San Pedro Expedition

Northern Chile Chile: (IT-CHRT19A)
URL: https://www.hiddentrails.com/tour/chile_atacama_san_pedro.aspx

Introduction
Northern Chile Chile
The Atacama Desert of Chile is a sparsely populated virtually rainless plateau, running from the Pacific Ocean to the Andes Mountains. The landscape is so desolate it is sometimes described as "moon like". In the heart of this desert is the village of San Pedro, at an altitude of 7,000 feet and surrounded by a green oasis. Many years ago it was considered the center of a Paleolithic civilization that built impressive rock fortresses on steep mountains encircling the valley. With narrow streets and a church constructed in 1577, San Pedro is a step back into the Spanish colonial times and even earlier at the Father Le Paige Museum which chronicles man for 10,000 years.

You will discover the 11th century desert and be connected with an ancient culture and their spirits. The magic of Atacama, with the purest sky in the world, will leave an everlasting trail in your soul.

This is an expedition ride that covers the big salt flats, the desert, the mountains and valleys. The scenery is ever changing and breathtaking. Our trip is a two loop ride that starts and ends in San Pedro de Atacama. It leads us along the Vilama River to the Valley of Arenoso with its the Petroglyphs Corral, where some ancient figures  are drawn into the rock. We then ride via the 'Devils Throat' to Rio Salado. Then we follow a canyon to Coca Stone and back to San Pedro. Just enough time to rest and clean up before we head back out in a different direction towards Beter and Cejar befor we reach the Valley del Tiempo. Along the way we visit the archeological site of the Hamlet of Tulor. We ride through the big valley of Quebrada de Kari and arrive by surprise to the well known Moon Valley, with its original geological forms. We ride up a big dune to be able to have a general view on this Moon Valley. We then return to San Pedro by a big open plain in front of the Andes Mountains and by the main oasis of San Pedro concluding an adventure of a lifetime.

Accomodation

Accommodations
This is a progressive ride, so nights are spent in different locations.

Description
Some nights are in local a small hotel in San Pedro and the rest of the nights are spent camping with limited facilities.

8-day itinerary Accommodation Itinerary - subject to changes based on availability
Night 1: Hotel in San Pedro de Atacama
Nights 2 & 3: Camping
Night 4: Hotel in San Pedro de Atacama
Nights 5 & 6: Camping
Night 7: Hotel in San Pedro de Atacama

10-day itinerary Accommodation Itinerary - subject to changes based on availability
Night 1: Hotel in San Pedro de Atacama
Nights 2, 3 & 4: Camping
Night 5: Hotel in San Pedro de Atacama
Nights 6, 7 & 8: Camping
Night 9: Hotel in San Pedro de Atacama

Hotel in San Pedro de Atacama - subject to changes based on availability
This accommodation offers simple but comfortable rooms in the heart of San Pedro de Atacama. The building, originally built in 1946, is made out of volcanic stones and wood and features the typical architecture of the area. All rooms come with a private bathroom, free Wi-Fi access and a great view of the mountains. There is a beautiful garden where guests can relax. Laundry facilities are available for an extra fee.

Camping
All camping equipment is provided, including sleeping mats and sleeping bags (no feather or down). However, during the winter months, it is best that you provide your own sleeping bag with feather or down for more warmth. The tents are comfortable and can fit two or 3 guests.
Camps are usually in very remote areas with no facilities, so you will have to dig a hole in the ground for washrooms and there is usually a river nearby where you can bathe. However, you should note that no soap is allowed (biodegradable soaps are not accepted either).

Room Occupancy
Single supplement is mandatory if we cannot find another rider to share.


Meals

All meals are included with this trip.
Meals are homemade and we use local products as much as possible.

Breakfasts generally include tea, coffee, hot chocolate, milk, breads, cereals,…
For lunch, we do mainly picnics with salads, sandwiches, fruits, cakes… (Picnic and water is carried in our saddle bags)
Dinners include an appetizer, BBQ meat with side dishes and a dessert.

