The Atacama Horseback Expedition, Chile - Day by Day

Itinerary - Day by day description of your horse riding holiday in the Atacama – Chile

Atacama horse riding expedition Not for moaners nor whiners. This is big adventure!

Atacama Horse Riding Expedition Route in ChileDAY 1  Calama – Chiu Chiu  > Altitude: 2.525mts
Meet & greet at 13:00hrs at the airport of Calama. Your trip leader Paul will be waiting for you at the airport). Transfer to the village of Chiu Chiu by minibus. (1 hour drive) 
Check in at the guesthouse in Chiu Chiu.   We will have lunch in a local restaurant and stroll along the typical Atacama village. 
Night in guesthouse.

DAY 2  Chiu Chiu – Puente del Diablo (6hrs riding)
After breakfast and before getting onto our horses we visit the oldest church of Chile, the church of San Lucas of Chiu Chiu, build in 1600.  Time to ride, so we leave the village behind us and set of with a trot towards the lake Laguna Inka Coya. From there we follow the riverbed of Rio Salado, climbing all the will till Puente del Diablo (devils bridge), a natural bridge over the narrowest point of the canyon of the river Salado. It is here in the plains next to the river bed that we will set up our camp.
One million stars to look at! .. Some prefer to sleep in the tent, some prefer sleep in the open air to fall asleep looking at the milky way.

DAY 3  Puente del Diablo – Turi (7hrs riding)  > Altitude: 3.100mts
Nothing is more spectacular than waking up in the desert.  After coffee and a good breakfast at the campsite we mount our criollo horses and continue our desert expedition. We ride along the river Rio Salado and follow part of the pilgrim route of the Virgin Aiquina. The mighty volcanoes San Pedro, San Pablo and Paniri are watching us from nearby. We continue along the canyon where we probably come across herds of lamas and goats until we reach the vast plains of Turi (3,100mts). We arrive at the foot of pucará Turi where we set up camp.

DAY 4  Turi – Caspana (6hrs riding)  > Altitude: 3.600mts
What about having on early bath in the natural minural baths of Turi who offer you comfortable swim before getting in the saddle. We ride and visit the Pucara of Turi, the largest fortress built by the Atacameño people. We continue our expedition to Caspana and visit this typical village. This village is surrounded by a fertile valley where we see its many terraced crops and fruit trees. The village has only 400 inhabitants and the houses are built in  liparita clay (400 inhabitants), we can visit the Church built in 1641 which is declared a national monument. 
Overnight in camp.

DAY 5  Caspana – Turcapo (9hrs riding)
Early wake up, as we have a long day of riding today. We leave the village of Caspana and climb the dizzying rocky landscape following an Inca trail until we reach a high plateau. We continue our ride in a southeasterly direction passing at the foot of the mountains of Cablor. After four hours of riding we arrive at the Chita mountain. We follow our path to the top of the plateau where we ride for about four more hours with a breathtaking view of all the peaks and volcanoes surrounding us. At the end of our day we the descent a long slope that leads us to the bottom of a huge and very rugged canyon with small salt flats. We visit one of the few locals who live in a natural cave and continue to ride in the canyon till we reach Turcapo. We set up camp in a corral of local villagers.
DAY 6  Turcapo – Rio Grande  (8hrs riding)
We start riding between the orchards of the local inhabitants, then ride up a beautiful slope reaching a plateau full of wild donkeys. We continue through dramatic landscapes and come to a ravine where we find large pools which is the ideal stop place for a refreshing bath. We cross this plateau through the Inca Trail and descend towards the Rio Grande where we will appreciate an oasis in the valley. It is here that we will set up camp.

DAY 7  Rio Grande – Catarpe (7hrs riding)
We leave Rio Grande climbing up the hill with our horses till we reach the pampa. From here we follow the Inca Trail again and descend for a long time through small hills but with big views of the snow covered volcanoes and mountains. In the distance spotting the spars vegetation of San Pedro de Atacama. We continue the ride through San Bartolo to reach the place where the rivers Rio Salado and Rio Grande meet. Descending the ride we reach our camp place on the grounds of Catarpe.

DAY 8  Catarpe – San Pedro de Atacama (7hrs riding) > Altitude: 2.450mts
After having our last camping breakfast we mount the horses and take them to the river. We follow the Rio Grande river till we reach  the Valley of Death (Valle de la Muerte). Here we continue the path all the way till entering the impressive Valle de la Luna of Valley of the Moon. Sand dunes and fantastic surroundings is the ideal décor for our last gallop in the Atacama desert. Due to the layer of dust we arrive with the look of outlaws in the splendid village of San Pedro de Atacama.
In our guesthouse we will wash away the dust with Ice-cold beer and take a warm and well deserved shower before getting at the table and have our last dinner. 
Night in a guesthouse in the center of town. 

DAY 9  San Pedro de Atacama – Calama
After breakfast we will take you to the airport of Calama. 
End of the trip.

Staying longer in Chile after the trail ride:
Talk to us to see how you could extend your holiday.