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9 Day Wild Atacama Horseback Riding Holiday in Calama, Antofagasta

Guesthouse, San Francisco de Chiu Chiu, Calama, El Loa, Antofagasta, Chile

Chile Horse Riding Holiday

On this equestrian expedition, you will be taken to the Wild West of South America which is the Atacama Desert in Chile! The Atacama Desert is a plateau in Northern Chile, covering a thousand kilometers of land on the Pacific coast, west of the Andes Mountains. It is the driest non-polar desert in the world; still today, it is home to the Inca descendants, the Atacameños.

Key Information

  • Rider Weight Limit: 264 pounds / 120 kilograms
  • Tack Type: Huaso
  • Horse Breed: Chilean Criollo

Meet the instructors

José Tomás
Read more

Highlights

  • 7 horse riding days
  • Approximate daily riding time: 7 hours
  • Services of guides and Chilean cowboys
  • Use of horses and tack including saddlebags
  • Roundtrip airport transfers are included
  • Back-up vehicle for personal luggage
  • Full board meals are provided
  • 8 nights accommodation

Skill level

  • Intermediate
  • Advanced

Styles


7 days with instruction in English
The organizer also speaks: Spanish
Group size: Maximum of 12 participants
Airport transfer included: El Loa Airport
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Accommodation

Check-in Time:
14:00
Check-out Time:
10:00

During the first and last night, you will be staying in comfortable rooms at cozy guesthouses based on double rooms. All other nights, you will camp in the desert and sleep in Iglo tents with space for two persons in each tent. Aside from the sleeping tents, there will be one big kitchen and social tent.

Program

The picturesque desert villages lying on the Inca Trail will surprise you by their Wild West appearance, by a “time has stood still” atmosphere and by its breathtaking surroundings. Here, you will find yourself galloping in one of the most spectacular and dramatic landscapes on earth!

The adventure starts in the tiny desert village of Chiu Chiu at an altitude of 2.525 meters. After your first night in a cozy guesthouse near the Church of San Francisco (the oldest church of Chile - anno 1600), it is time to mount your Chilean Criollo horse and prepare yourself for a week of riding and sleeping on the wild side! It will take you nine days to reach the final point, San Pedro de Atacama.

On average, you will have 6 to 8 hours in the saddle per day and make your way across the high altitude part of the Atacama called the Altiplano. Leading your strong horse trough huge sand dunes, rocky mountains, canyons, rivers, salt lakes, and along geysers, no one but the snow-covered volcanos, San Pedro (6145 meters) and San Pablo (6092 meters), will be witnessing this equestrian caravan.

During the expedition, you will encounter Flamingos, Lamas, Vicuñas, and Condors. You will take well-deserved baths in natural warm water springs and ride through Atacama villages where donkeys and mules are parked in front of the local barber and supply shop. You will have a refreshing beer with the locals of the village and continue the ride in the oldest desert of the world, spending cool nights under clear skies.

You will be camping and setting up your tents each evening exactly the same way as the Spanish conquistadores did when they first came across this region. Stay in idyllic camp places where your guides will prepare a good meal and take care of the horses while you unroll your sleeping bag and take a bath. The thrilling stories of what happened during the day will be washed away with Chilean wine or Pisco around the campfire.

The next morning, it will be the first sunbeams that wake you up. After breakfast, you will climb the famous sand dunes of the Valley of the Moon to take your last canter, crossing Death Valley before unsaddling your horse at the beautiful adobe village of San Pedro de Atacama. It is here that you will spend your last night on this South American riding adventure; an evening and a week that you will never forget! Prepare yourself that from now on, Chile and the Atacama will always be on your mind.

Day 1: Airport Arrival - Chiu Chiu

Transfer from the airport to Chiu Chiu where you will spend the night.

Day 2: Chiu Chiu - Puente del Diablo (Riding Time: 6 hours)

After breakfast, visit the oldest church of Chile, the church of San Lucas of Chiu Chiu, build in 1600. Leave the village behind you and head towards the lake Laguna Inka Coya. From there, 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 you will set up camp.

Day 3: Puente del Diablo - Turi (Riding Time: 7 hours)

Ride along the river, Rio Salado, and follow a part of the pilgrim route of the Virgin Aiquina. The mighty volcanoes San Pedro, San Pablo, and Paniri are watching you from nearby. Continue along the canyon where you will probably come across herds of lamas and goats until you reach the vast plains of Turi (3,100 meters). Arrive at the foot of pucará Turi where you will set up camp.

