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Flora and Fauna

The Altiplano is an enormous plateau located at 4.000 meters above sea level. It is an environment where we can see a lot of prairies crossed by deep ravines, salt flats and big amounts of lava from ancient eruptions. Its Climate is characterized by strong temperature fluctuations, lack of rain and the atmosphere here is dazzling and transparent. Nature offers us in this place something different and shows us species adapted to difficult climatic conditions.

Machuca /Río Grande (Big River)

Duration: 7 to 9 hours (5 to 7 hours walking)
Difficulty: Medium +
This exploration is recommendable for those who want to go up volcanoes because it is useful for acclimation. This hiking starts at 4.000 meters above sea level and goes on using Peñaliri River bottom at an average altitude of 3.600 meters above sea level and because of this altitude we will be able to see llamas and characteristic birds of this zone. We will have lunch in the abandoned Village of Peñaliri and then we will visit the abandoned terraces of Peñaliri watching "cactáceas" and we will reach the last part of the Salty Mountain Chain. This exploration finishes in Río Grande (Big River) which is a village where we can see garlic and Altiplanic corn crops as well as other vegetables.

Guatín /Puritama

Duration: Duration: 2.5 to 3.5 hours walking plus 1 hour by car
Difficulty: Medium
It is recommendable to carry out this exploration during the morning due to the high temperatures of the afternoon. We will walk up through the Guatin Ravine which is covered with ignimbrite rocks, which is a proof of the ancient and intense volcanic activity. We will walk by "Colas de zorro" (pampas grass) which grow by the rivers. We will also gaze at birds and the sound of the water we will be with us all the time. In Puritama Hot Springs we will enjoy this hot water which is splendid to get ready to go up volcanoes.

Guatin/Gatchi

Duration: 2.5 to 3.5 hours walking plus 1 hour by car
Difficulty: Medium
We will set off from the hotel by car to the North East. In the Guatin Valley we can see the confluence of two rivers: Puritama River (Hot Water River) and Purifica (cold water river). Both rivers create a new one, Vilama River, which creates the unique ecosystem of The Guatin Ravine through which we will walk. Here we will be able to see the impressive cactus called "cardones" and a lot of vegetation. Besides we will see rocky routes and little waterfalls which make this exploration a real adventure

Quebrada del Diablo (Devil Ravine) and Vilama

Duration: 2.5 to 3.5 hours
Difficulty: Medium
We set off from the hotel to Quebrada Del Diablo (Devil ravine), located in The Salty Mountain Chain. We will walk on a flat route in a dried river with gypsum formations. Then we will gradually go up to reach a point from which we will have a breathtaking view of the volcanoes. We will go on walking through an ancient caravan route where we will see some petroglyphs which show the old commercial activity of this zone. We will finish this hiking watching an historical place known as "Vilama". Then we return to the hotel by car.

Hiking-Kari 

Duration: 1.5 to 2.5 hours and 40 minutes by car
Difficulty: easy +
This hiking can be done both in the morning and afternoon. We set off form the hotel by car to Kari viewpoint located at 2.550 meters above sea level. We will see a strange phenomenon in which water, wind and temperature joined to create this unique ravine in the Salty Mountain Chain. We will walk through clay and gypsum dried rivers and then we will go on walking through routes which look like a maze discovering different shapes everywhere.

Hiking-Cornisas

Duration: 2.5 to 3.5 hours
Difficulty: easy
This hiking can be done both in the morning and afternoon. We set off from the hotel by car using the old route which connected San Pedro de Atacama and Calama City until a tunnel where we can see breathtaking sight of the volcanoes. This activity will remain at 2.600 meters above sea level. Then we will go down dunes of Valle de la Muerte (Death Valley), being this an unforgettable experience.

Petroglyphs

Duration: 3 to 4 hours
Difficulty: easy
Rock art is expressed in many ways and the humans have tried to record their experiences, common elements, symbols and signs. Their description and understanding through science – which is archeology – help us to understand the human being.
Petroglyphs: signs and drawings on rocks made mainly by hand using a hard tool. These places - which now seem to be in the middle of nowhere – take us to a past where caravans rested and left posts and from which there are several theories.

Museo Padre Le Paige (Padre Le Paige Museum) and Pukará de Quitor (Quitor Fort)

Duration: 3 to 4 hours
Difficulty: easy
It is important to have an idea about what happened in this place during the occupation. The past is an important factor in order to understand culture and idiosyncrasy of any culture. Visiting the museum will help us to understand this process and we will also be able to see elements still present in this culture.

Birds Gazing

There are several places where we can gaze at birds in this zone such as: Quebrada de Guatín (Guatín Ravine), Salar de Atacama (Atacama Salt Flat), Machuca Village and Tara and Río Putana Lagoons. We can see a wide variety of birds depending on the ground and vegetation. For example, in the salt flats we can see Chilean flamingos – Andean and James – as well as Caití flamingos, chorlo de la Puna (Puna chorlo) and playeros. In the Altiplanic wetlands we can see guayatas, taguas and different kinds of ducks. Migratory cycles, feeding conditions, temperature, altitude, etc. are determinant factors to be able to gaze at this species.

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