Wine and beer will be served with dinner during the camping nights.

Dietary Restrictions
We can cater to most special diet requirements with prior notice.

This trip includes some wine with dinner and can accommodate special dietary requests.

Riding

We are met each evening by the support vehicle and are always in contact with the group via radio. The vehicle brings food and water for riders and horses, wood fuel for camping.

Tack
We use Chilean saddles (called Avios), with sheep wool and English stirrups. The Chilean saddle has been designed especially for long trips. Its wooden mount, reinforced with iron, is cushioned with “chiporro” and protected with leather.
Each horse carries a saddle bag, so you don’t need to take a backpack (absolutely discouraged).

Horses
Chilean horses may be short in height, but are very strong and stable for mountain & desert riding!

Itinerary

Sample Itinerary: 10-day program - subject to changes

Day 1: Arrival
Transfer from Calama airport and transfer to San Pedro de Atacama via shuttle service.
Meals included: Dinner (if arrival in time)
Overnight in San Pedro

Day 2: San Pedro to Guatín
Departure from San Pedro around 9:00 am to the oasis of Vilama. The horses go upstream in the river bed, then they turn east. The route rises little by little through a valley full of bushes. As we get higher, we find more plants. We are approaching the Andes Mountain Range. Suddenly, a valley appears, Guatín, small oasis with a little alfalfa, where 3 people live with their large troop of goats. In the nearby hills, the giant cactus grows. It is on the edge of the Puritama river, in the middle of the "foxtails" that we will camp. Possible bathroom.
Riding approx. 20 km
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight camping in Guatín


Day 3: Guatín to Valle Arenoso
We go back down towards the hills of Gatchi to reach the small "estancia" (shepherd's house) of Calar, hidden in a canyon on the edge of the Vilama river. One can cool off in the river. Then we will cross the river Vilama to reach the corral of Petroglyphs, resting place of the prehistoric shepherds and where they recorded camelids as well as characters and frets. We go down to the plain by a troop trail and set up camp in a sandy valley at the foot of the cliffs.
Riding approx. 22 km
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight camping in Valle Arenoso


Day 4: Valle Arenoso to Rio Salado
We pass the Pucará de Quitor, a Pre-Inca fortress and the site of the Spanish Conquest of the Atacameño territory, located at the entrance of the San Pedro river canyon. We go up the river whose green valley contrasts with the ocher rocks. We deviate from the valley to penetrate the Garganta del Diablo that meanders in the Cordillera de la Sal, going up a canyon and down another to reach the oasis of Catarpe, on the San Pedro River. We continue towards the North, passing through the oasis of Cuchaorache. Further on, we arrive at the campsite, two steps from the Salado River, where one of the most important petroglyph sites in the region can be admired.
Riding approx. 20 km
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight camping near Rio Salado


Day 5: Rio Salado to San Pedro
After enjoying the view from a large esplanade from which the view over the Andes is great, we continue our ride through a canyon that takes us to Piedra de la Coca, the ceremonial stone of the Atacameños Indians who traveled with their caravans of llamas between the mountains and the ocean. Their routes were used centuries later (end of the XIX century, beginning of the XX century) by muleteers with large troops of cattle. We will follow its tracks that will lead us to the top of a cliff that dominates the entire Valley. We go along the cornice road from where the view is spectacular over the San Pedro plain & the Salar de Atacama. Our sight falls on the crests of the Cordillera de la Sal. We descend towards the plain for an impressive dune and through the beautiful canyon of the Valley of Death. Dinner in a restaurant in San Pedro.
Riding approx. 20 km
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight in San Pedro


Day 6: San Pedro to Béter
Free morning where you can visit the town of San Pedro. Lunch in a restaurant in San Pedro
Afternoon on horseback from San Pedro to Beter. On the way, we visit the oasis of Solor, where they grow corn and alfalfa, but also some fruits. Adobe houses and local trees. We crossed the desert to the south and arrived at the colonial town of Béter, in ruins and almost completely covered with dunes. Very wild, savannah landscape.
Riding approx. 10 km
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight camping near Béter


