Chilean IFMGA certified guide Carlos Vasquez takes you on an incredible journey through the natural and archaeological wonders of the Atacama Desert.
Jan - Mar, Nov, Dec
* Explore the immensity of the Atacama Desert and her starry skies
* Reach the summit of the world's tallest Volcano: Ojos del Salado (6883m)
* Discover the flora and fauna of the Altiplano in northern Chile
Discover the hidden gems of the Atacama Desert on this 19-day mountaineering expedition. We will climb to the top of Ojos del Salado (6883m), the world’s tallest volcano, and swim in the Pacific Ocean. In between, we will discover the many wonders of this arid landscape in northern Chile. You can’t possibly imagine all that the Atacama has in store for you.
Often dismissed as a dry and desolate land, the Atacama Desert is filled with natural and archaeological marvels that you can’t find anywhere else. While it may not be the most hospitable place on Earth, the Atacama Desert has much to offer travelers and mountaineers alike.
Our journey will take us to rocks carved with pre-Columbian petroglyphs and ancient stone fortresses such as Pucará de Quitor. As we pass through the isolated towns and villages that dot the driest desert on Earth, we will observe the traditional architecture of the Chilean Altiplano. We will also have a chance to see the more touristy side of things in centrally located San Pedro de Atacama.
In addition to reaching the summit of Ojos del Salado, we will visit the many other natural phenomena that make the Atacama Desert so unique. On our first day, for example, we will visit the otherworldly Valle de la Luna (Moon Valley). Later on, we will watch in awe as hot steam is released from the ground at El Tatio, the third largest geyser in the world. We will also visit the nearby Geyser Blanco and soak leisurely in the Puritama Hot Springs.
Our adventures will also take us across the border into neighboring Bolivia where will climb the Licancabur Volcano (5970m). We will spend two nights at the Licancabur Hut and summit the volcano in between. Additionally, we will visit the Pacific Ocean on two occasions and camp on the beach in the Pan de Azúcar National Park. On our final day, we will travel south to Bahía Inglesa and celebrate with a fresh seafood feast. This is sure to be the culinary highlight of the trip.
Throughout this entire expedition, we will be under the wide open sky of the Atacama Desert. At night, the sky here fills with stars unlike anywhere else on the planet. There is simply no better place in the world for stargazing than the Atacama Desert. During our treks, we will also have the opportunity to get up close and personal with the native flora and fauna of the Altiplano. More than likely, we will observe vicuñas, vizcachas, llamas and Alpacas in their natural habitat.
While this is a mountaineering expedition, cultural and touristic activities will be interspersed with trekking throughout the trip. There will be plenty of time to relax and enjoy, but please keep in mind that reaching the summit of Ojos del Salado requires you to be physically fit. Ideally, you should have some prior mountaineering experience as well.
The ascent on Ojos del Salado itself will take us approximately 7 hours. Along the way, we will traverse a snowfield and endure a brief climb (Class 4) before reaching the top of this sacred peak in the Altiplano. The panoramic views from above will leave you speechless.
There is so much to explore in the immense Atacama Desert. Our summit on the world’s tallest volcano will be just one of the many highlights of this one-of-a-kind expedition. Nineteen days may not be enough to see everything, but I promise you will walk away in awe of what we discover here in the Altiplano.
To get in touch with me or reserve your spot on one of my upcoming tours (see dates below), please click on “Request to book”. I always travel with small groups and maintain a low 3:1 participant to guide ratio on this expedition.
In addition to this 19-day expedition, I also offer several shorter trips here in Atacama. You can join me for a 4-day Trek along Río Salado, or a 2-day Mountaineering Expedition on the Licancabur Volcano in Bolivia. To view all of my available trips, please click here to view my complete profile.
- Accommodation included
- Guiding fee
- Transport during the trip
Hotel stays in San Pedro and Bahía Inglesa are included. All meals are included, but please keep in mind that drinks at the restaurants and local flights are not included in the price of this expedition.
