Northwest Argentina and Atacama Overland
Northwest Argentina and Atacama Overland

Northwest Argentina and Atacama Overland

12 days

Child walking near Laguna AltiplanicasStunning views near Lagunas AltiplanicasLaguna ChaxaRocky beach at Laguna ChaxaMoon ValleyDeath valley with Andean mountains behindSan Pedro de AtacamaIglesia San PedroHornocalValle OcumazoSalinas GrandesConito Arita

Revel in the magnificent sights of Northwest Argentina and Chile

High in the Andes on the border of northwest Argentina and Chile lies a treasure trove of incredible sights that few visitors ever get to see. On the Northwest Argentina and Atacama Overland Tour, you’ll embark on a journey through otherworldly landscapes, remote villages, soaring volcanos, and dramatic valleys, admiring the natural beauty of the region and immersing yourself in the local culture.

Explore the volcanoes and salt flats of Tolar Grande, the villages and farms of Purmamarca, and the quaint town of San Pedro de Atacama. Watch awe-inspiring sunrises overlooking the bubbling Geyser del Tatio and sunsets over red rock valleys. By taking part in homestays, you'll get to participate in a local way of life that has remained unchanged for generations in this vast and truly remote corner of the world. Get an authentic glimpse of this magical area on the Northwest Argentina and Atacama Overland Tour!

Highlights of the Northwest Argentina and Atacama Overland

Witness bizarre landscapes at Ojos del Mar and vast salt flats at Salinas Grande.
Stay in picturesque villages in Purmamarca and get involved in community activities.
See incredible views of the unique geology of Moon Valley and Death Valley.
Watch the sunrise over the Andes as the Geyser del Taito erupts.

Prices

From $1,495USD
12 days
Difficulty
Partially Guided
Hotels, Guesthouses, Homestays
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Northwest Argentina and Atacama Overland

Northwest Argentina and Atacama Overland Tour Itinerary

Day 1 Arrival in Salta

Begin your tour in Salta, a major city in mountainous northwest Argentina. Upon your arrival, a driver will greet you and transfer you to your hotel.

Be sure to go out and see the sights of Salta, including its well-preserved colonial architecture and the cable car to San Bernardo Hill that offers great views.
Overnight Location: Hotel in Salta
Meals: None

Day 2 Follow the Train to the Clouds to Solar Grande

After breakfast, you'll make the long journey from Salta to Tolar Grande on Route 51, with a few stops along the way. This road follows the engineering marvel of the “Train to the Clouds” through the mountains, with awesome views all around.

Finally, you reach the tiny town of Tolar Grande just in time to watch the sunset from 3500 metres high.
Overnight Location: Homestay in Tolar Grande
Meals: Breakfast

Day 3 Excursion to Ojos del Mar

Today you’ll begin by exploring Ojos del Mar. Ojos del Mar is a stunning natural site said to resemble Mars. Home to 3.5 billion-year-old stromatolites, this remote lunar landscape has remained unchanged for as long as life has existed on Earth.

During this day trip, you'll also visit El Arenal, a viewpoint above seven volcanoes, and the Arizaro Salt Flat with its iconic volcano-shaped formation.
Overnight Location: Homestay in Tolar Grande
Meals: Breakfast

Day 4 Trip to Salinas Grandes Salt Flats

Passing wild llamas and vicunas on the way, you'll start today by driving to the famous Salinas Grandes salt flats, an amazing sight in the desert. Then it's onwards to a small Andean community, where you overnight in a local homestay.

Tonight, you’ll share dinner with the families and experience their traditional cuisine.
Overnight Location: Homestay in Salinas Grande
Meals: Breakfast, dinner

Day 5 Transfer to Purmamarca

In the morning, you have the opportunity to take part in the village's daily activities, like wool weaving. After lunch, say farewell to the families and continue to Purmamarca, a small village at the base of the striking Seven Colour Hills. Get a glimpse into life at this high altitude of 4100 metres as you stay overnight.
Overnight Location: Hotel in Purmamarca
Meals: Breakfast, lunch

Day 6 Humahuacas Gorge and the Hidden Valley

From Purmamarca, your driver takes you through the colourful Humahuacas Gorge and then stops to visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Pucara de Tilcara, a pre-Inca fortification.

Then, it's onwards to Ocumazo, a tiny village tucked away in the Hidden Valley, to spend a night with a local family.
Overnight Location: Homestay in Ocumazo
Meals: Breakfast, dinner

Day 7 Experience Village Life in Ocumazo

Today, you get a great cultural immersion in Ocumazo by taking part in this pastoral way of life, with activities like cheesemaking, cooking workshops, and guided walks. You’ll see how the locals have grown their own Andean crops and stayed self-sufficient.

After lunch, you continue to the pink-hued Hornocal Mountains and then back to Purmamarca for the night.
Overnight Location: Hotel in Purmamarca
Meals: Breakfast, lunch

Day 8 Transfer to San Pedro de Atacama

It's a beautiful journey by bus from Purmamarca to San Pedro de Atacama, crossing the border into Chile. This remote mountain town in the Atacama Desert boasts spectacular natural scenery, with red, yellow, orange, and purple hills, vast canyons, and jagged peaks.

