Your tour starts with hotel pickup by van before dawn — yep, that’s early! — from San Pedro de Atacama. The hotel pickup is included from the Hotels located nearby San Pedro de Atacama urban zone. We will drive north of San Pedro de Atacama to El Tatio, an approximate 1.5- to 2-hour trip.
The El Tatio Geyser Field stands just over 14,000 feet above sea level in the Andes Mountains of northern Chile and getting there is half the fun. You’ll travel up windy scenic mountain roads surrounded by snow-covered active and dormant volcanic peaks along the way. Magma beneath the surface acts to heat an underground source of water resulting in an explosive release of pressure.
Your arrival at the geyser field coincides with the rising sun, which gives the geysers their most spectacular appearance. In the cold, early morning air of sunrise, each geyser is topped with a white column of steam that disappears when the temperature warms up. You have about two hours to walk around the field, marveling at the geothermal wonders and taking pictures. Then enjoy a light breakfast that typically includes a ham and cheese sandwich, biscuit, fruit, juice, tea and coffee.
After about three hours total at El Tatio, we head to the village of Machuca where you will have about an hour here to explore the very tiny village (about 10 residents) at your leisure. Check out its wooden church, handful of adobe houses with thatch roofs, and artisan shop. If you wish, try a llama empanada, the local specialty (at your own expense).
Finally, make the drive back to San Pedro de Atacama, where your tour ends with hotel drop-off around midday. Remember that this trip takes approximately 3 hours to get back to San Pedro de Atacama.