We travel south, going up to the ´puna´ (highlands) to marvel at its unique vegetation, wildlife, lagoons and salt flats. Here, Miscanti Lagoon – the largest lagoon in the Antofagasta region – is certainly the one that impresses travelers most. Later, we visit the village Socaire, where the indigenous community still preserves part of the traditional atacameñan lifestyle.
|SEMI-PRIVATE SERVICE: High quality standard services with a maximum of 10 passengers per group, most of them from hotels that work with us. Our bilingual guides (spanish – english) assure a personalized service.
The days and hours of the excursions may vary depending on the season, climatic conditions and the groups that we form. The final itinerary will be confirmed upon arrival in San Pedro, but even during your stay it can vary depending on the mentioned conditions, we will be informing immediately about any change.
Red Stones (Piedras Rojas)
We leave San Pedro in the morning and drive south, passing by the Atacama Salt Flat and the villages Toconao and Socaire, to get up to 3.900 m.a.s.l. until we reach the Talar Salt Flat (Aguas Calientes III). The salt flat is surrounded by a unique formation of volcanic materials that – exposed to harsh weather in the course of time – acquired an intense terracotta coloring provoked by oxidation processes. This brought the place its new name: Red Stones.
What we can experience here is a world of colors, naturally produced by the rock formations and adjacent hills, by the lagoons in the salt flat, its white crust and the surrounding vegetation.
Driving back towards San Pedro for about 50 kms., we will get to the lagoons Miscanti and Meñiques which – administrated by the indigenous community of Socaire together with CONAF (National Forest Corporation) – form part of the Flamingo National Reserve and are located at 4.350 and 4.100 meters respectively. They are magnificent reserves of crystal-clear water that impress with their intense blue color. Surrounded by a mountainous backdrop marked by the volcanoes Miscanti and Meñiques, the lagoons are the natural habitat of many rare and beautiful birds, including Chilean Flamingos, Puna Flamingos, Baird´s Sandpipers and Horned Coots amongst other species.
This visit will allow you to truly enjoy the overwhelming solitude and peace of this sanctuary of nature.
We continue our journey towards Socaire, a village at 3.300 m.a.s.l. with around 360 inhabitants who traditionally work in agriculture, cattle-breeding, wool handcraft, mining industry and of late also in tourism. Here we have lunch at the ´Guest House´ (Casa de Huéspedes), a treasure of the indigenous community of Socaire.
After that we take the time to get to know the village´s traditional agricultural system in more detail, as well as the manufacturing process of wool. The agricultural land is arranged in the form of terraces. Remarkable is the cultivation of some peculiar products like horsebeans or purple potatoes that only grow in this area. Over the last few years, the craft production of fine textiles made of alpaca, llama or sheep wool – a process which starts with the breeding of the animals – has increased. The ´Weavers of Socaire´ (Tejedoras de Socaire) sell their products mainly in a local store. Apart from that they receive orders from retail and private parties all over Chile.
The origin of Socaire´s church dates back to the colonial era (). Of special beauty is the picturesque bell tower which is built on cut stone and adobe milled from the local region.
8:00-8:30 Recogida desde su hotel
Almuerzo en Socaire
16:45-17:15 Retorno al hotel
8:00-8:30 Pickup from your hotel
Lunch in Socaire
- Vestimenta: ropa cómoda, zapatos para caminar. Varias capas.
- Ropa abrigada para la altura (polar, cortaviento; guantes, gorro).
- Artículos personales: bloqueador solar, sombrero, lentes.
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What to bring?
- Comfortable clothing, walking shoes. Several layers.
- Warm clothing for the highlands (fleece and windbreaker, gloves, woolen hat)
- Sunblock, hat, sunglasses, lip balm.
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