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South America will amaze you with its main attractions: Lapataia Bay, the southern tip of the continent that melts with the waters of Beagle Channel; and of course the king-crab, this is a 'must' for anyone that visits this city.
Travellers to this region are given the opportunity to experience the beauty of volcanoes and salt flats interwoven between lakes and marshes throughout territory that rises higher than 4,000 meters. The trip can be taken from Argentina to Chile, or vice versa.
Trip Season: April to November.
AVAILABLE ALSO FROM SALTA TO ATACAMA; contact BFirst Travel for the departure dates. If beginning the trip in Argentina, the arrival at the Salta airport must be scheduled before noon.
Arrive at San Pedro de Atacama.
We will greet you at the Calama airport and transfer to the Hotel de Larache (Explora Lodge), located in the San Pedro de Atacama oasis, at 2,500 meters above sea level.
Atacama Explora Lodge
Guests at the Hotel de Larache may choose from a variety of excursions. By foot, by bicycle, or by horseback, for a few hours or a full day, low-key or demanding.
Our excursions allow our guests to adjust to the altitude and prepare themselves for the travesía to Cachi, and experience the complete geography of the Atacama, its wildlife and ancient local culture.
At the end of each excursion, our hotel awaits as a place to relax and recharge.
We leave early in the morning to cross the Andes to Argentina, traveling southeast and passing the agricultural villages Toconao and Socaire.
We will then walk for 3 hours on the altiplano up to 4,000 meters above sea level, ending at the Salar de Aguas Calientes. Then we will pass by the Tuyajto Lake, and arrive before sundown to our “El Laco” camp, at 4,200 meters above sea level and very close to the border between Chile and Argentina. From our campsite at the foot of the Laco peak we can see the Laco salt flat; this is our highest and most isolated camp during our journey. Our stay here allows us to comprehend what it is like to live at high altitudes and live the experience of the first pioneers who crossed through here on foot or by mule.
We continue to Argentina and the Sico international border, at 4,115 meters above sea level. From here we continue to the Calchaquíes valleys, passing the village San Antonio de los Cobres, at 3,900 meters above sea level. We then cross through the Abra del Acay, a road whose highest point is at 4,900 meters above sea level, and from where we can see the Calchaqui River. Here we will take a walk between the hills of the Calchaquíes valleys.
At sunset, we will arrive at the “La Quesera” camp, at 3,500 meters above sea level. The camp gets its name from local resident Mrs. Berta, who makes traditional goat cheese.
In the morning we will walk along the outer edges of La Quesera and then head down through a valley to La Poma, a mountain village dedicated to raising goats and sheep, and located at 3,000 meters above sea level. We then walk to the crater of one of the Twin Volcanoes and arrive at Cachi, one of the most important villages in the Calchaquíes valleys. The region derives its name from the many sweet water streams that descend from the mountains and join the saltwater Calchaquí River. In this region we will find agricultural areas.
At 8 km from Cachi we find our next camp, the “Finca Rancagua,” which features a sweeping view of the valley and mountains. We spend 3 nights here.
We will dedicate these two days to exploration, walking through the intricate Calchaquíes valleys and around the area of the Finca Rancagua, along a semi-mountainous, arid terrain that features rocks sculpted by the wind, as well as streams of fresh water that course their way from the higher peaks to mix with the saltwater Calchaquíes River, and allow us to appreciate local agriculture and diverse cultivations. We will also see ruins, archeological artifacts, and rock paintings of the Calchaquíes Indians, who centuries ago developed a unique alfalfa agriculture. This walk puts us close to the Nevado de Cachi peak, at 6,380 meters above sea level it is the highest in the region.
We leave for Salta descending the Cuesta del Obispo, surrounded by a landscape that has been shaped by erosion from wind and water. We arrive at Salta at midday, at 1,200 meters above sea level. We will leave you at the airport or if you prefer to stay and see this city, with its colonial architecture and agreeable climate, explora can leave you in a hotel of your choosing.