[Altiplano-Atacama L]

Before you leave home for your tour with ROLLING HOSTEL, there are a few details that you will need to look after to ensure a smooth, worry free holiday. These include passports, visas, vaccinations, insurance, clothing, personal gear, money and other items of this nature. This dossier will be able to answer some of your questions and assist you with your travel preparations. The tour dossier includes the following items:

1. About us
2. Itinerary/activities
3. Joining instructions 
4. Weather and climate
5. Transport
6. Lodging
7. Food
8. Luggage
9. Documents
10. Health
11. Money


1. About us

ROLLING HOSTEL organizes sustainable travels through unspoiled nature in Chile. We travel in a small group of about 10 persons.

ROLLING HOSTEL has a multidisciplinary team that will show you Chile from the inside, starting from our own experiences and love for the country. Apart from visiting the highlights, we will bring you to places not included in the regular Chile traveling program, places that only Chileans know they exist. Our guides speak English and Spanish.

ROLLING HOSTEL makes Chile easy to explore and keeps you in touch with its warm and generous people and its excellent wine and seafood.

ROLLING HOSTEL will make your trip an unforgettable ecoadventure, full of fun and lots of laughter!


2. Itinerary/activities

This itinerary is only a guidance and not a strict day to day scheme. During the tour the itinerary will be regularly discussed in interaction with the tour leader and the participants. As such, each tour will have different accents according to the interests of the group. Nevertheless, the highlights of the tour will surely be visited.

[ ITINERARY from north to south*]
1. Santiago      
2. Arica B Our Rolling Hostel experience starts in Arica, the “ciudad de la eterna primavera” (city of eternal spring). We explore the highlights and all those unknown corners of the Chilean Altiplano (high plateau).
Discover snow-capped volcanoes and some of the world’s highest mountain lakes in Lauca National Park. Explore bleached-white salt flats and dream beside lakes speckled pink with flamingos. Walk along hurds of grazing lamas, alpacas and vicuñas. Visit tiny whitewashed churches and native Aymara communities.
3. Putre/PN Lauca B,L
4. Putre/PN Lauca B,L,D
5. Iquique B,L Experience paragliding and discover the coast city Iquique, capital of the region. Discover the surroundings of Pica, with the Pintados Geoglyphs and taste the exotic fruits taken directly from the oasis gardens.
6. Pica B,L,D
8. San Pedro B,L San Pedro is situated at 2450 meters above sea level at the north side of the great Salar (salt flat) de Atacama.
Do some hiking, horseback riding, mountainbike and sand board in the middle of worlds driest desert. Visit Inca fortresses, lakes and lagoons in the middle of the salt flat. Enjoy the thermal baths of Puritama and explore the surroundings of this mystic village. See the sun setting in the amazing Valley of the Moon. Admire by sunrise the Tatio volcanic geyser field where water and steam spring up violently from deep inside the earth.
Explore in 4 days the amazing Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia.
Visit the port city of Antofagasta, a strategic place for the nitrate market at the beginning of the last century. Visit the millenary geological formation of the Portada, and admire how nature made this arc in a period of thousands of years.
9. San Pedro B,L
10. Salar de Uyuni B,L,D
11. Salar de Uyuni B,L,D
12. Salar de Uyuni B,L,D
13. San Pedro B,L
14. San Pedro B,L
15. Antofagasta B,L,D
PN Pan de Azúcar

Norte Chico (Small North) is a zone of big contrasts between the coastal area with its white sands and beaches, the desert and the fertile valleys.
Make a boat trip and admire pinguin and sea lion colonies in Pan de Azucar National Park. Explore deserted islands (Isla Damas, Isla Pan de Azucar), hidden bays (Punta Choros) and endless beaches. Snorkel with dolphins. Enjoy the beach life, barbecue and campfires. Explore the lush, deeply rural Elqui Valley, known for its pisco (brandy-like liquor). Discover the universe in one of worlds most important astronomical observatories.

PN Pan de Azúcar
18. Punta Choros/
Isla Damas
19. Punta Choros/
Isla Damas
Valle Elqui
21. Santiago B,L,D  

PN: National Park | RN: National Reserve | : Hostel | : Rolling Hostel
: Chile | : Bolivia

Meals included in the price: breakfast (B), sandwich lunch (L), evening meal (D)

This tour can be from:
- north to south (day 2: flight Santiago-Arica)
- south to north (day 21: flight Arica-Santiago)

  Activities included in the price
(all the national park entrances are also included in the price)


•  Excursions in/around PN Lauca:
  - Aymara villages: Parinacota, Zapahuira, Codpa day 3-5
  - Lagunas Cotacotani / Lago Chungara day 4
  - Termas de Jurasi (hot springs) day 4
Excursions around Pica:
  - Geoglyphs day 8

