Awasi Atacama , Chile

The Awasi Atacama is an oasis in the desert.

Awasi Atacama is nestled behind an ancient adobe wall, so you could easily pass by and not realise that a small lodge lies within.

Awasi Atacama is located in the town of San Pedro de Atacama, a few blocks from the historical center, the market, the old church and the Square. This proximity allows guests to get to know the authentic town life.

After days spent exploring the impressive natural scenery of the Atacama Desert, return to Awasi Atacama for a swim in the pool, a drink by the fire pit and long evening meals in our Relais & Chateaux restaurant.

Awasi Atacama

With private patios, tall trees providing natural shade and open-air communal areas so you can enjoy the world’s clearest skies, Awasi is the perfect place to enjoy the very best of the Atacama.

Each of the 10 rooms is assigned a private professional guide and 4x4 vehicle for the duration of your stay. Excursions are always private, without the need to compromise what you want to do based on other guests differing interests. Each suite has a patio, solarium, plus outdoor and indoor showers.

 

Awasi will be your base for exploration of the Atacama Desert. The lodge offers a menu of over 47 different quarter-, half- and full-day excursions which explore the cultural and natural history of the Atacama desert by Jeep, on foot, on horseback, on bike or any combination of the above. The Awasi experience is ultimately 100% tailor made. All meals and guided excursions are included.

Rooms:

Awasi Atacama Rooms
Awasi Atacama Rooms
Awasi Atacama Rooms
Awasi Atacama Rooms

 

The following are the different activities you can carry out at Awasi Atacama:

The excursions are personalized and organized according to your tastes and special interests. The durations of these activities will depend on the pace of the trek and the possible stops that each guest prefers to make during the journey.

Awasi Atacama Activities

Excursions are by vehicle, bicycle, on foot or horseback. Excursions are split between half-day excursions (between 2 and 5 hours) and full-day excursions (between 6 and 10 hours).

  • Awasi Atacama Activities
  • Zone  A - Salt  Flat

    Consisting of the low zone of the basin, characteristic for its flat and regular surface. The altitude for these excursions is about 2,400 meters above sea level. The geological events of greater importance in this area are the Cordillera de la Sal mountain range and the Salar de Atacama salt flat.

  • Attractions of San Pedro Ayllus - San Pedro de Atacama is known as the archaeological capital of Chile. The settlement is very old, with permanently inhabited since at least 2,500 years ago.

    On this excursion you will be able to visit the town square and the church, both places representative of the village , and the two major archaeological sites of San Pedro: the Pukará de Quitor, a tenth century fort built with mud and white volcanic rock, and the village of Tulor, built with adobe in curved and organic forms, with an enigmatic history that represents the origin of the people of this area.

    Difficulty: Easy - Duration: 2:30 - By car and on foot / bicycle

  • Ayllus

    Ayllu means  “family” in Quechua, the language of the Incas. In this way the people were organized in the Tawantinsuyu, the Inca kingdom, for the employment of men in collective work tasks. 

    San Pedro de Atacama today has 15 Ayllus, located in the area surrounding the old town, which faithfully embody the peaceful agrarian  way of life of the ethnic Lickan Antay, which has remained relatively intact for millennia. Here it is possible to visit their cultivation fields, to observe the thousand-year old route of the irrigation channels, and to see both native and introduced flora and fauna.

    Difficulty: Easy - Duration: 2:30 - By car and on foot / bicycle / horse 

  • Valle de la Luna

    The Valle de la Luna, or Valley of the Moon, is without doubt the most famous natural attraction of the Antofagasta region. It is located less than ten kilometers from San Pedro, in the middle of the Cordillera de la Sal. Its gigantic sedimentary rock walls, with their red and white tones, are contorted by the huge tectonic pressure acting upon the Atacama Desert. Some of the most popular sites in the sector are La Duna Mayor, Las Tres Marías, El Mirador de Kari, and El Cañón de la Sal.

    Difficulty: Easy - Duration: 3:00 - By car and on foot / bike 

  • Kari Canyon

    The Valle de la Luna hides a secret of great beauty, little frequented or known: el Cañón de Kari. Named for the green color of its ores (minerals as removed from the mine) of copper, it is journey that never ceases to amaze, from the heights of the Mirador, passing through a salt flat, until reaching the serpentine path of the water between blades of clay and salt.

