The incomparable beauty of Lauca National Park forms the setting for this land lost in time with its magnificent scenery of exotic flora and wildlife - vicuñas, alpacas and Andean flamingos, among other species - it is a fascinating travel destination and a birdwatcher's paradise. Clear blue and emerald lakes, extensive plains, immense sparkling white salt deposits, hidden hot springs and amazing geysers compose this surreal landscape. This itinerary also visits Salar de Surire Natural Monument, Azapa and Codpa Valleys. Scattered across the altiplano are tiny rustic villages with picturesque colonial churches where indigenous Aymara shepherds graze their animals and grow their crops.
Then there is Chungara, the highest lake in the world. Despite its beauty the land is desolate and arid - harsh living conditions to which both humans and animals had to adapt in order to survive.
The "Far North" of Chile offers an unforgettable experience: enjoy the awesome landscapes of the Andes, the rich local history and culture of its people.
Today we will meet at Arica's airport or local hotel and start our journey through one of the least exploited and yet most beautiful areas of northern Chile. Rich in history and linking point for many ancient cultures such as the Incas and the intriguing Chinchorro. Our first destination will be the colourful Azapa Valley and its archaeological museum, this beautiful valley is located 13 Km/ 8 mi from the district's capital. Thanks to its unique climate, a great variety of exotic agricultural products can be harvested all year around.
At the museum one can witness the Chinchorro mummies, considered the oldest ever found with 7600 years of age. After lunch we will drive south towards the Codpa Valley to arrive in the small oasis of Codpa (1.855 m / 6.078 ft. above sea level), probably the main connecting point for both pre-Columbian and colonial route networks. The valley is irrigated with the waters of the Vítor River and known for its unique local Pintatani wine of high alcohol percentage. We will visit the old church and then reach our final destination: right above the wet fog influence from the sea (Camanchaca) and the frosts of the Andes the cosy and charming Codpa Valley Lodge makes it a perfect location to explore in depth the environment of the Andean Highlands, rich in scenery, wildlife, traditions and history. Dinner and overnight at Codpa Valley Lodge. (L, D)
After breakfast we will depart towards the simple and typical Andean villages of Timar, Tignamar and Saxamar, visiting the Ofragia's petroglyphs on our way, extraordinary evidence of human activity in this area that dates back 10.000 years. After a short hike we will reach the Chitune hot-springs where you can immerse yourself in these mineral waters. After lunch we will continue to drive to Belen, Chaquipin˜a and Zapahuira, a strategicaly important trading post during the Inca Empire. We will reach Putre at 3500m/11.400ft above sea level, an important village at the base of the impressive Tarapaca vulcano. The rest of the day you are free to explore the peaceful village. Overnight in Putre. (B)
After breakfast we will leave for Lauca National Park, a Biosphere Reserve, where we will celebrate an Aymaran ceremony at an Apachete (sanctuary of Stones) to remember all those who have passed this sacred place and requesting strength for the future. Afterwards we will hike from Lagunas Cotacotani until we reach the village of Parinacota around lunchtime. This quaint and picturesque village (4392m/14.409ft) has 150 inhabitants and a beautiful church dating back to the XVII century, which was declared a National Monument in 1979. We will continue to Chungara Lake, the highest in the world, where we will have lunch while admiring the mighty Payachatas volcanoes (Parinacota and Pomerape). Apart from the stunning scenery Chungara Lake also has incredible wildlife and a unique ecosystem, counting over 130 native species, with flamingoes and rheas among them. Before heading back to Putr we visit an artisan workshop in Chucuyo, where we get the chance to participate in the process of making typical clotheswith Andean patterns. Overnight in Putre. (B, BL)
Before returning to Arica you will have half the day to relax in Putre, or take an optional excursion to explore the surrounding area. Later you will be dropped off either at the airport or your hotel in Arica. (B, BL)
Please Note: Due to weather conditions this program can be modified without previous notice.
|1 May 2016 - 30 Apr 2017|
For further information and booking inquiries please send us and e-mail.
Codpa Valley Lodge
Codpa Valley Lodge invites you to discover Arica's region from a different angle. Thanks to its welcoming infrastructure you can explore the entire region with the depth and diversity that nobody else can match. Ideally located within easy reach of the area's main tourist attractions, it is also blessed with an exceptional microclimate, lying just above the coastal fogs (camanchaca) but below the high plateau’s low temperatures. At 1950 m above sea level its altitude is pleasant and acceptable for everyone. The capacity is 30 people in 15 Cabins DBL or SGL, restaurant open all year round, and swimming pool.
This new and comfortable hotel was built in local Andean style, mostly using stones from the region. It is located on a plain just outside of Putre, offering great views across the Andes mountain range. It features 10 comfortable guest rooms with private bathroom. Hotel facilities also include cable TV, telephone and Internet access and parking.