Self Drive Altiplano & San Pedro de Atacama
8 DAYS / 7 NIGHTS
DAY 1: ARICA, AZAPA VALLEY (APPROX. 130 KM)
Pick up your car at the airport or downtown rental office. Great places to visit in Arica are the “Miguel de Azapa” Archaeological Museum with its collection of sand preserved mummies and pre-Incan relics dating back to 5.000 B.C. Overnight in Arica.
DAY 2: ARICA, PUTRE (APPROX. 165 KM)
Heading towards Putre, we soon arrive at the village of Poconchile. We go on and reach the Quebrada de Cardones (canyon), a protected area of Pre-Andean landscape with the predominant candelabra cactus. Our tour continues towards Socorama, an Aymara farming village featuring cobbled streets, the 17th-century Iglesia de San Francisco, and terraced hills of oregano. Then we will reach our final destination, Putre.
DAY 3: FD LAUCA NP (APPROX. 130 KM)
Today we suggest visiting the Lauca National Park with Cotacotani Lagoons, Chungara Lake and Parinacota Village. Chungara Lake, located at 4.600 m above sea level and therefore one of the highest lakes in the world, is home to especially abundant and unusual wildlife, including the Chilean flamingo. Afterwards you might have time for a detour to Parinacota village, a tiny Aymara village with a 17th-century colonial church. Overnight in Putre.
DAY 4: PUTRE, CODPA (APPROX. 157 KM)
Leave Putre and head south towards Codpa, a nice oasis village located in a deep canyon. You will mainly drive on sinuous gravel roads. On your way you pass by altiplanic villages, which are worth to visit. Before reaching Codpa you may visit Ofragia’s petroglyphs, evidence of the presence of humans in this region. Arrival to Codpa.
DAY 5: CODPA, IQUIQUE (APPROX. 292 KM)
On your way from Codpa to Iquique you drive through the “pampa“ and pass by various, deep gorges. For a visit of the former nitrate office Santa Laura & Humberstone you should calculate approximately 1,5-2 hours. Here you will get to know more about the industry and see where and how the miners of this epoch worked with nitrate. After this visits, there are only 50 km left to reach your final destination Iquique.
DAY 6: IQUIQUE, SAN PEDRO DE ATACAMA (APPROX. 512 KM)
Driving on the coastal road from Iquique to Tocopilla you will pass fisher villages on your way. Leaving the Pacific Ocean behind you enter desert landscape, passing by Chuquicamata, Calama and finally reaching San Pedro de Atacama, where you will stay overnight.
DAY 7: SALAR DE ATACMA & MOON VALLEY (APPROX. 130 KM)
Today you will have time to explore San Pedro de Atacama and its surroundings. We recommend visiting the Atacama Salt Lake, an inland sea formed millions of years ago. In the evening you should not miss a visit to the Moon Valley, which has impressive scenery at sunset. Overnight in San Pedro de Atacama.
DAY 8: SAN PEDRO DE ATACMA, PURITAMA, CALAMA (APPROX. 170 KM)
Depending on your flight time you may have time for a detour to Puritama Hot Springs located at 38 km north of San Pedro. Afterwards drive to Calama to drop off your rental car.