Day 7: Béter to Cejar
We go even further south, where the immensity is flat and where the earth creaks under our steps: in the Salar de Atacama, the salt desert. We will go first to the lagoons of Tebinquiche, where there are two miraculously sweet water eyes and also a lagoon with salty and blue waters. It is a very lonely landscape. Then, we will go to the lagoons of Cejar, turquoise blue, surrounded by golden reeds, where we will camp. Wonderful sunset in the Andes mountain range. Sometimes, some flamingos fly over the lagoon ... especially in the morning.
Riding approx. 16 km
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight camping near Cejar


Day 8: Cejar to Valle Lunatico
After leaving the Salar de Atacama, we will cross to the ayllu de Béter. We will cross the desert to go to the Ayllu de Coyo and have our picnic lunch under the shade of some old carob trees. We will then take the direction of the Cordillera de la Sal to enter the Lunático Valley, parallel to the Valley of the Moon, of varied and absolutely solitary places. Camp in an old salt mine, with a sunset exclusively for us ...
Riding approx. 25 km
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight camping near Valle Lunatico


Day 9: Valle Lunatico to San Pedro
We pass to the other side of the Cordillera de la Sal to go up the Llano de la Paciencia on the west side of it to access one of the most reputed sites in the region: the Valley of the Moon. Few people are, however, in the morning ... We cross the Valley of the Moon, passing by the sculptural formation of the Tres Marías, going along old salt mines, to reach the foot of the Duna Mayor, place " classic "of the tourist site. Then, we cross the large esplanade at the foot of the greater dune, climb a small dune and we enter a labyrinth of small canyons in the heart of the Cordillera de la Sal, which lead us to a wide ravine, the Kari ravine, dominated by an immense cliff. Kari will take us back to the plain of San Pedro and its town by maze of canyons and dunes. Dinner in a restaurant and night in a B & B.
Riding approx. 25 km
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight in San Pedro


Day 10: Departure
Transfer to the airport of Calama
End of services.
Meals included: Breakfast

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Sample Itinerary: 8-day program - subject to changes

Day 1: Arrival
Transfer from Calama airport to San Pedro.
Meals included: Dinner (if arrival in time)
Overnight in San Pedro


Day 2: San Pedro to Cejar
It is in the immense desert plain that we will meet. We will first visit the oasis of San Pedro (or ayllus) and then move away and enter the Salar de Atacama. The earth becomes more crispy. Suddenly, a turquoise lagoon appears, the Laguna Céjar, surrounded by golden reeds. Sometimes, some flamingos feed there. Possibility to bathe in the lagoon, where a fleet like in the Dead Sea. The sunset is from there a surprising sight.
Riding approx. 20 km
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight camping near Cejar


Day 3: Cejar to Valle Lunatico 
After leaving the Salar de Atacama, we will cross to the ayllu de Béter to visit the abandoned village of Béter, from colonial times but later covered by dunes; Now, ruins of ruins in a wild landscape. We will cross the desert to go to the Ayllu de Coyo and picnic under the shade of some old carob trees. We will then take the direction of the Cordillera de la Sal to enter the Lunático Valley, parallel to the Valley of the Moon, of varied and absolutely solitary places. Camp in an old salt mine, with a sunset exclusively for us.
Riding approx. 25 km
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight camping near Valle Lunatico


Day 4: Valle Lunatico to San Pedro
We pass to the other side of the Cordillera de la Sal to go up the Llano de la Paciencia on the west side of it to access one of the most reputed sites in the region: the Valley of the Moon. Few people are, however, in the morning ... We cross the Valley of the Moon, passing by the sculptural formation of the Tres Marías, going along old salt mines, to reach the foot of the Duna Mayor, place " classic "of the tourist site. Then, we cross the great esplanade at the foot of the greater dune, climb a small dune and we enter a labyrinth of small canyons in the heart of the Cordillera de la Sal, which lead us to a wide ravine, the deep ravine of Kari, dominated by an immense cliff. Kari will take us back to the plain of San Pedro and its town by maze of canyons and dunes. Dinner in a restaurant in San pedro.
Riding approx. 25 km
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight in San Pedro


