A fascinating trip through Chile's Norte Grande in pursuit of pre-Columbian rock art...
Combining guided tours with knowledgeable local guides and self-drive, this specialist itinerary offers a chance to delve deep into Chile's pre-Columbian past. Specially designed for clients with a keen interest in rock art, this is just one example of the types of specialist trips we can design. If you have a particular interest, be it birdwatching, pre-Colombian history, or activity-based, we will always endeavour to research and create your perfect trip!
Met on arrival into Santiago and transferred to the Hotel Atton el Bosque to stay for the night on a B&B basis. Includes a half-day city tour on a private basis including the historic centre, the Pre-Colombian Art Museum (Santiago's best museum) and Barrio Bellavista, ending up at Pueblo dos Dominicos to view traditional Chilean handicrafts. Includes museum entrance fees and water.
San Pedro de Atacama
Met and transferred to the airport for the morning flight to Calama. Collect your car hire to use for 6 days and self-drive to the town of San Pedro de Atacama to stay at the Hotel Terrantai for 5 nights on a B&B basis.
Some recommended places to visit from San Pedro are:
- Caspana (a small indigenous village, on the shore of the Salado River. Notable for its links to prehispanic cultures developed in the area).
-Petroglyphs of Yerbas Buenas
-Petroglyphs of Arcoiris Valley
-Pukará Quitor (Indigenous fortress, built in the XII Century)
-Tulor village (One of the most ancient archaeological sites in the North of Chile).
-Pukará Lasana (petroglyphs dating from 3.000 years B.C until XVI century).
San Pedro de Atacama to Iquique
Self-drive to the coastal city of Iquique to stay at the Holiday Inn Express Iquique Hotel for the night on a B&B basis. Drop off your car hire at the hotel.
Geoglyphs Pintados and Unita Hill
After an early departure from your hotel, you will be driven towards the magical Atacama, the world’s most arid desert, in search of the routes used by the ancient civilisations that inhabited this vast area. Passing through the desert towns of Pozo Almonte, where you will take a detour to visit Cerro Unita and the Atacama Giant. This is an impressive 86 metre-high figure, illustrating the outline of a man with feathered headdress. You will then continue on to the Geoglyphs Pintados, one of the most important archeological sites in this area. A beautiful example of rupestrian art, it consists of some 400 figures distributed along the hillsides in thematic groups or panels. Includes lunch box, water and entrance fees.
Stay overnight at the Holiday Inn Express Iquique Hotel on a B&B basis.
Iquique to Arica
After an early departure from Iquique, you will travel along Route A-16, giving spectacular views of Iquique and its surroundings. You will then cross the commune Alto Hospicio and the Cordillera de la Costa, ending up at Humberstone. This is a nitrate ghost town where you will get an idea for the splendor of this period in Chile’s history. Once in the desert, you will connect with the Panamerican highway. You will then continue on to Arica, passing Tiliviche and stopping at Chiza to visit the Chiza escarpment and geoglyphs. This site provides evidence that pre-Hispanic peoples used the valleys as natural access routes to the coast. Finally, you will cross the ravines of Suca, Nama, Camarones and Chaca, before arriving in Arica. Included – lunch box, water and entrance fees to Humberstone.
Stay overnight at the Panamericana Hotel on a B&B basis.
Tour to the Aymara villages of the Precordillera de los Andes
After an early departure from your hotel, you will discover the Precordillera area, a myriad of pre-Hispanic villages and pastoral settlements with a mixture of Andean and colonial architecture and adobe houses. On route you will visit the picturesque traditional villages of Ticnamar, Saxamar and Belen - the only village in the area that was founded by the Spaniards. Belen was selected by the Spanish for its climate and its proximity to the route used to transport silver from Potosí to Arica. Visit the village of Pachama, which is surrounded by fields and eucalyptus trees. You will then continue on through Chapiquiña village and the Socoroma village, with its 17th century church, to arrive at Putre, located at 3500 metres above sea level and on the foot of the 5800m-high ancient volcano, Taapaca. Includes lunch and bottle of mineral water.
Return to Arica and stay overnight at the Panamericana Hotel on a B&B basis.
Met at your hotel in the afternoon for your half-day city tour of Arica and the archaeological valley of Azapa. Visit includes national monuments such as St. Mark's Cathedral and the ex-Customs Building, both designed and pre-fabricated in Gustav Eiffel’s workshops. The tour continues along the south coast, stopping off at places of interest such as the "ex" Alacrán (Scorpion) Island and the southern beaches. You will also visit the Fishmeal Industry Factory and the Historical Morro de Arica with its open air Military Museum. You will then drive into the Azapa Valley filled with passion fruit, olive and mango farms. You will visit the Cerro Sombrero site, a pre-Hispanic settlement and its geoglyphs, depicting a herd of camelids and the Andean Cosmo vision. Visit the archeological museum whose exhibitions illustrate the complete evolution of the area from its most ancient inhabitants until the arrival of the Spanish and some of the most ancient mummified remains in the world. Visit the local handicraft market for the chance to appreciate locally made art and handicrafts. Return to your hotel in the evening. Includes museum entrance fees and water.
Stay overnight at the Panamericana Hotel on a B&B basis.
Met and transferred to the airport for the afternoon flight to Santiago. Met on arrival and transferred to the Hotel Atton el Bosque to stay for the night on a B&B basis for your final night in Chile before heading home.
Santiago to home
Met and transferred to the airport for your flight home (international flights not included).