404 ft)

Duration: 2 full days.
Slope: 1,329 mts (4,430 ft) approximately, depending on the amount of snow.
Itinerary: Departure by van, crossing the Bolivian border. Base campsite at 4,560 mts (15,200 ft). Afternoon trek towards Laguna Verde. Early morning ascent with flashlights along Incas ruins. We reach the summit after 7 or 8 hours and get a view to the crater and the world’s highest lagoon. Climbing down is difficult and takes 3 to 4 hours.
Level: Demanding.
NOTE: this exploration requires confirmation 60 days prior to arrival at explora. Visa to enter Bolivia is requested.

24. VOLCÁN LASCAR (5,591 mts / 18,338 ft)

Duration: 8 to 10 hours. Full day.
Slope: 738 mts (2,460 ft) approximately depending on the snow amount. Itinerary: Departure from Hotel de Larache by van to Laguna Lejía (2.5 hrs) where climbing begins and should take between 2.5 and 4 hours across rock and volcanic ash. Arrival at the crater allows for the appreciation of its activity. It is possible to continue up to the summit (another 40 min.). Climbing down is by rope hauling for 1.5 hours. Lunch.
Level: Moderate to high.
NOTE: Masks will be worn if necessary, due to gas emanation.

Horseback Riding

Horseback riding explorations that are described in the following pages have been devised for people with riding experience and who feel comfortable riding for several hours in the desert. Guests must know how to trot and/or gallop. explora has the finest Chilean and English saddles, leather gaiters, and helmets. Those who do not know how to ride a horse and would like to learn to do so, or those who have some experience but would like to improve their riding skills, can take 1-hour lessons in the morning (for no more than six people) before the walking or biking explorations they choose for each day. After at least two lessons, the instructor will determine whether the person is qualified to go horseback riding on these explorations. Half-day horseback riding explorations will be combined with trekking and bicycle explorations.

25. LAS CORNISAS

Duration: 3 hours on horseback (half-day).
Distance: 20 km (12.5) miles.
Itinerary: Departure from explora on horseback towards Valle de Catarpe, trotting and countering before climbing to cornices of Cordillera de la Sal. Panoramic view. Return descent across dunes towards Valle de la Muerte.
Level: Moderate.

26. QUEBRADA DEL DIABLO

Duration: 3 hours on horseback (half-day).
Distance: 16 km (10 miles).
Itinerary:
Departure from Hotel de Larache to Quebrada del Diablo. This is a narrow and uneven road, with ascents and descents, leaps and curves which requires trotting and countering. Overview of Cordillera de los Andes, the Salar (salt flat) and the oasis during the return to the village of San Pedro.
Level: Moderate.

27. CATARPE / VILAMA

Duration: 3 hours on horseback (half-day).
Distance: 17 km (10.6 miles).
Itinerary: Departure from explora into the Cordillera de la Sal. Visit of the Catarpe church. Spectacular view of the Cordillera de los Andes. Return along the village of San Pedro.
Level: Moderate.

28. RÍO SALADO

Duration: 5 to 6 hours on horseback (full-day).
Distance: 30 km (18.6 miles).
Itinerary: Departure from explora to the cornices of Cordillera de la Sal, and then to Río Salado. Picnic lunch. Return is made following the river’s course and along abandoned villages of Cuchabrache and Catarpe. Level: Demanding.

29. VALLE DE QUITOR

Duration: 1.5 to 2 hours on horseback (half-day).
Distance: 9 km (5.6 miles).
Itinerary: Departure covering the northern part of the oasis and from there on up to the viewing of the Pukará and the farmlands of the Valle de Quitor. Upon returning we pass nearby Cordillera de la Sal.
Level: Easy.

30. DUNAS DE LA CHULA

Duration: 2 hours on horseback (half-day).
Distance: 9 km (5.6 miles).
Itinerary: Departure from explora on horseback to Cordillera de la Sal. Panoramic views of the ayllus, the salt lake and the Cordillera de los Andes, before entering Cordillera de la Sal. The trail follows along dunes and rock formations.
Level: Moderate.

31. BETER / TULOR

Duration: 3.5 hours on horseback (half-day).
Distance: 17.8 km (11.1 miles).
Itinerary: Departure from Hotel de Larache to the southern ayllus. Walk around the oasis and the desert. Galloping in the dunes and nearby Beter's ruins.
Level: Moderate.

32. CÚCUTER

Duration: 4 hours on horseback (half-day).
Distance: 14 to 19 km (9 to 12 miles).
Itinerary: Departure from Hotel de Larache towards the south, crossing several ayllus, observing typical Atacama homes along the route.
Level: Easy.

33. AYLLUS

Duration: 2 hours (half-day).
Distance: 8 km (5 miles).
Itinerary: Departure from Hotel de Larache towards the Ayllus de Larache, Yaye and Séquitor. Through the way, we pass by the Rio San Pedro, were you can see a variety of vegetation and local agrarian fields.
Level: Easy

By Bicycle

explora offers the opportunity to travel along desert trails and ridges on a mountain bike. Using the equipment we provide to assure comfort and safety, biking allows our guests to fully enjoy the geography of Atacama. The use of helmets, gloves, sunglasses and adequate footwear are an important element for each of these outings. Half-day bicycle explorations will be combined with trekking and horseback riding explorations.

34. RUTA DE LOS MIRADORES

Duration: 2 hours on bicycle (half-day).
Distance: 18 km (11.2 miles).
Itinerary: Departure from explora to Valle de la Muerte. Ascent to Paso de Jaranillas with a view over the Cordillera de la Sal. Descent on a winding road, taking the road to Calama to return to the hotel.
Level: Moderate.

35. LAGUNA SEJAS

Duration: 3.5 to 4 hours. On bicycle 1.5 to 2.5 hours (half-day).
Distance: 19 km (12 miles).
Itinerary: Departure explora by bicycle towards the south, crossing the ayllus until reaching the entrance to the Salar de Atacama area, with its interesting vegetation. The trail is flat, going over some sandy areas. Bathing in the Sejas and Agua Piedra lagoons, floating in their salty waters. Return by van (45 min).
Level: Easy.
NOTE: Flip-flops are necessary to bath in the lagoons.

36. CIRCUITO DE LOS VALLES

Duration: 3.5 to 4.5 hours on bicycle (half-day).
Distance: 45 km (28 miles).
Itinerary: Departure by bicycle. Crossing the Cordillera de la Sal with a descent allowing views of the Cordillera de Domeyko and Llano de la Paciencia, where a winding road leads to another crossing of Cordillera de la Sal, this time along Valle de la Luna. Return to the hotel.
Level: Demanding.

37. PUTANA TO GUATÍN DESCENT

Duration: 10 to 12 hours (full-day). On bicycle 6.5 to 8.5 hours.
Distance: 33 km (20.5 miles).
Itinerary: Departure from explora by van (1.5 hrs) to Altos de Putana. Descent by bicycle along an unpaved road with descents and ascents along the gorge, until reaching picturesque town of Machuca. Picnic lunch along the road. The trip continues with a view of the Salar de Atacama and over-looking the settlement of Guatín. Return to Hotel de Larache by van (30 min.).
Level: Demanding.
NOTE: It is optional to go down by bicycle to San Pedro (70 km / 112 miles), or to the Puritama hot springs.

For further information and booking inquiries please send us and e-mail.