[Atacama Desert]

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
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 international group of min. 6 and max. 15 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, Spanish and Dutch.

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

The included air transfer:  

- Santiago>Antofagasta (Day 2)
- Antofagasta>Santiago (Day 8)

Santiago de Chile (Day 1)

This is an arrival day. We will arrange a taxi to transfer you from the airport to the hotel (see 3. Joining instructions). There you will meet your tour leader who will help you to check in. No activities are planned on day 1 so you may set out to explore the city. Santiago de Chile is a great place to discover on foot. At 7 pm you are expected at the hotel for a presentation of the itinerary and an evening meal. The next day we fly to Antofagasta (Atacama).

Day 2

From Santiago de Chile we arrive by airplane in Antofagasta where we visit the 'Portada', an gigantic rock portal near the coastline, and the city centre.

Day 3

We join our comfortable 4x4 vehicles and drive to the charming village of San Pedro de Atacama, located at 2450 meters above sea level, near the north side of the great salt deposit of Atacama (the biggest of the country). On the road we visit tiny whitewashed churches and native Aymara communities.

Day 4

The people who want ride horses in the amazing Valle de la Luna (Valley of the Moon). We walk in the Valle de la Muerte (Valley of the Death) and visit an old Inca fortress (Pukara de Quitor).

Day 5

We walk through bleached-white salt flats and dream beside lakes speckled pink with flamingos (Los Flamencos National Park). We walk along hurds of grazing lamas, alpacas and vicuñas.

Day 6

At sunrise we explore the Tatio volcanic geyser field where water and steam spring up violently from deep inside the earth. We enjoy taking a bath in natural thermal streams (Termas de Puritama).

Day 7

On the road to Antofagasta we visit an abandoned nitrate ghost town (Humberstone) and a copper mine (Chuquicamata). We relax on white sands and swim in turquoise waters. At night we enjoy an excellent Chilean seafood barbecue.

Day 8

We fly to Santiago de Chile and visit centre town. At night we have a great party!


Those who have some spare traveling time we can recommend some nice day trips in and around cosmopolitan and vibrant Santiago. You can visit for example the house of Pablo Neruda, Chile 's greatest poet and make an easy climb up Cerro Cristobal where you have an excellent overview of the city. You can spend a few days in Valparaiso while discovering its coastal charm on hill slope lifts or you can visit Viña del Mar, a luxurious seaside resort.


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. Please inform us about your estimated arrival time and we will arrange a taxi to transfer you to the hotel. Your tour leader will contact you at the hotel and make sure you are settled comfortably. S/he will organize a short meeting at 7 pm, during which you will meet 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.

Hotel Lyon

Avda. Ricardo Lyon 1525
Santiago de Chile

Tel. +56 (0)2-225 77 32
URL: www.hotellyon.cl



Aeropuerto International Arturo Merino Benítez is in Pudahuel, 26km northwest of downtown Santiago. Please inform us about your estimated arrival time and we will arrange a taxi to transfer you to the hotel.


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, it can be very cool during the evening and at night.

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


5. Transport

We will travel by means of comfortable 4x4 vans (max. 6 persons/van).


6. Lodging

We stay overnight in comfortable and clean hotels where you can relax in a nice atmosphere.


7. Food

ROLLING HOSTEL combines vegetarian and non-vegetarian meals in small local restaurants with self cooked meals on small gas stoves while camping.

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. Curanto, originally a dish from Chiloé, is a rich potpourri of various kinds of seafood, beef or chicken cooked with vegetables such as pumpkin or potato. 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. A small size daypack is also essential.

Suggested List:

• Windproof/waterproof jacket and trousers
• Light clothing and some warm clothing
• Hiking boots or sturdy walking shoes
• (Sport) sandals
• Toiletries
• Small towel and swim wear
• Sunblock (min factor 30)
• Lip salve
• Sun hat
• Sunglasses
• First aid kit*

*First aid kit should contain insect repellent, 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.


Camera and film, reading/writing material, binoculars, money belt…

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.


9. Documents

• Passport (with photocopies)
• Travel insurance (with photocopies)
• Airline tickets (with photocopies)
• Euro 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

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 at the beginning of our trip.


11. Money

Everything is included in the ‘Price' except for personal expenses as souvenirs and extra drinks and optional activities. How much you take is obviously a personal matter.

The official currency in Chile is the Chilean peso. Exchange rate: 100 peso = 0,13 € (December 2005).

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.