Transfer from your accommodation in Santiago to the International Airport (SCL)
Flight from Santiago to Calama (2 hours)
Ground transfer from Calama to San Pedro de Atacama
Visit the cavernas de sal (Salt Caves) and the Valle de la Luna (Moon Valley) at sunset
Dinner in San Pedro de Atacama
Overnight at hotel in San Pedro de Atacama
Transfer to Pucará de Quitor, a pre-Columbian stone fortress and starting point for our trek
3-4 hours acclimatization trek along the Río Salado
Set up camp at the Petroglifos, or “petroglyphs”, where ancient drawings are carved into rock
6-8 hour trek along the Río Salado Divide
Visit to antique church typical of the Altiplano in Aimara de Río Grande
Overnight at the Hostal de Indígenas in Río Grande
6-8 hour trek along the Río Grande
Sightings of fauna typical of the Altiplano: vicuñas, vizcachas ,llamas, alpacas and native bird species
Overnight at Geiser Blanco, a geyser and thermal hot springs
Summit on the Soquete Volcano (5400m) via the “normal route” (6-8 hours)
Overnight at Geiser Blanco
Visit to Geiser Tatio, an impressive geyser field
Soak in the thermal hot springs in Puritama
Return transfer to San Pedro de Atacama
Dinner and overnight at hotel in San Pedro
Transfer from San Pedro to the Salar de Atacama salt flats
Visit the Lagunas Altiplánicas (4200m) and the town of Socaire
Return transfer to San Pedro and overnight at hotel
Border crossing into Bolivia
Transfer to the Licancabur Hut (4700m) and the Laguna Verde
Overnight at the hut
Wake and breakfast at 4:00AM
Trek to the summit of the Licancabur Volcano (5970m)
Descent and overnight in the hut
Return transfer to Chile
Free time to shop and enjoy touristy San Pedro
Dinner and overnight at hotel in San Pedro
Transfer (in 4×4 vehicle) to the Pacific Coast
Pan de Azúcar National Park
Fresh seafood barbecue beside the ocean
Camp on the beach within the national park
Trek to the Laguna Verde (4700m) and the Ojos del Salado Base Camp
Overnight at the base camp
Trek through sand to our first high altitude base camp on Ojos del Salado
Overnight at the Atacama Hut
4 hour ascent to the Tejos Hut
Overnight at the hut
7 hour ascent from the hut to the top of Ojos del Salado (6883m)
Descent and overnight at the Tejos Hut
I have scheduled an extra day into our itinerary in case we need to delay our ascent on Ojos del Salado due to inclement weather conditions.
Transfer back to the Pacific Ocean
Fresh seafood barbecue and free time to enjoy water
Overnight in the national park
We may also be able to take a walk along the coast to discover native flora and fauna such as Humboldt penguins.
Transfer along the Pacific Coast to Bahía Inglesa (200 kilometers)
Free time to enjoy the ocean
Fresh seafood “end of trip” celebration dinner
Overnight at hotel in Bahía Inglesa
Transfer to the Atacama Desert Airport (CPO) in Copiapo
Return flight to Santiago
IFGMA/UIAGM Guide from Chile
I have extensive experience guiding in the Andes and Europe. I am a resident in Chile, Spain and Chamonix. I am very sociable and motivated. I am always available for projects in the mountains.
French | English
Carlos is a very accomplished rock climber, speaks great English, and is fun to be around. We felt very safe while climbing with him on the Sharks Fin, and learned a lot too.
Hey, So I had a great time on this journey in the Atacama desert and up the the Ojos del Salado. Looking forward for other adventures of this kind :)
Carlos was a professional and committed guide! We had three great days. He was friendly and guided us savely up to mt blanc. i dont understand the one bad rating carlos got. In my opinion it think it was an bloody amateur which shouldnt have been on mt blanc in the first place. Let me say one thing. If you have no experience on higher mountains and in climbing in general, there is no place for you on mt blanc. train hard, prepare and come with the right expectation!
The whole trip was excellent. Explore share did a great job coordinating. Carlos is an experienced guide and effective teacher. I felt safe with him the whole time we were on the mountain. The weather was terrific and we summited just as expected. I highly recommend Carlos Vasquez for Mont Blanc.
El guía Carlos, siempre fue muy atento y responsable en lo que compete a sus funciones, nunca me sentí desconfiado o desprotegido. Posee un alto conocimiento técnico asi también como una gran experiencia como guía. estoy sumamente agradecido pues su perfil fue muy acertado para mi persona. 100% recomendados para cualquier otra persona que busque un guía. El servicio brindados por Uds. la organización Explore-share tambien esta bien bien puntuado, siempre me proporcionaron informacion clara, transparente y real. 100% recomendados
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