    Difficulty: Medium - Duration: 3:00 - By car and on foot 

  • Barrancas

    El Valle de la Muerte, or Death Valley, is very close to the Valle de la Luna, in another sector of the Cordillera de la Sal.You can get a fantastic panoramic view of the town of San Pedro, the central Cordillera of the Andes and the impressive Cuenca de Atacama basin, from the crest of a sedimentary rock wall raised up by the energy of the tectonic plates. The trek is mainly on the plain, upon a rocky surface.

    Difficulty: Easy - Duration: 3:00 - By car and on foot / horse 

  • Piedra de la Coca

    In prehistoric times, the inhabitants of San Pedro built a large network of commercial routes towards other zones, such as the coast or the Bolivian Altiplano. Their footprints are still visible today in the rock, where they made mysterious engravings of animals and people. Here it is possible to walk where they did, thousands of years ago, to appreciate not only the rock art but also the beautiful natural formations of the Cordillera de la Sal.

    Difficulty: Medium - Duration: 3:00 - By car and on foot / bicycle / horse 

  • Garganta del Diablo

    The Cordillera de la Sal is composed of endless stream beds, normally dry but ¨beware of their treacherous waters¨ upon the arrival of the rains, that mirror the landscape of the planet Mars. One of them stands out for the enormity of its walls of clay and gypsum, from which you can expect fantastic views behind every nook and cranny of the route, and that finishes in a great dry waterfall: the Devil’s Ravine or Throat of the Devil.

    Difficulty: Medium - Duration: 3:00 - By car and on foot / bicycle / horse 

  • Katarpe

    In the sector north of the town, following the course of the Río San Pedro river, you come to the Katarpe sector. Here officials of the Tawantinsuyu (Inca kingdom) were assigned to administer the Lickan Antay, collecting taxes and recruiting people to form compulsory armies for the Inca. The remains of the Kallanka (Inca center) can still be seen, surrounded by the majestic Cordillera de la Sal mountains and the salty waters of the river.

    This destination can be combined with other excursions, like La Garganta del Diablo or La Piedra de la Coca.

    Difficulty: Easy - Duration: 2:30 - By car and on foot / bicycle / horse 

  • Laguna Cejar

    The Salar de Atacama is the third largest salt flat on the planet. It is also very special in its morphology, a product of the extreme aridity of climate. However, there are lakes deep at their heart, of high salinity, that possess curious and beautiful birdlife, in addition to plants that are extremely salt-tolerant. The Cejar and Piedras lakes are visited - in the latter, it is possible to bathe and enjoy an experience similar to that of the dead sea - in addition to Los Ojos del Salarand the Laguna Tebinquiche, both of great scenic beauty.

    Difficulty: Easy - Duration: 3:00 - By car and on foot / bike

  • Toconao and Sóncor Sector

    The Reserva Nacional Los Flamencos national reserve, the most diverse in the country in terms of biomass, derives its name from the three endemic flamenco species of northern Chile. There is no better place to observe these majestic birds than the Río Burro Muerto, in the Sóncor Sector.

    You can visit the traditional Toconao village on the way, with its houses of volcanic rock and old gardens of beautiful verdure, providing a counterpoint to the extreme aridity of the Atacama basin.

    Difficulty: Easy - Duration: 3:00 - By car and on foot 

  • Zone  B - Intermediate Ravines

    Between the flats of the basin and the volcanic summits there is a sector, composed primarily of solidified igneous volcanic rocks, which is located between 3,000 and 3,800 meters. This area is often referred to as the intermediate Ravines, where the small rivers of the Altiplano descend towards the desert. 

  • Matancilla and Yerbas Buenas

    There are unique places on Earth, due to their unusual geography and conditions, or because they represent something original in human history. On this excursion the two are combined ideally: the site of Yerbas Buenas contains an extraordinary wealth of petroglyphs from the Lickan Antay culture. It is

    also in close proximity to the Matancilla valley, where the geological history of the desert is laid bare in a symphony of colors within the rock.

    Difficulty:  Easy - Duration: 3:30 - By car and on foot / bike

  • Guatin

    Between the dryness of the salt flats and the impressive Puna are the intermediate  ravines. That of the Vilama river is counted among the most beautiful and interesting, where only the Cardón or Pasakana cactus grow. There are two possible routes to be taken from Guatin: you can ascend towards the Puritama Hot Springs or descend to the archaeological site of Gatchi. Both routes present a similar duration and level of difficulty.

    Difficulty:  Medium - Duration: 3:00 - By car and on foot / bike

  • Puritama Hot Springs

    The volcanic activity of the Andes always takes a leading role due to the beauty of its summits, the eruptions that revitalize the richness of the soil, or the endless thermal springs that it produces.