Day 4: Turi - Caspana (Riding Time: 6 hours)

Have an early bath in the natural mineral baths of Turi that offers a comfortable swim. Ride and visit the Pucara of Turi, the largest fortress built by the Atacameño people. Continue your expedition to Caspana and visit this typical village; this village is surrounded by a fertile valley where you will see its many terraced crops and fruit trees. The village has only 400 inhabitants and the houses are built in liparita clay; you can visit the church built in 1641 which is declared a national monument. You will spend the night in camp.

Day 5: Caspana - Turcapo (Riding Time: 9 hours)

Leave the village of Caspana and climb the dizzying rocky landscape following an Inca trail until you reach a high plateau. Continue your ride in a southeasterly direction passing at the foot of the mountains of Cablor. After four hours of riding, arrive at the Chita mountain. Follow your path to the top of the plateau where you will ride for about four more hours with a breathtaking view of all the peaks and volcanoes surrounding you.

At the end of your day, descend a long slope that leads to the bottom of a huge and very rugged canyon with small salt flats. Visit one of the few locals who live in a natural cave and continue to ride in the canyon till you reach Turcapo. Set up camp in a corral of local villagers.

Day 6: Turcapo - Rio Grande (Riding Time: 8 hours)

Begin riding between the orchards of the local inhabitants then ride up a beautiful slope reaching a plateau full of wild donkeys. Continue through dramatic landscapes and come to a ravine where you can find large pools which is the ideal stop place for a refreshing bath. Cross this plateau through the Inca Trail and descend towards the Rio Grande where you will appreciate an oasis in the valley; it is here that a camp is set.

Day 7: Río Grande - Catarpe (Riding Time: 7 hours)

Leave Rio Grande climbing up the hill with your horses till you reach the pampa; from here, 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, spot the sparse vegetation of San Pedro de Atacama.

Continue the ride through San Bartolo to reach the place where the rivers Rio Salado and Rio Grande meet. Descending the ride, reach your camp place on the grounds of Catarpe.

Day 8: Catarpe - San Pedro de Atacama (Riding Time: 7 hours)

Follow the Rio Grande river until you reach the Valley of Death (Valle de la Muerte). Here, follow the path to Valle de la Luna. Sand dunes and fantastic surroundings are the ideal décors for your last gallop in the Atacama desert. Spend the night in a San Pedro Atacama guesthouse.

Day 9: Guesthouse - Airport Departure

After breakfast, your transfer will be waiting to take you back to the airport. End of Andes Riding's services.

Practical Information

  • Riding Level: This is suitable for intermediate to experienced riders. You should be confident on a horse at all paces. The pace is varied to include walk, trot, and canter.
  • The Riding: On this trail ride, you will spend 7 days on horseback, riding from one place to the other, and have an average of seven hours per day in the saddle.
  • Age: The minimum age is 12 years old, only allowed if accompanied by an adult.
  • Group Size: The groups comprise a minimum of 6 riders and a maximum of 12 riders.
  • Horses: Chilean Criollo
  • Guides: Professional and multilingual
  • Comfort: Basic during the camping and comfortable at the guesthouses.

Included excursions

  • West of the Andes Mountains
  • Atacama Desert
  • Church of San Francisco
  • San Pedro de Atacama.
  • Dunes, rocky mountains, canyons, rivers, salt lakes, and along geysers

Instructors

José Tomás Liberona

Location

Food

All meals are included, from dinner on the first day to breakfast on the last day. All meals will have carbohydrates, fruits, vegetables, proteins, etc.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

What's included

  • All riding days
  • Services of Spanish and English speaking guides and Chilean Huasos
  • Use of horses and tack, including saddlebags
  • 8 nights accommodation
  • Full board meals (From the first-day dinner to the last day breakfast)
  • Back-up vehicle for your personal luggage
  • Roundtrip airport transfers

What's not included

  • Insurance
  • Airfare
  • Alcoholic beverages and soft drinks (It is cheap in the area)
  • Personal expenses.
  • Optional tips

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Arrival by airplane

Please arrange your flight to arrive at El Loa Airport (CJC), all airport transfers are included.

Airport: El Loa Airport Airport transfer included: El Loa Airport No additional charges. You can request this in the next step.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 50% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 30 days before arrival.
9 days / 8 nights
from --

Availability

Arrival: Thursday November 5, 2020
Departure: Friday November 13, 2020

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