8-Day Atacama Desert Self-Drive Tour

Chile
Self-Drive
Partially Guided
8-Day Atacama Desert Self-Drive Tour

8-Day Atacama Desert Self-Drive Tour

Prices

From $850USD

Difficulty

Partially-Guided

Hotels

Active Travel is what we do

10Adventures knows Active and Adventure Travel because everything we do is focused on Active and Adventure Travel. We understand the needs of travellers and partner with excellent local guides who specialize in active, experiential and adventure travel.

Real humans are always a click or call away

Your time is important, and you shouldn't have to deal with automated bots or a confusing phone system. At 10Adventures you are assigned an Adventure Concierge, who is a real person who has one job: to support you during the planning & booking of your trip.

Customize or go private and get the perfect trip for you

Taking a holiday can be the most fun you have all year. At 10Adventures we believe that you should have the ability to personalize the trip, to get it just the way you want. Sometimes that's joining a group, but more often it's going private with your loved ones, and getting the dates and itinerary that's just right for you.

Rated 4.9 on Google Reviews
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Highlights

Spend 8 days driving through the arid Atacama Desert

Drive through the arid Atacama Desert.

Visit the historic Inca Fortress of Pukara de Titiconte.

Hike ancient Inca trails alongside llamas.

Spend 2 nights with a local Atacameño family in the community of Coyo.

The 8-Day Atacama Desert Self-Drive Tour offers a unique combination of two fascinating regions in Chile and Argentina, providing an insight into the way of life of its native people: The Atacameños on the Chilean side, and the Kolla Indians on the Argentine side.

Take in the natural beauty of the arid Atacama Desert and experience the rich history and culture of the people who call this remote region home, while driving across an unforgiving landscape that will certainly make for an unforgettable experience!

8-Day Atacama Desert Self-Drive Tour Itinerary

Day 1 Calama to San Pedro de Atacama

Begin your journey in the mining city of Calama, where you pick up your rental car right at the airport upon arrival. Your first ride takes you through the driest desert of the world to your hotel in the nearby desert oasis of San Pedro de Atacama. There are a lot of places of interest nearby; if you arrive early enough, we recommend visiting the Moon Valley at sunset.

From the highest dune of the valley, enjoy fantastic views over its bizarrely shaped desert rocks and observe how the last rays of sunshine bathe the valley in bright shades of orange, red and violet. Overnight at a hotel in San Pedro de Atacama.

Overnight Location
Hotel in San Pedro de Atacama
Distance
105km
Meals
Breakfast

Day 2 San Pedro de Atacama to Purmamarca

Today you leave San Pedro and continue your journey to Argentina. The Andes crossing via the Jama Pass takes you through spectacular landscape. The day ends in the colorful village of Purmamarca, which is mainly inhabited by the Kollas people, descendants of the Inca. Overnight at a hotel in Purmamarca.

Overnight Location
Hotel in Purmamarca
Distance
450km
Meals
Breakfast

Day 3 Purmamarca to Iruya

Continue north to the village of Iruya, situated in the midst of majestic rock faces. The Kolla people that live here have kept their traditions alive for more than 250 years until today, including costumes and houses. The village with its narrow-cobbled streets lined by brick, stone and straw buildings possesses its very own charm. Overnight at a hotel in Iruya.

Overnight Location
Hotel in Iruya
Distance
140km/87mi
Meals
Breakfast

Day 4 Iruya and the Inca fortress of Pukara de Titiconte

Enjoy Iruya’s relaxed atmosphere and take things slow today. We recommend visiting the old Inca fortress Pukara de Titiconte. Overnight at a hotel in Iruya.

Overnight Location
Hotel in Iruya
Distance
None
Meals
Breakfast

Day 5 Iruya to Tilcara

Get on the road again and drive through stunning Andes landscape to the historic village of Tilcara. A visit to one of the many handicraft markets is obligatory here! Overnight at a hotel in Tilcara.

Overnight Location
Hotel in Tilcara
Distance
115km
Meals
Breakfast

Day 6 Tilcara to Coyo

After crossing the Andes via the Jama Pass once again, you return to Chile. Continue on to San Pedro de Atacama, where a special experience awaits: Stay with a local family in the nearby Atacameño community of Coyo for two nights. Overnight at a family house in Coyo.

Overnight Location
Family-run accommodation in Coyo
Distance
480km
Meals
Breakfast

Day 7 Hike Ancient Inca Trails in Coyo

Today you have the opportunity to participate in a two-hour-hike with llamas on ancient Inca Trails. The Atacama Salt Lake is a worthwhile destination for a day trip as well. Overnight at a family house in Coyo.

Overnight Location
Family-run accommodation in Coyo
Distance
None
Meals
Breakfast

Day 8 Coyo to Calama

After breakfast, drive back to Calama Airport and drop off your rental car here. You have the option to continue your journey from here or to take a connecting flight back home via Santiago.

Overnight Location
None
Distance
90km
Meals
Breakfast

8-Day Atacama Desert Self-Drive Tour Price and Dates

This partial-guided tour is always run as a private tour for your group only and the prices depend on the type of the room you choose.

