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Atacama Desert - "Volcanoes & Stars" Tour

Don’t miss the opportunity to join this epic photography adventure through the Atacama Desert. You will be amazed by one the most surreal and photogenic landscapes in the world. We are going to explore crystal clear ponds among the salt flats, watch the Flamingos feeding at dawn, witness super-heated water gushing off the ground into the cold mountain air, walk through the Andes volcanoes, admire the most colorful sunsets of the South Hemisphere, and be astounded by the spectacular starry skies. Join us to see the Atacama Desert as you have never seen it before.

Bellow you can find the itinerary and other information about the Tour:

Dia 1 - San Pedro de Atacama

Arrival in San Pedro de Atacama. During the day we will wait for all expedition participants to arrive. After dinner, we will meet for a brief itinerary presentation and discussion. Depending on the group’s interest, we may go out into the town for a nighttime photography session.

Dia 2 - Laguna Chaxa/Laguna Cejar/Laguna Tebenquinche

In the morning we will leave to Laguna Chaxa, which is located in the Soncor de Salar sector of the Atacama and inside the National Reserve Los Flamencos. The pond is the home of countless wild flamingos and a delight for the wild life lover. We return to San Pedro de Atacama at 11 a.m. At 3 p.m. we will leave towards the Laguna Cejar, Laguna Piedra and Laguna Tebenquinche, which are salt-water ponds in the middle of the Salar de Atacama. From those two ponds we will have a privileged view of the Andes Mountains and of the grand Licancabur volcano. We will admire the sunset from the Laguna Tebenquinche, which is one of the biggest shows of the region. As the sun begins to set, the Andes Mountains appear red and the sky turns into an explosion of colors. We return to San Pedro of Atacama at 9 p.m.

Dia 3 - Géiseres El Tatio/Valle del Cactus

We will leave at 5 a.m. towards Géiseres El Tatio, where you can find the biggest concentration of geysers of the South Hemisphere and the third biggest in the world, behind only of Yellowstone (United States) and of the Natural Reserve Kronotski (Russia). During the sunrise the geysers activity increases and the steam columns reach a height of approximately 10 meters. On the way back towards San Pedro de Atacama (approximately 11 a.m.) we will visit Valle de Cactus, a magical place that gets its name from the hundreds of cactuses that grow there. Those cactuses are centenary, growing at a speed of only 1 cm per year and measuring up to 7 meters of height! At approximately 2 p.m. we will return for San Pedro de Atacama.

Free afternoon.

Dia 4 - Lagunas Altiplanicas/Piedras Rojas/Laguna Tuyajto

We will leave at 8 a.m. towards the Lagunas Altiplanicas, where we will see one of the main attractions of the whole Atacama region, the ponds Miscanti and Miñiques. The ponds’ turquoise color appears at the base of Cerro Miscanti and Volcano Miñiques, a place with fantastic aesthetic value. At about 1 p.m., we will leave towards the Salar de Aguas Calientes, also known as Piedras Rojas, where we will have lunch while contemplating more of the region’s surreal sceneries. In Piedras Rojas (Red Stones) we will have the Medano hill and the Caichinque volcano as a background to the beautiful red rocky formations. In the middle of the afternoon we will visit the Laguna Tuyajto, which is a few minutes away from Piedras Rojas. The Laguna Tuyajto has a unique look to it as small formations of salt are spread over a great part of its surface.  Depending on the local weather and time, we will choose where we will go for that evening’s sunset and nighttime photo sessions. At approximately 3 a.m. we will return to San Pedro de Atacama.

Dia 5 - Lagunas Escondidas de Baltinache

Free morning.

We will leave at 3 p.m. towards the Lagunas Escondidas de Baltinache, which is a group of seven small ponds of emerald green water in the middle of Salar de Atacama. This place is pure contrast and beauty. The ponds appear amid pure white salt crystals and have completely clear water.

We will stay there until evening, when we will be able to enjoy the sunset and the starriest sky in the world right by the ponds. At about 3 a.m. we will return to San Pedro de Atacama.

Dia 6 - Salar de Tara

Free morning.

We will leave at 1 p.m. towards the Salar de Tara, where you can have a great sense for the dimension of the Atacama Desert. Right in the entrance we come across enormous rocky formations sculpted by the wind, known as Monges de Pacana. As we keep moving through the trails we can understand the true meaning of being in a desert. Once in the Salar de Tara, we will see the Catedrais de Tara, which are on the edge of the great plain of the Salar and resemble medieval towers. We will also be able to move up to an elevated area to have a full view of the desert with volcanoes and impressive mountains as a background. That is the ideal place to see a gorgeous sunset.

At the end of the day, we will return through the desert up to Monges de Pacana, where we will do a nighttime photography session.

At about 3 a.m. we will return to San Pedro de Atacama.

Dia 7 - Photo Editing and Personal Processing Instructions

Free morning.

At 3 p.m. we will meet to review the images taken during the tour. At that time we will provide some guidance on photo editing and advanced image processing.

About the Tour

Dates (8 days):

  • 04/03/19 - 11/03/19 (open) - book;

Price and Method of Payment:

  • Price per person for a double room (two persons to a room): US $ 3300;

  • Add-on for individual room: US $ 700;

  • Method of payment: US $ 990 (when reservation is made) + US $ 2310 (until 15/01/19);

  • Discount for the first three people to book a tour: 10%;

  • Payments should be made by bank deposit or PayPal.

Included in the price:

  • Lodging for the duration of the tour (7 nights);

  • Transportation and food during the pre-planned activities;

  • Admission fees to all visited attractions;

  • Local Guides;

  • Photography Instructor (Victor Lima).

Not included in price:

  • Airfare;

  • Visas and fees;

  • Travel insurance;

  • Photo equipment;

  • Personal expenses, tips, etc.

Other information:

  • Book your tour at the Contact section of this website;

  • All monetary values expressed are in American Dollars (US $);

  • A minimum of 10 participants is required for the tour to take place;

  • In case of cancellation by participant, the amount paid at reservation will NOT be reimbursed;

  • In case the minimum number of participants required isn’t reached, the tour will be cancelled and the value paid at reservation will be fully reimbursed or, if participant chooses to take the tour at a different available date, we can keep the money and apply it towards the new tour of choice;

  • The tour dates were chosen based on the best periods for nighttime photography execution, having as main focus, the best conditions for astrophotography. Although climate conditions at the Atacama Desert are very predictable, we do not take responsibility for weather changes and how that may affect that or any other kind of photography;

  • Our service providing is limited to (and only) what concerns this photography tour, including lodging; meals and transportation only during pre planned outings. Any other personal issues, such as problems with individual documentation etc are NOT our responsibility.

  • During the Tour we will visit places that are above 4000 meters of altitude. Consult your doctor.

What to bring (recommendations):

  • DSLR photo camera;

  • 16 to 200mm lenses;

  • Tripod;

  • Cable shutter;

  • Polarized and ND lenses filters;

  • Handheld and head flashlights;

  • Sunglasses and sunscreen;

  • Cold weather garments (windbreaker, jacket, hats, balaclava, gloves e etc.).

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