Day 5: San Pedro to Calar
We start from San Pedro around 9:00 am and make our way to the foot of the Cordillera de la Sal riding through the Canyon del Valle del Tiempo. Then, we go to Pukará de Quitor, a pre-Inca fortress to reach the Vilama River, where we have lunch. Then, we get back on the horses and climb along the Gatchi Hills. We arriv at our campsite near the "estancia" (shepherd's shack) of Calar, located in a ravine, on the edge of the Vilama river where you can bathe.
Riding approx. 15 km
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight camping in Calar


Day 6: Calar to Rio Salado
We will leave the canyon of Calar to descend by the Cerros de Gatchi and arrive again at the Vilama River, crossing it to reach a hidden corral with rock art, the Corral de los Petroglifos. After lunch in this place, we will lose ourselves in the clay canyons of the Garganta del Diablo, in the heart of the Cordillera de la Sal. The Garganta del Diablo flows into the San Pedro River, at the height of the Oasis of Catarpe. We will go upstream, we will go through the Oasis of Cuchaorache and we will arrive at the mouth of the Salado River, which we will go up to reach our campsite, in the vicinity of the River. This place on the Rio Salado stops one of the most beautiful petroglyph sites in the region.
Riding approx. 18 km
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight camping near Rio Salado


Day 7: Rio Salado to San Pedro
It is by a wide plain and then by a canyon that we will arrive at Piedra de la Coca, ceremonial stone of the Atacameños Indians during their caravan trip between the Andes Mountain Range and the Pacific Ocean. After lunch, we will go up a cattle trail used at the end of the 19th century by large cattle troops that crossed our region. When arriving at the top of the cliff that dominates all the Valley of San Pedro, we will return towards the town by all the Cornice. Spectacular view from the top. We will descend through the dunes and the canyon of Valle de la Muerte and return to the town of San Pedro.
Riding approx. 21 km
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight in San Pedro


Day 8: Departure
Transfer out towards the airport of Calama. End of services.
Meals included: Breakfast


Rates and Dates for San Pedro Expedition

Rates include:

Accommodations, All meals including wine with dinner during camping, All camping equipment (sleeping bags and insulated mattress), Transfers, 6 or 8 riding days (depending on program) & Spanish speaking guide
Can provide riding helmets or chupallas [Chilean horseman’s hat made of straw], leather gaiters and knapsacks

Packages and Options



  • SeasonYearDescriptionCLP ~US$
    A
    202010 day trip, AP₱1520000$3000
  • B
    20208 day trip, AP₱1090000$2155
The US Dollar Rate is Based on Exchange Rate of 0.001974

Rates Note:


Please inquire for current rates

* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy

Rates Note:


Please inquire for current rates


Transfer and Other Charges:



 DescriptionCLP~US$
2020 Transfer is included from Calama (via airport shuttle) 0 $0
2020 English-speaking guide, per day 76,215 $150

Season Seasons  Min / MaxReserve
A 2020 03/15 - 12/14 10d / 9n 10 day trip, AP 2 /6 Reserve
B 2020 03/15 - 12/14 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP 2 /6 Reserve

Dates Note: Available any time with a minimum of 2 riders.
December to March months generally gets more rain in the year.

Rates do not include:

English speaking guide, Wine and spirits during B&B overnights, Gratuities & Personal Accident Insurance.

