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Mountaineering Expedition in Atacama with summit on Ojos del Salado

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Chilean IFMGA certified guide Carlos Vasquez takes you on an incredible journey through the natural and archaeological wonders of the Atacama Desert.

Group

Andes

19 Days

Jan, Feb, Mar, Nov, Dec

Fit

Intermediate


Highlights

  • 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

Description

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.

Itinerary

Day 1: Santiago - Calama - San Pedro de Atacama

  • 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

Day 2: Trekking Río Salado - Petroglifos (2700m)

  • 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

Day 3: Trekking Río Salado - Río Grande (3200m)

  • 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

Day 4: Trekking Río Grande - Machuca (4000m)

  • 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

Day 5: Trekking Geiser Blanco - Soquete Volcano (5400m)

  • Summit on the Soquete Volcano (5400m) via the “normal route” (6-8 hours)

  • Overnight at Geiser Blanco

Day 6: Trekking Geiser Blanco - Geiser Tatio (4400m) plus Puritama Hot Springs

  • 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

Day 7: San Pedro - Salar de Atacama

  • 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

Day 8: San Pedro - Licancabur Hut (4700m)

  • Border crossing into Bolivia

  • Transfer to the Licancabur Hut (4700m) and the Laguna Verde

  • Overnight at the hut

Day 9: Summit on the Licancabur Volcano (5970m)

  • Wake and breakfast at 4:00AM

  • Trek to the summit of the Licancabur Volcano (5970m)

  • Descent and overnight in the hut

Day 10: Lincancabur Hut - San Pedro (2600m)

  • Return transfer to Chile

  • Free time to shop and enjoy touristy San Pedro

  • Dinner and overnight at hotel in San Pedro

Day 11: San Pedro - Pan de Azúcar National Park

  • 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

Day 12: Pan de Azucár - Ojos del Salado Base Camp - Laguna Verde (4700m)

  • Trek to the Laguna Verde (4700m) and the Ojos del Salado Base Camp

  • Overnight at the base camp

Day 13: Laguna Verde - Atacama Hut (5200m)

  • Trek through sand to our first high altitude base camp on Ojos del Salado

  • Overnight at the Atacama Hut

Day 14: Atacama Hut - Tejos Hut (5940m)

  • 4 hour ascent to the Tejos Hut

  • Overnight at the hut

Day 15: Summit on Ojos del Salado (6883m)

  • 7 hour ascent from the hut to the top of Ojos del Salado (6883m)

  • Descent and overnight at the Tejos Hut

Day 16: Extra day

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.

Day 17: Laguna Verde - Pan de Azúcar

  • 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.

Day 18: Pan de Azúcar - Bahía Inglesa

  • 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

Day 19: Bahía Inglesa - Copiapo - Santiago

  • Transfer to the Atacama Desert Airport (CPO) in Copiapo

  • Return flight to Santiago

 

Details

Accommodation

We will stay in hotels, mountain huts and tents throughout this expedition.

Meeting point

Santiago, Chile

About the guide

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.

Languages

French | English

Residence

Chile


What people are saying about Carlos Vasquez Barriga

Warren Bryan

5.00

September, 2022

Great experience from start to finish. Lupe found my group a great trip on very short notice and our Guides Carlos and Edu were great. Nice long backcountry tours that led to gnarly terrain in the Maipo Valley. Fantastic experience, highly recommend!

Konrad Domanski

3.00

July, 2022

Carlos was guiding us very well in the mountains and he knew perfectly, what he was doing on rock or on ice. However, the communication was not the easiest and we also did not learn as much as we wanted on our two "training days" - it was mostly teaching through doing rather than showing us new techniques.

Rudolfs Kregers

5.00

July, 2022

The traveller did not leave a comment.

Jason McDonald

5.00

July, 2022

Carlos was a fantastic guide.

Mihai Simoniac

5.00

June, 2022

Had a Wonderful Time in the french alps. However, the down side of it, is that I did not make it to the summit because of the weather, and had to make a U-turn from 4,400m altitude, just 1-2h away from the summit. Now after the first try, I think this can be organised differently so the chance for the summit is twofold or even three fold. How can it be done differently? Acclimatisation can start at Tete Rouse refuge with overnight stay plus two nights at Goutter refuge. If done this way the chance of making it to the Mont Blanc summit increases. You have a bad weather one morning, but you try it from 12noon & have plenty of time as you'll slip at Goutter. If all day has bad weather you try again next morning...

Christian Carrillo

5.00

June, 2022

The traveller did not leave a comment.

Susie Jones

5.00

December, 2021

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.

kobi itah

3.00

September, 2021

The traveller did not leave a comment.

Gregory Lines

5.00

September, 2021

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.

Florian Plaza

5.00

August, 2021

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!

Tomcik Christopher

5.00

February, 2021

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 :)

Rui Tuna

5.00

August, 2020

The traveller did not leave a comment.