    Among these geothermal features, the Puritama river is particularly noteworthy, springing from the volcanic rock at a temperature of 37ºc and which is ideal for bathing. This location has high class facilities and is organized in a series of handcrafted pools.

    Difficulty:  Easy - Duration: 3:00 - By car and on foot / bike 

  • Talabre

    One of the great virtues of the Atacama Desert is that it is full of authentic places, which preserve within them the essence of the simple and contemplative old ways of life. Talabre represents that Atacameño spirit eloquently. You can visit ancient cultivation terraces, still functional today, as well as sites of ancestral petroglyphs in the Patos and Quezala ravines, with the most active volcano in Chile as a constant background – the furious Lascar.

    Difficulty: Easy - Duration: 3:30 - By car and on foot / bike

  • Zone  C - Puna

    Above 4,000 meters altitude there is an important increase in precipitation which results in green meadows and highland wetlands, called bofedales. Most of the fauna and flora of the region is concentrated in this area.

    *It requires altitude acclimatization prior to your visit and is not recommended for visitors who suffer from heart disease. 

  • Machuca

    The Machuca village is one of the few located above 4,000 meters which is still inhabited, in the region of Antofagasta. The ascent in a 4x4 truck is both quick and safe and allows one to almost touch the sky, in a landscape much more fertile and rich in animals than the desert of San Pedro. There are excellent opportunities for bird watching in the town’s environs.

    Difficulty: Easy - Duration: 3:30 - By car and on foot

  • Géisers del Tatio

    The Tatio geysers are one of the biggest attractions in the country, being the largest geothermal field in the southern hemisphere, complete with an enormous variety of features, from small fumaroles and bubbling springs to beautiful fountains of water, like the geysers.

    In addition, from the road you can observe vicuñas, foxes, wild donkeys and flamingos, among many other species. You can visit panoramically ( from the vehicle) or on foot, while there are also many diverse trails and alternative routes that can be taken. Here it is possible to bathe in an artificial swimming pool specially installed in the geothermal field.

    Difficulty: Medium - Duration: 7:00 - By car and on foot 

  • Alto Loa Villages

    At the beginning of the Altiplano there are some villages that still keep to the thousand-year old traditions of the Lickan Antay culture, such as Caspana and Chiu-Chiu. Caspana is located at almost 4,000 meters altitude and preserves one of the oldest cultivation systems in the region, within a privileged landscape that combines desert, oasis and the altiplano. Chiu-Chiu was regarded as the capital of Atacama la Baja, or Lower Atacama, counterpart to the power centered in San Pedro, and boasts the oldest church in Chile, the San Francisco de Chiu-Chiu Church.

    Difficulty: Easy - Duration: 7:00 - By car and on foot 

  • Machuca and Río Grande

    Among the multiple commercial routes frequented by the Lickan Antay in their age of glory, a very traditional one is still used in our times. This follows the shepherds’ route between the villages of Machuca and Río Grande, used to move the livestock to higher ground in summertime, then to bring them back down before the snows. The trail starts in a distinctly Altiplano landscape, passing through many levels into an intermediate ravine area.

    Difficulty: Medium-High - Duration: 7:30 - By car and on foot

  • Lagunas Altiplánicas

    This excursion includes the Toconao and Sóncor Sector, in addition to a visit to one of the greatest tourist attraction of the region: the Miscanti and Miñiques lakes. Situated at an altitude of 4,500 meters, they are of great scenic beauty. The larger is the Miscanti, which offers a panorama of Andean volcanoes, as well as populations of vicuñas and horny taguas; the smaller is the Miñiques, from which the beautiful Miñiques volcano, the Callejón Varela and a great variety of species can be observed.

    Difficulty: Easy - Duration: 7:00 - By car and on foot 

  • Altiplano Salt Flats

    Situated almost on the border with Argentina are the salt flats of Aguas Calientes and Tuyactu. Both are wrapped in absolute silence, mainly thanks to their low visitor numbers. The Salar de Aguas Calientes has a splendid view of the surrounding volcanoes and reddish waters. The Laguna de Tuyactu is, in contrast, a mirror of salt water, which looks like snow in the dry season.

    Difficulty: Medium - Duration: 7:00 - By car and on foot

  • Tara Salt Flats

    On the country’s border, literally, is a simply impressive water system: the Salar de Tara. Almost 5.000 meters in altitude, it is possible to admire a sky bluer than any other, surrounded by colorful mountains and a startling silence. On the salt flat there are llamas, vicuñas, flamencos, goldfinches, cholulos and many other species, and it is crowned by the imposing Monjes de la Pacana(Pacana  Monks), columns of volcanic rock sculpted by erosion.

