ATACAMA DESERT BIKEPACKING

October 22 to November 06, 2022

 

BIKEPACKING ATACAMA

After our first bikepacking group experience in Patagonia, we’ve decided to return to Chile and cycle across the Atacama Desert. After all, the Atacama is a very special place for us—it was here in 2001 that the idea was first born to start our own bike travel agency!

Chile, with its geographic diversity, gives us a good opportunity to visit places like the Andes, the Atacama Desert and the Altiplano lakes while retracing the roots of ancient cultures such as the Atacamaña, Aymaras and Mapuches people.

The Atacama Desert is the driest in the world, protected from humidity on both sides by high mountain ranges with the Andes along the interior and the Coastal Range towards the Pacific Ocean.

Hundreds of years ago, caravans crossed the Atacama Desert, looking for new lands to explore—Now it’s our turn.

We will travel through this remote territory by bike to enjoy the beauty of its geological formations and natural phenomena. We will ride 700 km, starting at sea level and gradually climbing to reach 4,000 meters—our final altitude will be over 4,500 meters!

We will gain altitude progressively to allow ourselves safe, steady acclimatization, camping in the middle of nowhere and in the small villages that we will find along the way.

Of course, for this expedition to be truly successful, it is absolutely necessary to create a strong team spirit amongst all our travelers. No rider will ever be left alone or find themselves individually facing difficulty for any reason. It will be the responsibility not only of the guides, but also of the individual participants to help problem solve throughout the duration of the trip, working together to make the most of our adventure as a team. It will be an unforgettable cycling experience and journey, but also a unique opportunity to educate ourselves on group consciousness and the ability to share—be it joy, fatigue, planning, organization, coordination, defeat or success.

And in this case, success will not be defined as arriving at the final destination but setting off and doing our best to arrive all together.

Before the departure date, we will organize a virtual meeting where we will explain the trip and what kind of equipment our guides will take.

If, for logistical reasons you cannot make it to the meeting, we will contact you via e-mail and you can ask us any questions you may have. A rider list will be made from all the people who want to participate in order to form as homogeneous a group as possible. If you are not selected for this edition, we will notify you when a group with similar characteristics is being formed. To help us make this selection, we have prepared a short questionnaire, located at the end of this trip’s technical sheet. Fill it out and send it to us before you register.

Refund and cancellation

Where, for whatever reason, one person is obliged to withdraw, the person must give written notice to Project Adventure Cycling.

Refund will be calculated with this penalty:

– Within 45 days from date of departure the penalty fare is 10% of the total cost of the trip.
– Within 30 days from departure the penalty fare is 30% of the total cost of the trip.
– Within 21 days from departure the penalty fare is 50% of the total cost of the trip.
– Within 14 days from departure the penalty fare is 75 % of the total cost of the trip.
– After this date no refund will be given.

There will be no refunds for those who do not show up at the start of the trip or withdraw during the course of the tour.
There will be no refunds for those who are unable to start or complete the tour due to a lack or inaccuracy of personal travel documents (i.e Visa or Passport).

The traveller understands that some destinations pose more of a risk than other destinations due to weather conditions, socio-political situations and the geography of the region. The traveller acknowledges that factors such as, but not limited to, weather conditions, landslides, floods, flight cancellations or delays, strikes, labour issues, power failures, restrictive governmental laws or regulations, riots, insurrection, war or other (hereinafter called “Force Majeure Event”) are not the fault of Project Adventure Cycling and may hinder, delay or even prevent the Traveller’s ability to make or complete the trip. The traveller acknowledges that the Project Adventure Cycling shall not be liable to the traveller for any delay or cancellation of the trip due to a Force Majeure Event. The traveler is neither entitled to a refund nor any other payment for damages from the Project Adventure Cycling in the event that the trip is cancelled or delayed due to a Force Majeure Event. Please note that we are never responsible for any airfare ticket expenses.

 

COVID 19

In the event that you are unable to fly due to COVID 19 restrictions because of a declared state of emergency, PA Cycling, SL, guarantees:

RETURN OF QUOTE* (Except for expenses incurred up to the time of cancellation of the trip)

QUOTA FREEZE UNTIL NEXT DEPARTURE*.

FEE FREEZE UNTIL THE DEPARTURE OF ANY OTHER TRIP ORGANISED BY PA-CYCLING, SL*.

* The above conditions ARE NOT VALID in the case of a positive individual.

THE PRICE INCLUDE

  • PA-Cyclism guides riding with the group, depending upon the number of participants.
  • 2 Nights in hotel at Antofagasta.
  • 2 Nights in hotel at Peine plus breakfast and dinner.
  • 2 Nights in hotel at Socaire plus breakfast and dinner.
  • 1 Night in hotel at Toconao.
  • Entrance tickets per Natural Parks – Laguna Miñique y Miscanti and Valle de la Luna.
  • 2 Nights in hotel at San Pedro de Atacama.
  • Group travel insurance.
  • Arrival transfer from Antofagasta´s airport.
  • Departure transfer to Calama´s airport.