Excursions around de San Pedro de Atacama:

  - Valle de la Luna (salt caves, huge dune formations) day 8
  - PN Los Flamencos - Termas de Puritama (hot springs)
day 9

•  Exploration tour (4 dias) of Salar de Uyuni (Bolivia)

day 10-13

•  Boat trips: PN Pan de Azucar, Punta Choros

day 17,19

  Optional activities
(with indication of local prices, payment in pesos chilenos):
Paragliding (duo flight- 45 EUR) IQAIRUS Iquique day 6
Azapa Museum (2 EUR) day 2
Activities around San Pedro de Atacama:
  - Geysers del Tatio (termal geysers at +4000 m) (30 EUR) day 14
  - Horse riding (25 EUR) day 14
  - Mountainbike (10 EUR) day 9
  - Sand board (15 EUR) day 14
  - Volcano climbing (+5000 m) (70 EUR) day 14
Activities in Valle Elqui:
  - visit astronomic observatory (5 EUR) day 20
  - visit pisco factory (5 EUR) day 20
Snorkeling (EUR) day 19


3. Joining instructions

Please note that day 1 is an arrival day and no activities have been planned, so you may arrive at any time. Your tour leader will contact you at the hostel on day 1 and make sure you are settled comfortably. S/he will organize a short meeting at 19h00, during which you will meet the other tour participants and receive information about general and specific aspects of the trip. If you arrive late, s/he will leave you a message detailing what time and where you should meet the next morning.

Hostel Plaza de Armas

Compania 960 - 6th floor
Plaza de Armas
Depto. 607
Santiago de Chile

Tel:+56 (0)2-671 44 36
E-mail: hostel@plazadearmashostel.com
URL: http://www.plazadearmashostel.com

Hostel Plaza de Armas is located at the Plaza de Armas, the center square of Santiago de Chile. The hostel offers spectacular views of the square where the very starting point (km 0) of all Chilean highways is located. You can reach it by taking Metro station Plaza de Armas. There are several ways to reach Hostel Plaza de Armas (notice that the transfers from and to the airport are not included in the tour price):

- Bus + metro ($1200 pesos + $380 pesos; from 06h00 to 22h30): Take the ‘Centropuerto’ bus at the airport exit and get off at the end station. Walk to the nearby metro station ‘Los Héroes’. Take the red metro line (line 1) in the direction of ‘Escuela Militar’ and get off at metro station ‘Baquedano’. Change to the green metro line (line 5) in the direction of ‘Quinta Normal’ and get off at metro station ‘Plaza de Armas’. Take the ‘Paseo Ahumada’ metro exit (at the exit you will notice the statue of a big Mapuche Indian head), cross the street and walk to the left hand side through a corridor of small food stands. At about 50m there is the ‘Portal Fernández Concha’ building, located at Compania 960. Our hostel is at the sixth floor.

- Transfer with minibus (($4100 pesos; all times): In the airport several companies (Transvip, Turbus, etc.) offer a transfer with a minibus of about six places. A full minibus for about six persons costs about $16000 pesos. Payment is in their office at the airport. They accept credit cards.

- Taxi ($10000 pesos; all times)


4.  Weather and climate

Due to its enormous length (about 4300 km), Chile has a variety of climate regions.

The period May-October in Santiago de Chile is the late autumn, winter to early spring period. Mean temperatures during the day vary around 10°C and it can be rainy.

The Atacama Desert lies at a height of 2500m. From May-October the mean temperature during the day is about 20 to 25°C and there is a lot of sun. However, as on the Altiplano, it can be very cool during the evening and at night (temperatures around the freezing point).

For more detailed weather conditions in Chile, please consult the BBC weather website.


5. Transport

Our rolling hostel (capacity: 10-12 travelers) has five comfortable sleeping cabins for two persons, comfortable individual seats and a toilet.

Traveling on board of our rolling hostel gives you the possibility to enter more abandoned natural environments and to overnight besides glacial mountain lakes, volcanic geyser fields or in the middle of the desert.

Touring with the rolling hostel certainly means a time gain on your travels. You simply don't have to wait (overtime) public transport or other travel connections! Additionally you don't have to drag your luggage in and out of hotels, on and off buses, etc. All your luggage is safely guarded inside the rolling hostel under the surveillance of our driver.


6. Lodging

Our rolling hostel (capacity: 10-12 travelers) has five comfortable sleeping cabins for two persons, comfortable individual seats and a toilet. Upon choice you can sleep inside the rolling hostel or in the tent camp surrounding it.

On our trip we will sleep for 70% inside and around (camping) our rolling hostel. Most of the time we overnight with our rolling hostel in nature parks on campings with multiple toilet and shower services. Sometimes we overnight with our rolling hostel in abandoned natural environments far from civilization. The remaining 30% we stay in small, clean hostels with double or multi-shared rooms.


