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Trip Type : N/A
Santiago & San Pedro de Atacama tour

Santiago & San Pedro de Atacama

Great Value Vacations
4.3 . Great
93%
Travel Style: A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level: Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level: Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
7 days
From: $ 2,750 $ 393 / day
Checking price

Overview

Highlights

  • Death Valley is renowned for its alien-like landscape - no wonder NASA tested their Martian rovers here!
  • Keep an eye out for wildlife in the desert. Vicuñas, llamas, Southern viscachas, South American gray foxes, and culpeo foxes all call Atacama home.
  • Visit El Tatio geysers, the world's highest geyser field situated more than 14,000 feet above sea level.
  • At night in the Atacama Desert, don't forget to look up. This is one of the best stargazing locations on earth!
  • There's more than meets the eye in Chile's capital of Santiago. Get a lesson on the city's past on a tour of the historical downtown.

Short Description

Spend 6 nights exploring Northern Chile’s Atacama Desert and the capital of Santiago! Feel like Indiana Jones as you traverse the lunar landscape of the desert, from El Tatio geysers to the Death Valley sand dunes.

Trip Type N/A
See all the highlights and popular spots on a classic tour.
Itinerary Focus Classic Highlights
Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Lodging Level Value - 3 star
Flights & Transport Only ground transport
Start City Santiago
End City Chile

Trip Includes

  • Round-trip economy class airfare to Santiago (SCL)
  • All airport transfers
  • 2 nights in Santiago at the Hotel Torremayor Lyon, or similar
  • Santiago Historical Downtown City Tour
  • One-way, economy class flight from Santiago (SCL) to Calama (CJC)
  • 3 nights in San Pedro de Atacama at the Altiplanico San Pedro de Atacama, or similar
  • Archaeological Tour (Pukara de Quitor & Tulor) (morning)
  • Atacama Salt Flat Excursion (afternoon)
  • Monjes de la Pacana & Tara Salt Flat Tour
  • Moon Valley and Death Valley Tour
  • Tatio Geysers & Machuca Tour
  • One-way, economy class flight from Calama (CJC) to Santiago (SCL)
  • 1 night in Santiago at the Hotel Torremayor Lyon, or similar
  • Breakfast daily

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Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to Santiago!

Accommodation: Hotel Torremayor Lyon

Say "hola" to Chile! Arrive at Santiago international airport, then hop in a transfer to your hotel. Once you get settled in, head to La Vega Central Market in the Recoleta neighborhood to get a sensory and visual introduction into Chile.

Transfer to Santiago hotel

Day 2:    Santiago

Enjoy a tour taking you to the highlights of Santiago's historical downtown, including Plaza de Armas, plus the Vitacura neighborhood and Alonso de Cordova Avenue.

Later, head to Barrio Italia for great shopping and Parque Metropolitano for a breath of fresh air in Santiago's "green lung."

Santiago Historical Downtown City Tour

Explore Santiago, Chile's capital, which is nestled in the central valley, right below the majestic Andes. Feel the legacy of the "Mapuche" natives, who inhabited this land during the Pre-Colombian era, as well as the modernity of a thriving, booming city. Stroll along beautiful streets, visit interesting museums, admire amazing architecture, and learn all about the city's fascinating history.

Depart from your hotel and get ready to explore! Journey towards the city center, where you will see all of the main attractions. You will visit the Plaza de Armas, where you'll see the Cathedral of Santiago, the Municipality, the Post Office Building, the National History Museum, and more! Stand in awe of the gorgeous Government Palace, where you'll have the opportunity to walk through some of the most traditional streets and neighborhoods in Chile.

The fun's not over yet! Head uptown along the Costanera Highway until you reach the elegant Vitacura neighborhood and the Alonso de Cordova Avenue. Check out the FABA handicraft shop, which specializes in lapis lazuli jewelry, a semi-precious stone found only in Chile and Afghanistan. To conclude a fabulous tour, enjoy a traditional pisco sour while appreciating the beautiful spectacle of colorful jewelry.

Day 3: Santiago - Calama - San Pedro de Atacama

Accommodation: Hotel Altiplanico

Leave Santiago today and transfer to the airport for your two hour flight to Calama in Northern Chile! You'll then transfer to your accommodation in San Pedro de Atacama where you'll be based for the next three nights.

San Pedro de Atacama is 7,900 ft above sea level, so spend the remainder of the day taking it easy and acclimating to the high altitude!

A Tip For Your Trip: Coca leaves steeped in hot water is a common remedy for altitude sickness.

Transfer to Santiago airport (SCL)

Fly to Calama!

Transfer to San Pedro de Atacama hotel

Day 4: San Pedro de Atacama

Today, learn about Atacama culture from pre-Columbian times up until the Spanish colonization. Visit the archaeological site of Pukara in the morning, then head to the Atacama Salt Flat in the afternoon where you'll see its famous colonies of flamingos!