Check into your hotel and relax for the night.
Overnight Location: Hotel in San Pedro de Atacama
Meals: Breakfast

Day 9 Visit Moon Valley and Death Valley

You have the morning free to explore the quaint town of San Pedro de Atacama. In the afternoon, a guide will take you to the incredible sites of Moon Valley and Death Valley. Enjoy the awe-inspiring huge canyons in the Atacama Desert with amazing rock formations and a wide-open horizon that goes on forever.
Overnight Location: Hotel in San Pedro de Atacama
Meals: Breakfast

Day 10 Lagunas Altiplanicas

Enjoy a full-day excursion to see the wonders of the Lagunas Altiplanicas, a wildlife sanctuary known for its famous red rocks and vast blue lagoons. See wild flamingos at the Chaxa Lagoon and visit the charming village of Toconao, whose historical sites and architecture are national monuments.
Overnight Location: Hotel in San Pedro de Atacama
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 11 Geiser del Tatio

Your guide will pick you up very early today to travel to one of the highest geothermal fields in the world, so dress warmly and bring layers. Geyser del Tatio has more than 70 natural geysers, the beauty of which is enhanced at sunrise. After sunrise, you'll have breakfast and continue back to San Pedro de Atacama for your last night.
Overnight Location: Hotel in San Pedro de Atacama
Meals: Breakfast

Day 12 Transfer to Calama Airport

Your incredible journey through the Northwest of Argentina and Chile comes to an end today. A driver will transfer you to Airport El Loa Calama in Calama for your departure flight from Chile.
Overnight Location: None
Meals: Breakfast

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Northwest Argentina and Atacama Overland Tour Price and Dates

This partially-guided sightseeing tour to the Northwest Andes of Argentina and Chile is run as a private tour and the price depends on the number of people in your group.

The best time to travel to the northwest Andes is from March to December during the southern hemisphere’s spring and summer. This tour is available from September to April.

Private Partially-Guided Northwest Argentina and Atacama Overland Tour

Have your own private tour with just your group! Please note, that standard rooms are double/twin and groups of odd numbers can opt out to stay in a triple room or pay a single supplement of $386 USD to add a single room.

Prices below are per person:

  • Solo travellers: $2,995 USD
  • Groups of 2: $2,150 USD per person
  • Groups of 3: $1,595 USD per person
  • Groups of 4: $1,550 USD per person
  • Groups of 5+: $1,495 USD per person
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Accommodation on the Northwest Argentina and Atacama Overland Tour

This tour provides 7 nights’ accommodation in standard hotels and 4 nights at local homestays in remote villages.

Hotels on this trip are 3- and 4-star and offer modern conveniences that can make this trip more pleasant.

The homestay portion of this trip provides a private room with shared bathroom facilities. Homestays are typically very rustic with basic amenities.

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

Single Rooms and Solo Travellers
Rooms are double occupancy and single travellers will pay a supplement. You can pay a supplement of $386 USD to have a private room in a hotel where possible.

Hotels on Standard Tour

Hotel de Antiguo Convento in Salta ★★★

Antiguo Convento is a charming boutique hotel in Salta with an outdoor swimming pool right in the centre of town.

Night 2-3

Homestay in Tolar Grande

Enjoy a rustic homestay in the remote village of Tolar Grande, population 150.

Night 4

Homestay in Salinas Grande

Stay in a self-sufficient village high in the Andes and see their traditional way of life.

El Refugio de Coquena in Purmamarca ★★★

This gorgeous cabana-style hotel is surrounded by pink-hued mountains and has an outdoor pool.

Night 6

Homestay in Ocumazo Village

Experience life in a traditional Andean village homestay tucked away in the Hidden Valley.

El Refugio de Coquena in Purmamarca ★★★

This gorgeous cabana-style hotel is surrounded by pink-hued mountains and has an outdoor pool.

La Casa de Don Tomas in San Pedro de Atacama ★★★★

La Casa de Don Tomas is a clean and modern hotel with a nice dining room, beautiful gardens, and a lovely pool.

What’s included in the Northwest Argentina and Atacama Overland Tour?

Meals

11 breakfasts, 2 lunches, and 2 dinners are included.

Accommodations

This tour provides 7 nights’ accommodation in standard hotels and 4 nights at local homestays in remote villages.

Transportation during the Tour

Airport transfers for this tour are included, as well as six days of private transportation as mentioned in the itinerary. Bus tickets between Purmamarca and San Pedro de Atacama are included.

Also Included

  • Excursions in San Pedro de Atacama (Moon Valley and Death Valley, Lagunas Altiplanicas, and Geyser del Taito)
  • Entrance fees to parks and reserves in Chile
  • Shared services with English-speaking guide on day 9, 10 and 11
  • Contribution to community fund

Not included

  • Flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Visas if required
  • Meals, drinks, or snacks not previously mentioned
  • Gratuities for tour guides and other staff if desired
  • Guide services, except for days 9-11

Optional Extras

  • Sandboarding experience in Tolar Grande
  • Horseback riding in Ocumazo
  • Single occupancy upgrades
  • Upgrade homestay to hostel

Frequently Asked Questions about Northwest Argentina and Atacama Overland

Since 2004 Nunatak has been organizing trips all over Patagonia Chilena and Argentina for travellers. They are a locally owned group with a spirit of adventure and nature passionate about helping travellers get their best experience in wild Patagonia.
They are an Artisan Travel Agency, based in Puerto Natales, with a focus on immersive local experiences. Experts designing and operating group tours all over Patagonia Chilena and Argentina also craft and customize individual itineraries (FIT), offering the best travel according to their preferences. The itineraries include the best-known highlights and treks in Patagonia Argentina and Chilena. But also offer the other Patagonia. From the legendary Carretera Austral - Chile's Southern Highway - combining with Lake District in Argentina, through the mythical Route 40 to Tierra del Fuego, devising detours via little-trodden paths and routes.
For trekking lovers or simply Travel lovers.

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Is this tour for me?

We rate this tour as a 2/5. The tour primarily consists of private ground transport and public buses, with no strenuous hikes or treks. However, it does involve staying at high altitudes and traveling long distances, which may not be suitable for some travellers.

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