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Cumbres Hotel - San Pedro de Atacama 2-Night Itinerary

Far from being an arid and desolate wilderness, the Atacama Desert is teeming with life. Timeless traditions linger among ancient cultures offering modern travelers the warmest of welcomes, while lush green oases sustain an astounding diversity of life here in the world’s driest desert.

To make your travel to this otherworldly region easy, from the moment you arrive in Chile to the moment you leave, you’ll be privately guided by Surtrek representatives on this customizable 3-Day/2-Night Atacama tour based at the luxury Cumbres Atacama Hotel.

Once at the lodge, you’ll find its more than 15 different excursions that will allow you to fully experience the magic of Atacama.

Led by your guide, you can find yourself mountain biking or horseback riding through the ethereal landscape of Atacama’s Moon Valley, floating effortlessly on a Dead-Sea-like salt lake in the middle of the desert, sighting entire flocks of vibrantly colored pink flamingos feeding in a high-Andes lagoon, and so much more.

Visit San Pedro de Atacama with Surtrek and explore its singular landscapes of vast salt flats, active volcanic geysers and intense blue lagoons unlike anywhere else on earth.

Reviews

“We had a great time in the jungle. Our experience was amazing. Can’t wait to tell you more about it.”Michael McLane

Highlights

Atacama Desert, Moon Valley Exploring, Horseback Riding, Death Valley Mountain Biking, Archaeological Tour

Itinerary at a Glance

Day 1: San Pedro de Atacama Arrival – Hotel Cumbres – Moon Valley Mountain Biking
Day 2: Altiplano Lagoons (full-day overland expedition)
Day 3: Atacama Salt Flat & Floating in Cejar Lake – Departure
Itinerary Map

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1
San Pedro de Atacama Arrival – Hotel Cumbres – Moon Valley Mountain Biking

8:30 AM (approx.): Santiago de Chile Flight to Calama, Chile – If just arriving in Chile on an international flight and planning to proceed immediately on to Atacama, travelers typically make their connection at the Santiago International Airport (Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport [SCL]), which will fly onward to the airport in Calama Chile (CJC), the closest airstrip to San Pedro de Atacama.

Otherwise, if you’re already in Chile and continuing your tour of the country, Surtrek representatives will privately drive you from your hotel to the airport, where they will assist you with your luggage and help you with checking in for your two-hour flight to the Calama.

In either case, plan on arriving and checking in at the airport at least one hour before your 2-hour morning flight to Calama.

1:00 PM (approx.): Departure for the San Pedro Oasis & the Cumbres Atacama Lodge – Upon landing at the Calama airport, uniformed Hotel Cumbres guides and staff will be there to welcome you in the luggage claim area. As they offer you a choice of refreshing juices, you’ll find the service throughout to be warm, considerate, friendly and refreshingly unstuffy.

You will then pass through the oasis village of San Pedro de Atacama and continue for about a mile to the Hotel Cumbres Atacama. Nestled behind an ancient adobe wall, you could easily pass by and not realize that a contemporary lodge lies within. When entering the complex, though, you’ll see the private patios, as well as tall trees providing natural shade, and open-air communal areas for enjoying the world’s clearest skies. Undoubtedly, your first impression will be that Hotel Cumbres is the perfect place to enjoy the very best of the Atacama.

2:30 PM (approx.): Arriving at the Cumbres Atacama Hotel – Entering the lodge, you will be led to your room, where you will have time to unpack, get settled in, shower and relax. No matter which of the two categories of guest quarters you choose (Superior Double or the Junior Suite), each provides marvelous dark-wood floors, king-sized beds fitted with crisp white linens, and an ottoman lounging area, which all complement the rustic exteriors of adobe, stone, wood, and thatched roofs.

4:00 PM (approx.): Moon Valley Mountain Biking – Gear up for this late-afternoon mountain biking expedition within a canyon of the Salt Mountain Range, which is a rugged expanse of natural stone and sand sculptures that were hewn from an ancient lake, millions of years ago.

These “salt mountains” provide a privileged perch from which to soak up views of the valley and beyond, offering an unbeatable introduction to this exceptional region.

After peddling across the San Pedro River bridge and reaching the San Isidro Chapel, we’ll arrive at the wind-sculpted Moon Valley just in time for sunset, as the light casts a magical glow over the rough, rocky land all around you. Relish the kaleidoscope of colors as the sun dips lower and lower, leaving you with an awe-inspiring image you won’t soon forget.