Other Info
Meeting: San Pedro de Atacama
Airport: Calama
Transfer: Airport Calama-San Pedro by shuttle

Climate:
                                                Calama area


Month

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Average High Temperature (°F)

77

77

76

75

73

72

71

73

74

76

77

77

Average Low Temperature (°F)

46

46

44

40

37

34

33

35

38

44

47

46

Average High Temperature (°C)

25

25

24

24

23

22

21

23

23

25

25

25

Average Low Temperature (°C)

8

8

6

4

3

1

0

2

3

7

8

8

Source: NOAA


Seasons

Whether you visit San Pedro de Atacama during winter or summer, you must bring a good sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses with UV filter and a bottle of water to stay hydrated.
In San Pedro de Atacama, you will enjoy sunny days almost year-round. Located 2,400 meters above sea level, the weather in this village is mild and dry. However, remember that temperatures tend to lower at higher elevations.
You should remember that the weather in San Pedro de Atacama is unpredictable: radiant sun or cold weather below 0°C some nights, wind, sand and rain storms...a

Fall – Winter season
From April to September, temperature in San Pedro de Atacama ranges between 9 ° C and approximately 24 ° C. It is a season of clear skies, total lack of rain and colder nights due to thermal oscillation. It is an ideal season for those who want to avoid crowds.

Spring – Summer Season
From October to March – high season in San Pedro de Atacama-  temperature ranges between 13ºC and  25ºC, with highs of 32 ° C. A season with hot days and occasional rainfall due to the Bolivian Winter phenomenon (January-April).

From mid-December to mid-March the tours are not available because it is the rainy season.
During the rest of the year, tours can be scheduled at any time. However, you should be aware that, during winter (June to August) nights can be cold (below -5°C and even as cold as -15°C at times).
We recommend taking this trip from September to November or from mid-March to May.

What To Bring:
There are no ATM machines in San Pedro de Atacama and only a few places where you can pay with credit cards (mainly Visa).  Bring cash.  Some shops will exchange dollars but the rates fluctuate).

To assemble you need:

• Basic Clothing: Long pants, closed shoes, long sleeve shirt (against the sun), broad-brimmed hat with tie, sunscreen (minimum factor 30), sunglasses.
• Practical accessories: Riding pants (thick cotton), leggings, banana for the camera (avoid inconvenient backpack). For the winter: Polar, windbreaker, parka, gloves and wool hat, for the camps, swiss knife, flashlight and wet towels.

Our material:

• We have Chilean mounts or arrieras, comfortable with sheep leather and adjustable English stirrups in heights and in which fit all kinds of shoes.
• Each horse carries a saddlebag.
• For multi-day excursions, we have tents and sleeping bags. We cook wood, in the purest arriero style.
• Not all the excursions are feasible in any season of the year, consult before.
• We have chupallas (Chilean hats) made of straw with wide wings, riding helmets and leggings.

This list is only a guideline for you

 

Travel documents and Voucher

Flight tickets

Passport

Visa (check with your consulate)

 

RIDING GEAR

Riding pants or Jodhpurs (used if possible!)

High-legged boots or chaps (Chilean ones for “huasos” are made of a very hard leather- available   anywhere)

Light clothes to protect oneself from the sun during the rides

Long-sleeve shirts

Riding helmet. Bring your one or available for sale in the Finca La Herradura

Riding gloves

Wind-protecting hat

Wind-protecting scarf (like Arabs in Sahara...)

Rain clothes in summer (chilean winter)

Riding slacks

 

PERSONAL CLOTHING

Warm clothes for night time (big thermal range)

Two or three warm sweaters or polars

Warm woolen stockings and long-legged underwear for night time

Very warm jacket for night time

Comfortable T-Shirts/Shirts

Jeans

Shorts

Underwear and socks

Pyjama

Bag for dirty clothes

Trekking boots/ comfortable shoes

Swimsuit (Tatio-Guatin)

Bandana

 

ADDITIONAL THINGS TO BRING

Personal Toiletries

Insect protection

Personal medications

Moisturizing lotion because of environmental dryness and water with a lot of salt

Sore cream (for the emergency)

Sewing kit

Handkerchiefs

Camera and enough extra films

Belt pack

Dark sunglasses

Sun block lotion (30 minimum)

Water canteen

Lightweight flashlight (for camping nights and for nights in the hotel (there is no electricity in San Pedro between 1 and 9 a.m.)