7. Food

The daily meals included in the price are indicated in 2. Itinerary.
We will visit small local restaurants. While staying in abandoned natural environments without restaurants we cook all together on gas stoves or prepare a barbecue.

Fish and seafood are the great speciality of Chilean cuisine. Salmon fishing is booming along Chile 's southern coast, and salmon is served widely in restaurants. A cheap and universal Chilean takeaway food is the empanada, a pastry filled with anything from sweetened maize or vegetables to minced meat.


8. Luggage

You will be on the move a great deal, so our advice is to pack as lightly as possible. Most people automatically assume that the weather is hot in South America, but because of the higher altitude in the Andes, the temperature can feel quite cold, especially at night (temperatures around the freezing point). We recommend the use of a backpack. A small size daypack is also essential.

Suggested List:  

• Warm sleeping bag
• Sleeping mattress (for optional sleeping in tent - see 6. Lodging)
• Windproof jacket and trousers
• Warm (fleece) jacket
• Sufficient warm clothing (hat and gloves included) and warm underwear for in the mountains and for cold evenings
• Light clothing for during the day
• Hiking boots or sturdy walking shoes
• Sport sandals
• Toiletries (biodegradable: pH neutral)
Small towel and swim wear
• Sunblock (min factor 30)
• Lip salve
• Sun hat
• Sunglasses
• Flashlight
• Drinking bottle
• First aid kit*

*First aid kit should contain second skin (for blisters), aspirin, antihistamine, antidiarrhoea, and extra prescription drugs you may be taking. On the rolling hostel there will be a general first aid kit available.

Remember that the higher altitude on some parts of the trip make for cold evenings and you will need a warm sweater or pullover and long trousers. It's best to layer clothes rather than bring a heavy parka so that you can take layers off.

During the tour you will get several times the opportunity to take your clothes to the laundry.


Camera and film (digital cameras and other electronics can be charged (220 V) on the rolling hostel), mobile phone (only triband, no dualband), reading/writing material, binoculars, money belt…

Tour leaders - travel literature

Although the tour leader takes you into close contact with the land and its citizens, s/he is not a classical guide. S/he coordinates the tour in interaction with the participants and arranges all logistics (lodging, meals, activities,...). S/he plays a stimulating role in order to make a truly adventurous travel. As such we advise you to gather some travel information before departure. Travel literature (e.g. Rough Guide, etc.) will help to bring you into a holiday mood and give you background information along the way. Locally we use classical guides for guided visits and excursions.


9. Documents

• Passport (with photocopies)
• Travel insurance (with photocopies)
• Airline tickets (with photocopies)
• EUR/USD cash, credit or debit card (see money) - (with credit card photocopies)
• ROLLING HOSTEL vouchers and tour dossier
• Entry visas (with photocopies)

Contact your local embassy or consulate for the most up-to-date visa requirements. It is your responsibility to have the correct travel documentation. It's recommended to leave also extra photocopies of all your documents at your home contact point! Leave also the Rolling Hostel contact info (see website) at your home contact point.


10. Health

Rolling Hostel travellers must be in a good physical condition. Rolling Hostel tours are adventurous travels in nature with lots of space and time for sports activities. Walks have a duration of several hours a day. Hereby we will ascend and descend. The walking paths are generally in good condition. The walking tempo will be adjusted to the group. The walks are as well as the adventurous optional activities (depending on the tour: white water rafting, glacier trekking, paragliding, etc.) not obligatory..
At least as important as having a good physical condition is having an adventurous and positive attitude. As such you will better stand the rapidly changing climatological conditions, the sometimes long transport times, the different food, and the fatigue after the activities.
On a Rolling Hostel tour you are expected to have also an open mind and flexibility to adapt yourself to the group. Rolling Hostel tours are exploration tours. We explore another country with different foods and a different culture.

There are no special vaccinations needed.
Recommended vaccinations: Tetanus, Poliomyelitis, Typhoid and Hepatitis A.

Please contact your physician for the most up-to-date health requirements. We will ask you to fill up a medical form upon reservation.


11. Money

Everything is included in the ‘Price' except for other meals, personal expenses, optional activities, entrance fees, travel insurance and transfers from and to the airport. How much you take is obviously a personal matter.

The official currency in Chile is the Chilean peso. Exchange rate: 100 peso = 0,13€ (September 2008).

Credit cards and debit cards are very useful for cash advances. Visa cards are the most widely accepted cards. You should be aware that to purchase products or services on a credit card a fee of 5%-10% usually applies. Do not rely on credit or debit cards as your only source of money. A combination of cash (Euro or US dollar) and credit cards is best.