The prices below are per person:

  • Price per solo traveller: $1,425USD
  • Price per person sharing a double room: $850USD per person
  • Price per person staying in a single room (travelling with a group): on request
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Accommodation on 8-Day Atacama Desert Self-Drive Tour

This tour is based in hotels and family-run accommodations. Hotels on this trip are 3 and 4-star and offer modern conveniences that can make this trip more pleasant. Rooms may have fireplaces or access to amenities such as hot tubs, steam rooms, or private decks to lounge on.

In some cases, the accommodation listed below may need to be substituted for other comparable accommodations.

Single Rooms and Solo Travelers
Rooms are double occupancy. You can pay a supplemental fee to have a private room in a hotel where possible (please enquire for the pricing). Solo travellers may be required to pay a supplement.

Night 1

Hotel in San Pedro de Atacama

Stay in a simple, but comfortable and friendly hotel in San Pedro de Atacama to explore the beautiful desert.

Night 2

Hotel in Purmamarca

Relax in the picturesque town of Purmamarca, which is situated at 2,324m and surrounded by colourful mountain scenery.

Night 3-4

Hotel in Iruya

Spend time at a charming hotel in Iruya, a small town in northwest Argentina that is surrounded by mountains.

Night 5

Hotel in Tilcara

Enjoy your evening in a lovely hotel in the Argentine city of Tilcara, which is surrounded by a stunning desert landscape.

Night 6-7

Family-run accommodation in Coyo

Spend several nights with a local family in the Atacameño community of Coyo, learning about their culture, customs, and daily life.

Hotels on Standard Tour

What’s Included in the 8-Day Atacama Desert Self-Drive Tour?

Meals

7 breakfasts are included in the tour.

Accommodations

Accommodations for 7 nights are included. Accommodations before and after the tour in Calama are not included but can be added as a supplement.

Transportation during the Tour

7 Days of vehicle rentals are included on the tour, unlimited mileage, and programmed GPS.

Also Included

  • Car Rental:
    • Pickup 4WD vehicle of category J3 (Toyota HiLuxe or similar)
    • Airport charge
    • Unlimited mileage
    • Second driver
  • Partial guide services

Not included

  • Flights to and from Calama
  • Meals, drinks, or snacks not previously mentioned

Frequenty Asked Questions about 8-Day Atacama Desert Self-Drive Tour

How hard is the 8-Day Atacama Desert Self-Drive Tour?

We rate this tour as a 2/5. There are no strenuous activities involved in this tour, however, you should be comfortable with driving for numerous hours almost daily and spend time on your feet while sightseeing.

Do I need a visa to travel to Chile?

Check with your local country about visa requirements. You could also try this website, though you should verify with your government.

Are meals included on the 8-Day Atacama Desert Self-Drive Tour?

7 breakfasts are included.

Is the vehicle insurance included?

Yes, vehicle rental includes Collision Damage Waiver, however, there is a 240 USD deductible and some exceptions apply. Please enquire for more info.

Do I need insurance?

Yes, it is mandatory to have health and medical insurance to join this trip, and your insurance should cover hiking. Get your travel insurance.

How do I get to Calama to start this tour?

Fly into El Loa Airport (CJC), which can be reached from the airport in Santiago de Chile (SCL).

Is the 8-Day Atacama Desert Self-Drive Tour in English?

This tour is partially-guided, therefore guide services are only included at certain times. When driving, you will be provided with a GPS app with trek coordinates in English.

Where does the 8-Day Atacama Desert Self-Drive Tour end?

The tour ends where it began in Calama.

Do I need special vaccines to travel to Chile?

Check with your family doctor.

Are there any travel restrictions for Chile?

Please check with your local government about travel restrictions before you book your tour. This map from the US Department of State provides an overview of the current status in countries around the globe. The UK‘s Foreign Office and Government of Canada also provide advice on foreign travel. Note that the travel advice may change depending on your nationality.

In Andes Nativa, their name says it all. Their highest priority are authentic travel experiences in Chile, where the mighty Andes Mountains are a steady companion. NATIVA represents the pristine and fragile, worthy of protection.

Learn More

Prices

From $850USD

Difficulty

Partially-Guided

Hotels

Active Travel is what we do

10Adventures knows Active and Adventure Travel because everything we do is focused on Active and Adventure Travel. We understand the needs of travellers and partner with excellent local guides who specialize in active, experiential and adventure travel.

Real humans are always a click or call away

Your time is important, and you shouldn't have to deal with automated bots or a confusing phone system. At 10Adventures you are assigned an Adventure Concierge, who is a real person who has one job: to support you during the planning & booking of your trip.

Customize or go private and get the perfect trip for you

Taking a holiday can be the most fun you have all year. At 10Adventures we believe that you should have the ability to personalize the trip, to get it just the way you want. Sometimes that's joining a group, but more often it's going private with your loved ones, and getting the dates and itinerary that's just right for you.

Rated 4.9 on Google Reviews
Start Your Booking

What travellers say

When can I do this tour?

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Tour Difficulty

We rate this tour as a 2/5. There are no strenuous activities involved in this tour, however, you should be comfortable with driving for numerous hours almost daily and spend time on your feet while sightseeing.


Read about our scale for Tour Difficulty Ratings.

Get in touch

+1 (587) 327-9828

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