5:30 PM: Return to the Lodge – Making our way back to the lodge, you’ll have time to dust yourself off, shower, rest up and relax before dinner.

7:00 PM: Welcome Dinner – Tonight, your welcome dinner will be served at the lodge’s Kunza Restaurant. Before dining, on your table you’ll find a welcome pot of chachacoma tea – a local remedy to ease your adjustment to the Altiplano’ high altitude. Shortly after, you’ll be served a sophisticated International or Andean fare, whether quinoa tabbouleh, empanadas, or chupe de mariscos (a seafood stew).

8:30 PM: Briefing on the Next Day’s activities – Later this same evening you’ll meet with your guide will discuss your excursions planned for the next day. In this briefing, your guide will offer useful tips on what to bring, what to wear, and what you can expect so that you’re fully prepared when you head out from the lodge to the Altiplano Lagoons in the morning.

9:00 PM: Socializing / Relaxing / Turning in for the Night – After a long and hectic first day, you may wish to sit across from one of the lodge’s outdoor lounge areas to sip a post-dinner drink under the stars. The lounge/bar offers a range of excellent Chilean wines, spirits and a Pisco sour made with locally grown leaves of the Rica-rica plant. 

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Lunch - Dinner
Day 2
Altiplano Lagoons (full-day overland expedition)

7:00 AM: Buffet Breakfast – For your first desert sunrise, sit down to a sumptuous buffet breakfast featuring a wide variety of dishes, in addition to Chilean specialties and fresh fruit juices – and of course coffee.

8:00 AM: Altiplano Lagoons – Starting out on this full-day tour, we’ll drive for an hour and a half, ascending the vast and barren Altiplano high plateau, suspended at 14,763 feet. (4,500m) above sea level. Once arriving, you’ll soak in the stunning scenery of Miscanti and Miniques Lakes, two natural jewels of northern Chile.

Split from a single body of water by volcanic lava flow, the two brackish-water lakes lie in the shadows of the mighty Miniques Volcano and are at the foot of the towering Cerro Miscanti Mountain. As such, these two lagunas provide a magical contrast, with their deep blue surfaces perfectly reflecting the white, snowcapped mountains that surround them.

Located in the breathtakingly beautiful Los Flamencos National Reserve, these lagoons were witnesses to the first human settlements in the area – some 6,000 years ago! Today, this mix of highland deserts, mountains, and ice is the ideal site for not only photography but also wildlife watching; as you’ll see in the lakes’ sparkling waters and white shores playing host to an array of intriguing wildlife.

The flamingos here are the most eye-catching of all, their pink silhouettes contrasting with the blue of the lagoons, though there are many other bird species here, including the Horned Coot, Baird’s Sandpiper, Puna Plover, and Crested Duck, as well as foxes, llama-like vicunas and alpacas, and ostrich-like ñandus.

Finding yourself immersed in this postcard-perfect valley surrounded by arresting mountainous relief, you’ll see for yourself how the amazing scenic beauty of the heart-shaped Miscanti Lake and the Miñiques Lagoon are true gifts of nature.

12:00 PM: Altiplano Picnic Lunch – At noon, our Cumbres Atacama picnic experience will take advantage of local produce, filling the menu with innovative twists on northern Chilean cuisine. With the potential for cool days in the Altiplano Lagoons’ high-altitude location, the lodge’s expert chefs will have created picnic meals that are hearty and filling, complementing local traditions with options that include fresh, colorful salads; Peruvian corn, quinoa and a range of appetizing meat or vegetarian mains.

6:00 PM: Return to the Lodge / Free Time – Returning to the hotel after our full-day Altiplano excursion, you’ll have time to shower, rest up and relax before dinner.

7:30 PM: Gourmet Farewell Dinner – The lodge will mark your last evening at the hotel by pampering you with Chilean dishes. Alternatively, select one of the carefully preparing contemporary international plates that use the wild choices of fresh ingredients that the Atacama region has in store. In either case, the lodge’s will offer exceptional service for your ultimate farewell indulgence.

8:30 PM: Briefing on the Next Day’s activities – Your guide will again outline the details of tomorrow’s activities, explaining the sites you’ll visit, the wildlife you might see, as well as more details on the history and geography of the Atacama Desert.

As you will be leaving the next day, your guide will also confirm your exact pick-up time, reconfirm your flight, tell you what to expect at the airport, inform you how to pay your bar tab, and provide other useful information.

