Desert oases and Andes

Desert oases and the Andes

5 days
Starting point:


The tour starts in Arica, Chile’s northernmost city (2,085 Km North of Santiago). Arica can be reached by public transport from Santiago (Chile), La Paz (Bolivia) and from Peru.

Tour description

Day 1 - Arica city tour, boat ride to Humboldt penguins and sea lions

Arica – Chile’s northernmost city is a green oasis in the middle of the Atacama Desert located on the Pacific coast. A city tour takes us to the famous Eifel cathedral and to Arica’s highest point and city landmark, the Morro. In the evening we visit Arica’s sea lion and penguin colonies during a boat tour. The boat offers a good view on the cute Humboldt penguins and sea lions. The evening ends with a cozy sunset picnic on deck. Overnight in Hotel Bahía Arica, directly on the Pacific coast.

Tag 2 – Codpa: crossing Atacama up to Codpa, colonial churches Guaņanave and Guaņacagua, hike to petroglyphs

We leave Arica and drive the Panamericana crossing Atacama’s desertic landscapes, passing Tutelares - sculptures of Andean gods - and cacti called candelabro which can grow up to 5 m, in order to finally reach the oasis Codpa. In the middle of the driest desert in the world we suddenly find a place full of palm trees and blossoming cactus and fruit trees - the oasis Codpa, located at 2,050 m altitude. We drive along the green valley populated by farmers who live in their colorful houses until we reach the oasis Guañanave and Guañacagua. The colonial churches in these two villages were built in Arequipa style and belong to the finest buildings of this kind. After a typical lunch we walk in the shade of palm and fruit trees to petroglyphs, stone paintings dating back to precolumbian times. Overnight in Hosteria Codpa. This tour is well suitable to get acclimatized with the altitude before starting tours in the altiplano area.

Day 3 - Putre: Submontane Andean villages of Timar, Murmuntani, Chapiquina, Pachama, Belén, Zapahuira, Socoroma

The tour through the villages of the submontane Andes tells us the story of the Altiplano region and that of the residents of the highlands, the Aymara. All settlements here have been errected during the precolumbian era with only one exception - Belén. In the villages of the submontane Andes nothing seems to have changed since that time. The Aymara villagers farm their terrace fields on the Andean hillsides in the same way as their ancestors did 100 years ago, they build houses in the traditional way using Adobe and still roundup their lamas and alpacas in Corale. Centuries old charming colonial churches still testify the conquest of the Spaniards, who in the 16th Century entered the so-called "pueblos de Indios". Today, more than 60 of these churches are still around, each of them spraying its own charm. During the tour we visit one tenth of them. Apart from visiting this Andean villages we learn more about the diversity of flora and fauna of the submontane Andes. Overnight in the Chakana Mountain Lodge in Putre, a typical Andean village between the submontane Andes and Altiplano. Starting point for excursions to Lauca National Park.

Day 4 - Putre: Lauca National Park, hike to Laguna Cotacotani and to Pariancota’s Bofedale

The Lauca National Park is famous for his perfectly shaped twin volcanoes and for Lake Chungará, the highest lake in the world situated at 4,570 m altitude. We undertake 2 hikes to the Cotacotani lagoons with their breathtaking volcanic scenery over the 6,000 m high peaks of Parinacota and Pomerape. Another highlight is the Altiplano village of Parinacota situated at 4,400 m altitude. We visit the village and walk along Parinacota’s Bofedal, the humid pasture land used for alpacas and lamas. We also get aquainted with the rich avifauna of Lauca Park. Chances are good during the hikes to see some of the local wildlife like guanacos, vicuñas, vizcachas, flamingos and suri, an oestrich species. Overnight in Chakana Mountain Lodge in Chakana Putre.

Day 5 - Return to Arica

After a good breakfast we leave the highlands and drive back to the seaside to Arica.

Services included

  • Local English speaking guide
  • All transfers
  • 4 x accommodation in double room in Arica, Codpa, Putre
  • Lunch boxes days 3 and 4
  • Entrance fees
  • Boat tour in Arica
  • Price

    4 persons:
    489 EUR p. P.
    3 persons:
    578 EUR p. P.
    2 persons:
    690 EUR p. P.
    1 person:
    999 EUR p. P.

Important Notes

  • Single supplement 75 euros
  • On request sit-in bookings possible


Desert figures of the Atacama Here are growing the Kandelaber-cactuses, between  2,200m and 2,800m, in the Atacama Aymara church in North ChilePutre and the 5,800m high mountain TaapacaAlpacas at the Lauca national parkhiking at the Lauca national park, seeing the Parinacota and Pomerape