    Difficulty: Medium - Duration: 7:30 - By car and on foot 

  • Salar de Kapur and Salar de Talar

    A unique way of experiencing the Altiplano is to do it on foot. If this method presents great challenges and difficulties, it also rewards adventurers with unique and overwhelming experiences. On this route, one of the simplest, the salt flats of Kapur and Talar are explored, offering unique views of the extreme south of the territories of the “Abrazo de Mendoza (Embrace of Mendoza)”.

    Difficulty: High - Duration: 8:00 - By car and on foot

  • Zone D – High Mountain

    The high summits of the central Andes represent an undeniable attraction for the imagination, reaching up to an altitude of some 6,000 meters. This requires appropriate physical and mental preparation, as well as acclimatization to the lack of oxygen. Most of the summits close to the hotel are between 5,000 and 5,700 meters.

  • Saciel Volcano

    This volcano lies directly between the borders of Chile and Bolivia. In fact, during the ascent you will pass meters from the border signs, surrounded by a landscape that knows neither nationality nor name. The ascent begins from an abandoned sulphur mine,testifying to the enormous will and strength of the people of the Atacama, from which you climb 300 meters up to the summit - from there you can see the extinct crater of Sacielvolcano, as well as the Bolivian Altiplano and the Atacama Basin.

    Difficulty: High - Duration: 8:00 - By car and on foot 

  • Toco Hill

    The Cerro Toco hill, 5,600 meters above sea level, is the least difficult ascent for mountaineers. The trail is well marked and does not present technical challenges. In spite of this, the high altitude can cause problems for those who are not acclimatized and therefore deserves respect. From the summit it is possible to see not only the Salar de Atacama but also the white and green lagoons in Bolivia.

    Difficulty: High - Duration: 7:00 - By car and on foot 

  • Láscar Volcano

    The journey to the most emblematic volcano of the north of Chile is long and difficult. It ascends by the route to the village of Talabre and it continues towards the abandoned Huatiquina pass, passing close to the beautiful Laguna Lejía. The path to the summit is long, but not extremely difficult, and is remarkable by its proximity to the crater of the volcano, from which it is possible to observe multiple smoking sulphur vents. Subject to weather and safety conditions

    Difficulty: High - Duration: 9:00 - By car and on foot 

  • Sairecabur Volcano

    The Mountain of the Rains, as it is named in Kunza, is an inactive volcano with an altitude of almost six thousand meters. The ascent is extremely difficult, complicated by the slope of the mountainside, the presence of sulphuric gases from sulphuric vents and the thin air at such altitude. It requires prior acclimatization, in addition to great willpower and endurance to reach the summit. An acclimatization period is necessary prior to the ascent

    Difficulty: Very High - Duration: 9:00 - By car and on foot 

  • Copa Coya Hill

    On arrival at the Tatio geysers, a great peak provides the background: the Cerro Copa Coya. You can ascend the western slope or walk around from the east. In both cases it is possible to appreciate the geothermal field from its heights and discover the flora and fauna of the Altiplano. At the end of your journey you can enjoy an unforgettable lunch facing the geysers.

    Difficulty: High - Duration: 7:30 - By car and on foot 

  • Astronomical Observation

    At present, the observations of the universe through professional telescopes are concentrated in just three places around the world; two in the northern hemisphere (Hawaii and the Canary Islands) and only one in the southern hemisphere: Chile, San Pedro de Atacama being one of the privileged locations for this activity. The Awasi astronomy excursion consists of three stages.

    The first is a general explanation of the universe, covering topics such as sizes, distances, stellar evolution and Andean cosmology; the second is an observation of the night sky with the naked eye, in which you can see stars, constellations and the Milky Way.

    The third stage takes place inside a small dome, in which there is an 11-inch automatic telescope for observing deep-space objects, those that are impossible to observe with the naked eye.

    The observation  takes place depending on favorable weather conditions and after 9PM (dinner time). Check with the receptionist for the exact days and times of the activity.

    Duration: 1:30

 

Deluxe

Awasi Atacama

Be on your own schedule. Activities or day tours can be private or shared. Join a scheduled, multi-day group tour. All-inclusive travel by cruise ship.

Including accommodations, transportation, and activities/tours.

Any specific destinations or interests (e.g. culture, food, wine, romance, adventure, wildlife, etc.)? Special occasion? Relaxing vs. fast-paced trip? What would make this your dream trip?

Travel Tips
Memorize your passport number, as you will likely be asked for it on numerous occasions throughout your adventure.
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