9:00 PM: Socializing & Relaxing / Turning in for the Night – As with every afternoon and evening, guests have the run of a free open bar, including a selection of eminently sippable Chilean wines. Softly lit, decorated with artwork by local artisans, and dotted with comfy couches and overstuffed chairs, the indoor bar is just the place to curl up in as you work your way through the wine list and mingle with other international travelers.

Then too, as Chile’s star-filled sky serves as a ceiling for the Cumbres outdoor bar, you can always engage in some stargazing of the world’s clearest skies …with a glass of wine in hand.

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 3
Atacama Salt Flat & Floating in Cejar Lake – Departure

6:30 AM: Buffet Breakfast & Packing up – For your final breakfast at Cumbres Atacama, join everyone in the dining room and order up some eggs any way you like …even benedict- or omelet-style with your choice of filling. In addition to international breakfast standards like pancakes and French toast, Chilean specialties will also be in the buffet.

Following breakfast, you’ll have time to pack your luggage and take a good last look around the lodge.

8:00 AM: Atacama Salt Flat & Floating in Cejar Lake – For your final Cumbres’ excursion, we’ll drive across the Salar de Atacama, a 1,000 square mile salt lake that’s an unbeatable sight and the center-stage of surprise.

Out in the middle of the salt flats, you’ll find one of these wonders: The Cejar Lagoon, a turquoise jewel whose waters are even saltier than the Dead Sea. This means that a genuine floatation experience is all too easy. The high concentration of salt in this lagoon allows you to float effortlessly on the water, with the high salt content buoying you up as you relax. So simply lie back and take in the gorgeous scenery that fills the horizon. And despite being located at over 6,500 feet (2,000 m) above sea level, you’ll be surprised by the lake’s pleasant, almost warm waters.

Adding even more to the dreamlike character of this aquamarine lake in the middle of the world’s driest desert are the occasional pink flamingos that feed here. All of this combines into a color-filled spectacle for the eyes …an unforgettable experience.

12:00 PM: Return to the Lodge / Free Time – After returning to the Cumbres Atacama after a morning on the salt flat, why not complete the revitalization of your spirits, availing yourself of the experienced hands of the Oxygen Spa’s expert masseuse?

1:30 PM: Lunch – For your farewell lunch, you’ll have the choice of dining indoors or enjoying a leisurely meal by the pools for a lunch paired with a chilled glass of Chilean white wine as the sun warms your body.

3:00 PM: Drive to the Calama Airport – After lunch, while being driven back to the airport in Calama, enjoy your last look back at the spectacular Atacama Desert, a unique region of inspiring natural wonders.

4:30 PM: Departing Flight to Santiago de Chile – Reaching the Calama airport, Hotel Cumbres Atacama staff will be on hand to help you with your luggage, get your boarding pass, and help you check in. At the airport’s security gate, your guide and Cumbres staff will say goodbye, truly hoping that you enjoyed your stay and your Atacama travel experience.

If you’re like most travelers to Atacama, your departing flight will take you back to the city of Santiago, the capital of Chile, where you will be met by Surtrek representatives if planning to continue your tour in the country (otherwise, you’ll be able to easily catch your connecting flight home or onward). 

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Breakfast - Lunch

Prices

2020 - Price per person
RoomDoubleSingle
3 DaysUS$ 1,011 PPUS$ 1,411 PP
*Price per person based upon double occupancy.
*PP (per person)
Included in the price:
  • A welcome drink
  • Accommodations in your selected guest room with a terrace
  • Breakfast buffets at the Kunza Restaurant
  • Lunch and dinner daily (including the entree, main course, and dessert)
  • Drinking water in your room
  • Free Wi-Fi in common areas
  • 4 single-serve coffee containers per stay
  • Access to the spa, including use of the pool, the Jacuzzis and saunas (but not including massages and treatments)
  • One full-day excursion and two half-day excursions per day
  • Transfers from and to the airport in Calama
  • Transfers to and from the town of San Pedro de Atacama at regular service times set by the hotel
  • Transfers to and from the Calama airport (shared service)
  • Open Bar from 11:00 a.m. to 11 p.m. (except for premium liquors
Not included in the price:
  • International and domestic flights
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Travel and medical insurance (highly recommended)
  • Personal expenses
  • Telephone calls
  • Premium alcoholic drinks
  • Massages and treatments in the spa

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“We booked our Galapagos/Peru trip through Surtrek and are very glad that we did.”A. Arima