Puna de Atacama, Argentina
Like the Bolivian Altiplano and the Chilean Atacama, the Puna de Atacama is part of the most lunar landscape I've encountered. But the Puna de Atacama offers up a different variety of landscapes, not experienced in it's neighbours in Bolivia and Chile.
The main focus of this trip is to be at some of the best locations for sunrise and sunset each day. On the way we will encounter a massive pumice field many kilometres long, sand dunes and red clay labyrinths. This is also home to one of the most otherworldly features - the Cono de Arita volcano.
Getting to the trip
There are regular flights to Salta, from Buenos Aires. Our first hotel is in the centre of Salta.
Upon booking the trip, you will be forwarded onto Andean Trails (South American travel specialis) who can arrange flights and excursions for you.
We will meet in Salta (direct connection from Buenos Aires),
7:00 - 9:00pm
Dinner with the group, hosted by Bruce
10-day ItineraryIn this section I'll give you a break down of what we're doing each day, in terms of location. There's a further section down the page which deals with what to expect as a daily schedule.
Day 1: Salta
Today is arrival day in Salta.
We will meet at reception of our hotel before visiting a local restaurant for an evening dinner hosted by Bruce. Night at Hotel del Virrey or Similar. Dinner
Day 2: Tolar Grande
Departure from Salta to Tolar Grande around 10:30 am to arrive in Los Colorados around 5pm where we will scout the surrounding area for our sunset location high up on a hill overlooking the Los Colorados clay mountains. Sunset in Los Colorados. Night at Casa Andina. Breakfast, Lunch Dinner
Day 3: Tolar Grande to Cono de Arita and back
At sunrise we will shoot around Tolar Grande, heading back for breakfast. After breakfast we will depart for Mina Julia Sulfur mine, which has amazing yellow colours arriving in the afternoon. We return by a another route straight to Cono de Arita for our sunset shoot high up on a hill side. After sunset we will return to Tolar Grande for our evening meal and night’s stay. Sunrise: Photos around Tolar Grande. Sunset: Photos in the Cono de Arita. Night at Casa Andina. Breakfast, Lunch Dinner
Day 4: Tolar Grande to Antofagasta
This is a long travel day. In the morning we make one last sunrise shoot around Tolar Grande. After breakfast we depart for Antofagasta. Stop en-route to make snapshots of the surrounding landscape. Sunrise: Photos around Tolar Grande. Sunset: Antogafasta Volcano Sulfur lake. Night at Hostería pueblo de sol. Breakfast, Lunch Dinner
Day 5: Antofagasta to El Peñon
Sunrise: Sleep in / rest morning for the group. During the day we go to see the petroglyphs in the surrounding hills. In the late afternoon we travel to El Peñon and shoot the volcanoes at the road side en-transit during sunset. Arrive around 8pm at El Peñon for evening dinner and nights stay. Sunrise: Sleep in / rest. Sunset: Volcanoes from road side during transit from Antofagasta to El Peñon. Night at Hostería El Peñon. Breakfast, Lunch Dinner
Day 6: El Peñon
For sunrise we will photograph the black volcano and red hills from the valley pass near El Piñon before going back to the Hosteria for breakfast. In the early afternoon we depart for the Pumice field where we will scout to find our compositions for sunset. After sunset we will depart for El Piñon for our evening dinner and night’s stay. Sunrise: View from El Penon towards black volcano and red hills. Sunset: Pumice Field. Night at Hostería El Peñon. Breakfast, Lunch Dinner
Day 7: El Peñon
After breakfast we will travel into the Pumice field to photograph the sand dunes. We will be back in El Peñon for lunch. Free time until late afternoon when we will visit the clay valley behind El Peñon for our sunset shoot. There are beautiful leading lines in the clay with distant views of the yellow hills surrounding El Peñon. Back for evening dinner in El Peñon. Sunrise: Surrounding of the Pumice Field Sunset: Clay valley behind El Penon with yellow hills. Night at Hostería El Peñon. Breakfast, Lunch Dinner
Day 8: El Peñon to Cafayate
This is mainly a travelling day, with a sunset shoot at the end. In the morning we will have a sleep in and after breakfast we will depart for Cafayate arriving late afternoon. We will visit the Las Conchas gorge for our last sunset shoot arriving back in town for our evening dinner and hotel. Sunset: Las Conchas Gorge. Night at Los Sauces Hotel. Breakfast, Lunch Dinner
Day 9: Cafayate to Salta
We will have the morning off so everyone can roam around town and relax before we meet for lunch in Cafayate. After lunch we will depart for Salta arriving late afternoon. Evening dinner and night’s stay at Hotel Del Virrey. Sunrise: Las Conchas Gorge. Night at Del Virrey Hotel. Breakfast, lunch, Dinner
Day 10: Salta
After breakfast tour ends. Departure for Salta airport.
Daily Schedule OutlineEach day will have the following format:
6:30 - 8:30am
On location for twilight & sunrise.
8:30 - 9:30am
Breakfast, back at the hotel.
10:30am - 12:30pm
We will travel through the day while the light is bleached out, in order to get to our next major photographic location for sunset. But we will stop from time to time at areas of interest. On other days when we are not changing hotel, we will use this time to rest.
12:30pm - 1:30pm
Lunch at hotel.
AltitudeWith high elevations of around 3,600 metres.
Altitude problems may happen to anyone of any age and of any level of fitness. The key to reducing the risk is to take things easy - avoiding alcohol and too much physical exertion.