Archaeological Tour (Pukara de Quitor & Tulor) (morning)

Visit one of the most important archaeological sites in Chile, Pukará de Quitor, a pre-Hispanic stone fortress dating back to the 17th century. Its great historical importance lies in the “Battle of Quitor,” where one of the first clashes between the Spanish conquistadors and the indigenous people took place.

You'll then learn about the “Culture of San Pedro” in the village of Tulor. Despite its age, the village has been well-preserved thanks to the dry conditions of the region. This ancient construction is probably the first settlement of the Atacama Salt Flat. Finally, visit the Church of San Pedro de Atacama, an adobe church from Spanish colonial times and the second oldest church in Chile!

Atacama Salt Flat Excursion (afternoon)

Begin the tour in Toconao village, towards the Jerez Canyon (Quebrada de Jerez) where you will be able to see the flora and fauna of this beautiful valley, located at an altitude of (8,153 ft. Once in Toconao, stop at San Lucas Church made of mud and straw with a separate bell tower. Visit the local handicraft fair known for its Alpaca wool and creative crafts made of cactus or volcanic stone.

Your tour continues to the fabulous Atacama Salt Flat (Salar de Atacama), the largest in Chile and the third largest in the world. Continue along a small path to the Chaxa Lagoon and be delighted by the different species of pink flamingos. The lagoon is a protected flamingo breeding reservoir and declared Reserva Nacional Los Flamencos (National Reserve). End the tour looking towards the Andes as you enjoy a colorful sunset!

Day 5: San Pedro de Atacama

Head to the Cordillera de la Sal (Salt Mountain Range) to see Monjes de la Pacana and Tara Salt Flat. You will then visit two of the Atacama desert's highlights: the Valley of the Moon (Valle de la Luna) and Valley of Death (Valle de la Muerte)!

Monjes de la Pacana & Tara Salt Flat Tour

Travel up into the Andes Mountain Range, along the Licancabur Volcano and the Zapalieri River, then head east through the International Highway to Pasa Jama, which connects Chile with Argentina. Stop at the Quepiaco wetlands, where you can observe the typical fauna, mainly flamingos and vicuñas.

Continue to Los Monjes de la Pacana, a basin where you will see remains of the volcanic sediment eroded by water and wind. See the rocks that take on human forms, then detour from the highway to Tara Salt Flat. Go on a short trek along a walking trail and admire the incredible landscape surrounded by volcanoes, where some rivers and lagoons develop inside the salt flat. It is considered one of the most beautiful natural sites surrounding San Pedro de Atacama.

Moon Valley and Death Valley Tour

Feel like you've entered another planet at the Valley of the Moon (El Valle de la Luna), declared a Nature Sanctuary in 1982 and part of the National Flamingo Reservation. Formed by a depression surrounded by small hills with stunning sharp ridges, the valley's “out of this world” landscapes are truly a sight to behold. This valley is famous for its natural mineral sculptures, one of them being Las Tres Marias (The three Mary’s) formed by the wind erosion and resembling a lunar setting.

Next, visit Death Valley (El Valle de la Muerte) and its sand dunes, which are very popular for sandboarding. Explore its Mars-like landscape (another name for this valley is Mars Valley) and admire Its salt formations that are like works of art. End the tour with a magical sunset at Kari Viewpoint, one of the highest points of the Cordillera de la Sal.

Day 6: San Pedro de Atacama - Calama – Santiago

Accommodation: Hotel Torremayor Lyon

Your last tour in the Atacama desert is to El Tatio geysers. Depart at dawn to see its fumaroles (smoke from the geysers) create amazing white steam columns which are best seen between 6am and 7am. Later, transfer back to Calama airport for your flight back to Santiago.

Transfer to Calama airport (CJC)

Fly to Santiago!

Transfer to Santiago hotel

Tatio Geysers & Machuca Tour

You will be picked up at dawn from your hotel and head towards the Altiplano to visit El Tatio geysers, one of the most important geothermal fields in the world! Thanks to extremely cold temperatures, you'll be witness to different geothermal manifestations and its fumaroles that easily reach 32 ft high and the geysers up to 27 ft.

After watching this delightful spectacle, relax with a refreshing dip in a hot pool. Taking the same way back, stop for a few minutes in the wetlands of Putana, where you can see different species against the backdrop of the Colorado Volcano. Finally, stop in the village of Machuca, a little town where the original Altiplanic architecture is reflected in the St. James Church.

Day 7: Depart Chile

Your desert Chile escape ends today. At the scheduled time, transfer back to Santiago airport for your flight home. Flip through your photos and start dreaming of your next adventure!

Transfer to Santiago airport (SCL)

Fly home!