Gerardo Lamperti

5.00

August, 2020

The traveller did not leave a comment.

Carlos Escolano Guiote

5.00

August, 2020

My congrats for such an amazing guide like Carlos. Talented, experienced, all full of easy explanation that made it possible. The most safety way to guarantee you getting yo the top. Thanks!

Scott Horrocks

5.00

February, 2020

Carlos is superbien guide! Thanks for a great trip!

Prarabdh Awasthi

4.00

October, 2019

The traveller did not leave a comment.

Daniel Shannon

5.00

September, 2019

Had a amazing experience with Carlos! He fit lots into a 4 day trip, including multi-pitch rock climbing, mixed climbing, glacier traverse and a 4000m peak. Carlos is well connected in Chamonix and made the trip very easy by taking care of the logistics. He kept me motivated and had a fantastic personality the whole time! Can't wait to climb with him again!

Mizushima /

5.00

August, 2019

I have strained back on the way to mountain So we have changed the course The guide assisted me very well and well done

Kyong woodward

5.00

July, 2019

Thanks to Carlos and explore- share staff:) My experience with booking through explore-share and climbing to Mount Blanc with Carlos were fantastic! He is very easy going and flexible.

Alice

3.00

July, 2019

The guide is friendly and attention to safety. But the arrangement of such time and place is not suitable for us. The first day took the cable car at 1:30 PM and then take the train, stay in Tête Rousse refuge, only spend 5 hours total. And midnight at 2:00 Am started to climb to the summit and straightly back to the train station to catch the train at 5 Pm. It would take 15 hours. The physical strength of the two days was too unbalanced. In fact, I would not have these problems If we stayed in the Gouter refuge on the first day. My husband and I knew that will be a big test for us, but it doesn't mean we want to give up the climb to the summit. The uncomfortable thing is, The guide asked to go back even we didn't see the Mont Blanc. I am very upset, but the guide insists that I don't have a way to resist. My husband and I just slowly walk with disappointment. At 9 Am we arrived at Tête Rousse refuge, and slowly took a meal, slowly descended the mountain, and arrived at the train station at 1 o'clock, not 5 pm. We spent time and money to climb our dream Mountain, but this is the result, very dissatisfied of.

Scott Murdoch

5.00

July, 2019

Everything was as agreed.

Daniel Hall

5.00

July, 2019

Carlos is an unbelievable guide and I would recommend him to anyone considering any trip with him. He is very knowledgeable but relaxed with how he treats his clients. Would absolutely hire him again

Andrejs Dovganuks

5.00

June, 2019

Bit more trouble with booking, it blocked amount from credit card two times. Guide was professional and made climb very enjoyable

Joe Rumer

5.00

June, 2019

Carlos is a fantastic guide - he has over 20 years experience in the mountains and the right attitude: safety first, then enjoyment. His excellent local knowledge of the routes meant we could adapt to the weather and conditions. He also has the mix of being an excellent alpinist but also loving the scenery and wildlife. We had an incredible experience that we will never forget! This 3 day trip is a great option as you have a 'training day' to help acclimatise, refresh skills and come together as a group before your ascent! explore-share is a great platform to connect adventurers with guides and experiences - the chat service allowed us to ask questions first and work out the best dates for us

Edward Hoyle

5.00

June, 2019

Carlos is a great guy and knowledgable guide! Although we were unable to attempt to summit Mont Blanc due to weather, Carlos still ensured that we had a really fun and interesting trip! I would definitely recommend!

Prarabdh Awasthi

5.00

August, 2018

The traveller did not leave a comment.

Ian Summers

5.00

August, 2018

This was an incredible experience. Carlos did an amazing job. He was extremely knowledgeable about all aspects of the climb and was great at getting our shelter and transportation secured all while making sure I was safe and having fun the entire time we were climbing. I couldn’t be more confident to recommend. If you want the adventure of a lifetime, high in the French Alps then climb Mont Blanc with Carlos.

MITCH BOWMILE

5.00

July, 2018

Carlos was amazing! Great person, beautiful trip. Get in good shape!

Peter Vuchev

1.00

August, 2016

Our trip to Mont Blanc with Carlos can be summarised with only 1 word - disappointment. I definitely DO NOT recommend for anyone to use Carlos's services based on my experience. He is not serious ,changing our appointments at the last minute ,then yelling and not supporting at all in the mountain,not being prepared with the weather forecast and in general seeming bored and not interested. I did not feel any support from his side and on top of everything he lost us in a snowstorm on our way down. Huge disappointment!


Prices per person

Group of 1

EUR 7217 Each

Group of 2

EUR 4640 Each

Group of 3

EUR 4124 Each

Group of 4

EUR 3609 Each

Group of 5

EUR 3299 Each

Group of 6

EUR 2990 Each

Want a different number of travellers?

Price includes

- Guiding fee

- Accommodation included

- Transport during the trip

- Breakfast

- Lunch

- Dinner

Price details

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.




 

 

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