Desert Trek in Chile

Study Environmental Sciences in Chile

Beyond its diverse array of natural landscapes, Chile is facing environmental issues such as deforestation, air pollution and water pollution. You can make an impact during your trip by following the Leave No Trace principles. Essentially, whatever you venture out into nature with needs to go back with you.

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Sojourn – Gain a better understanding of the community you’re visiting. Learn about different religions or spiritual practices. How do these impact the communities? How does religion or spirituality influence local traditions?

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Savor – Will you choose sweet or savory? Take the time to visit local markets and discover unique local ingredients. Learn how to prepare traditional meals & local favorites.

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Tip of the Tongue – Each morning, take the time to learn a few basic greetings and phrases in the local language. Learn how to write greetings & your name in the local script.

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A Wrinkle in Time – History influences our present. Discover the history of the country you visit. Hear the stories of your guides & their family history. Where do they come from?

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Journal Journeys – Take some time to reflect on the day’s events and document your journey. Spend a moment journaling about the day had & day ahead. These are memories for a lifetime!

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Culture – From local dances, festivals, or simple gestures to communicate – all of these make up a country’s culture. Learn and practice cultural norms & how to show respect in the culture you visit.

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As you land at the Santiago’s international airport, get ready for a week of incredible ecotourism in Chile. Upon your arrival, you will be greeted by your local guide who will be showing you around the region for the week. 

From the airport, you will head to your accommodation within the city. While en route into the city, you will get a briefing of the week’s upcoming activities. Once you’ve arrived in the city center, you’ll be able to explore the area’s hotspots with your local guide. 

Today, you will rise early and hike up the iconic San Cristóbal hill. The hill rises about 300 meters above Santiago, and once up top, you will get to take in some stellar panoramic views of the city. The hike itself takes around 1.5 hours to complete on foot. Alternatively, if you would like to take it easy, you can also opt for the cable car option to reach the top. 

In the afternoon, you will be connecting with a non-profit organization known as Adapt Chile. This recently established organization has been working to develop, create and promote local responses to climate change. Get a better understanding of the region’s current climatic status as well as the initiatives in place to help reduce the country’s environmental impact. 

To wrap up the afternoon, wander around the colorful neighborhood of Bellas Artes. Here you will get some great photos of the graffiti filling the walls as well as be able to check out some eclectic shops, restaurants and cafes. 

Head to Northern Chile today in order to reach San Pedro de Atacama. You’ll head back to the Santiago airport and on to Calama. The flight time is about two hours. Once you arrive, you will be shuttled directly to San Pedro de Atacama. 

Upon your arrival in San Pedro de Atacama, drop off your bags and grab a bottle of water. Today, you will be embarking on a bike ride from town to the naturally stunning Valle de la Luna. This location is known for its otherworldly landscapes and moon-like rock formations. 

Today you will be spending a full day at Reserva Nacional Los Flamencos. This 740 square km reserve was established in 1990 and contains some of the country’s most idyllic and diverse landscapes. Here you will view widespread salt flats, vibrant lagoons and lunar mountain ridges that are simply out of this world. 

Joining you throughout the day will be a local wildlife biologist. The national reserve has several sections, all of which contain different flora and fauna. Alongside the wildlife biologist, you will be able to gain more insight into the types of species in the region and how they interact with the environment. In addition, learn about the effects of climate change and how they are affecting the animals and plants in the region. 

Wake up at your own pace as today will be a relaxing one. After breakfast, you will embark on a short drive to check out the El Taito Geysers. Located about a 1.5-hour drive outside of San Pedro de Atacama, El Taito is a geyser field boasting more than 80 different geysers and natural hot springs. It’s located a whopping 4,320 meters above sea level amidst the Andes Mountains, so make sure you stay hydrated in order to prevent altitude sickness. 

After wandering around the various geysers and taking a soak in the natural hot springs, you will head back to San Pedro de Atacama to visit San Pedro de Atacama Celestial Explorations (SPACE). At this astronomical center, you will gaze up into the galaxy with a high-power telescope and get views of the solar system like you’ve never seen before! Believe it or not, you can even take photos of the sky through the telescope. 

On your final day in the in Northern Chile’s Antofagasta Region, you will take a trip to visit Laguna Miscanti (Lake Miscanti). The topaz-colored Laguna Miscanti is a high-elevation volcanic lake boasting stunning natural backdrops. Because it is so high-altitude, be prepared for colder temperatures. While you’re here, you will enjoy a picnic lunch alongside the lagoon and get some epic views of Cerro Miscanti (Miscanti Hill). 

Following your visit to Laguna Miscanti, you will head back up north and stop at the Valle de Marte (Mars Valley). At this location, you will take in stellar vistas of the unusual rock formations throughout the valley. While you’re here, you will also get to roam around the surrounding sand dunes and catch a remarkable sunset. 

This morning you’ll head back to the airport in Calama en route to Santiago. After four full days in the Atacama Desert, it’s time to head back to the bustling city of Santiago. Although your desert excursion in Northern Chile has passed, the views and experiences will stay with you for many years to come. 

Chile is a unique region with plenty of natural diversity. However, along with its stunning landscapes, natural reserves and dense forests, the country faces several issues that put its natural environments at risk. And with excessive societal pressures, natural areas can start to transform. 

From air to water pollution, soil erosion and deforestation, Chile’s natural well-being is being put under pressure. In order to make an impact, get involved with ecotourism opportunities, talk to local experts and do your own additional research to become better informed.


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