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Price From $ 2,750
Price Per Day: $ 393 per day
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6,665 Great Value Vacations Travel Reviews & Ratings

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4.3 out of 5 (100+ reviews)
Excellent 3,962
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Average 688
Disappointing 255
Terrible 210
Value
4.3
Guide
4.3
Activities
4.3
Lodging
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Transportation
4.3
Meals
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Santiago & San Pedro de Atacama

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The customer service was excellent

5.0
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Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
When I booked with Great Value I was nervous because it seemed too good to be true. Nope, just a really great deal. I was able to take my dream trip to Ireland and Scotland and it was within my budget. Everything was covered, my lodging, flights, and rental car. There was no hidden fees, or fine print that would nickel and dime me later on, as "good deals" usually have. I also had to change the date of my trip and the customer service was excellent and this change was simple. Thank you Great Value, I'll be using you every time I travel from now on
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Everything on the trip was excellent.

5.0
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Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
Everything on the trip was excellent. The only concern with any services from GVV was initial communications ahead of the trip regarding when and how we'd receive all our travel vouchers, as some were available online, and some were to be picked up in country upon arrival. It took no less than 5 phone calls to learn some vouchers would be picked up in country. The trip was outstanding, exhausting, but gloriously beautiful. It was exhausting from the perspective of moving around the country and only a few places were 2 nights. But, we knew that going in, and we wanted to see ALL of Switzerland and this certainly checked those boxes. We saw majestic mountains, we saw countless waterfalls and glaciers. The trains in Switzerland were all clean and we felt safe. The hotels were good with delicious breakfasts each morning. Overall, I would recommend GVV to a friend or family member and I would personally book another vacation with GVV.
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Our trip was amazing!

5.0
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Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
This was my first time planning a trip out of the country. I read previous reviews who had a good experience with Great Value Vacation. Our trip was amazing! The booking and reservations were easy to use with the vouchers provided. The staff was helpful. The only downside was I upgraded to have an automatic vehicle and they gave me a stick shift. It took a while to get sorted out but other than that I loved my trip! I will definitely use great value vacations again when I book my next trip. I opted for the additional wine tasting package and I did not regret it! I recommend adding those additional tours to get a more complete experience.
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Great customer service

5.0
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Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
My wife and I recently booked our vacation through Great Value Vacations. We were a bit nervous to travel to Europe for the first time, but we are glad we did. Great Value Vacations took care of us. Great customer service. Seamless transactions. They booked the hotels and flights for us. All we had to worry about were the daily activities! I would highly recommended them. The hotels offered through the package were as advertised: nice and in great locations. The flights times were also convenient. The best part was the price. I am thankful for the experiences Great Value Vacation was able to provide for us!
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Really enjoyed both of my trips

5.0
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Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
Really enjoyed both of my trips through Great Value Vacations. I went on one family trip to Ireland (Adare villa, rental car with trips out to Dublin, Cliffs of Moher and more) . The villa was very comfortable with a kitchen, three bedrooms, and proximity to the local shops /restaurants. We were able to upgrade to an automatic car and had fun navigating to each location on our itinerary. The trip as planned by the agency still leaves time for exploring on your own and since we picked a trip with our own transportation, we had flexibility on which tours we wanted to do and when.

My second trip was a solo trip to Scotland. I like to go on vacation by myself sometimes, but it can be hard to find ones where you aren’t penalized for being on your own. This train trip to Edinburgh, Inverness, and Glasgow worked out really well for me. The hotels were all near the train stations and in safe areas (good lighting, plenty of people, etc.). I got a good mix of options for sightseeing in each city. The hop-on, hop-off bus circuit was especially useful for getting around Edinburgh. I also added an extra tour on in Glasgow to see nearby castles and a distillery and was very glad to have done so as the views of the countryside were amazing!

Summary: Have enjoyed my previous experiences and would definitely use again
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Above and beyond our expectations

5.0
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Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
Just got back from our trip to Italy booked through Great Value Vacations & was our dream come true! We could not have gone if it were not for their unbelievable rates. Each 4 Star Villa we stayed at was above and beyond our expectations...I cried after leaving each part of our journey. I am so glad I took a leap of faith and would HIGHLY RECOMMEND booking with them. Besides the Villas being beautiful, great locations, clean, and great staff; each place we arrived at actually said, "They said to give you a very nice room." (with a rate of just under $1,900 a piece for 9 nights not counting travel days at 4 stars Villas in Rome, Tuscany, & Venice including airfare and rent a car... a few friends told us to expect the worst rooms at the places we were staying ~ NOT the case! Our rooms had the best views...I could go on and on. Every step of the way was smooth with no worries whatsoever. Thanks again GVV! LOVED IT!
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Details

Flights & Transport

Only ground transport

Group Size:

Intimate Group - 12 max

Trip ID#:

greatvaluevacations-PK-GC4P-SH-SSP-SCL

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