THE PRICE DOES NOT INCLUDE

  • Airfare and baggage fees, bike equipment
  • Lunch and dinner at Antofagasta and San Pedro de Atacama
  • Lunch at Peine and Socaire
  • Additional costs in case of logistic modification (transfers and extra nights’, etc.)
  • Anything not included in “The price includes” section
  • Dates
    October 22 to November 06, 2022
  • Duration
    16 days
  • Stages
    9
  • Length
    700 km
  • Elevation
    10.000 m
  • Difficulty
    Hard
  • Price
    2.150 €

THE TRACK

THE STAGES

Day 01

Arrival in Antofagasta, Chile must be before 2.00 pm. We will organize your hotel/airport transfer. Bikes need to be set up. In the late afternoon, we will have a briefing to get to know the staff and all participants.

Day 02
Day off in Antofagasta.

Finalizing trip prep, we´ll go to the market to buy our meals for bikepacking, and after everyone’s bikes are assembled, we’ll go for a short shake-down ride around the city to make sure that everything is working properly.

Day 03 – STAGE 01
Antofagasta-Desert – 90 km / 1.200 m

We will begin our adventure in Antofagasta, following roads to cycle deep into the desert.

Leaving behind the sea, we´ll see how everything changes as we ride toward the mountains and the vast Atacama Desert.

Day 04 – STAGE 02
Desert – 60 km / 1.240 m

After the previous day’s approach, we´re now going to truly enter the desert. It´s an all-day climbing stage where we´ll be gaining altitude and… solitude!

Day 05 – STAGE 03
Desert – 67 km / 1.600 m

We´ll spend all day pedaling through the desert! Passing several mining companies, we´ll cross many different types of rocks and colors of sand before we reach our refuel spot—the old salt mines of Imilac, where we´ll find plenty of safe drinking water.

Day 6 – STAGE 04
Desert – 65 km / 1.000 m

This is a hard stage: we will face some tough climbs, made harder by the relentless sun. But the views are so incredible, it will all be worth it as we keep pushing our pedals until we reach an area close to Campamento Negrillar, where we´ll spend the night.

Day 07 – STAGE 05
Desert-Peine – 54 km / 300 m

Finally, we are going to descend… but depending on the state of the sand, it will be either a quick path or a challenging one.

Either way, we´ll end our day resting in the spectacular natural swimming pools of Peine. There, we´ll spend the night under a roof, sleeping in proper beds and having dinner at an actual table.

Day 08
Day off at Peine

We´ll use this day to rest, have some good food, adjust our bicycles and buy some supplies for the next stages.

Day 09 – STAGE 06
Peine-Socaire – 69 km / 1.150 m

After our day off, we´ll visit the Salar de Atacama, the largest salt flat in Chile (3.000 km2) and also the world’s largest and purest active source of lithium… an impressive territory.

After the Salar Flats, we’ll cycle up to Socaire, reaching 3,300 meters above sea level, where we´ll see ancient agricultural terraces and impressive views from that altitude. That evening, we´ll sleep in beds and have a good dinner in the village.

Day 10 – STAGE 07
Socaire-Meñique y Miscanti-Socaire – 60 km / 1.250 m

We´ll visit Las Lagunas Meñique and Miscanti, a brackish water lakes at 4,200 meters above the sea level.

The lakes are part of one of the seven sectors of Los Flamencos National Reserve.

An overwhelming landscape where we´ll notice the altitude in our muscles.

We´ll spend the night at the same hotel, so we´ll be able to climb all the way up to the lakes without our baggage over the bicycles.

Day 11 – STAGE 08
Socaire-Vulcan Lascar-Toconao – 80 km / 1.500 m

QUEEN STAGE.

Today we´ll climb up to 4,400 meters above sea level. It will be tough, but we will not be carrying our bikepacking bags and the prize – the views and experience of the Lascar Volcano – will be well worth the effort.

First, we´ll face an 11 km long, hard climb. We´ll catch our breath as the road levels out before   we continue climbing another 10 km surrounded by lunar landscapes. After that, we´ll descend to Toconao, where we´ll sleep in good beds and… perhaps share some beers?

Day 12 – STAGE 09
Toconao-Valle de la Luna-San Pedro de Atacama – 75 km / 500 m

Last stage.

The first half of our day will be a descent. We´ll cycle across El Salar de Atacama once again and, before stepping into our final destination of San Pedro de Atacama, we´ll visit El Valle de la Luna. Carved by wind and water, it has an impressive range of color and textures and looks somewhat like the surface of the moon. We´ll pedal through the valley, visit La Cueva de la Sal and, finally, go find our charming hotel where we´ll be able to rest, have a shower and prepare ourselves for a celebratory dinner!

Day 13
Day off in San Pedro de Atacama

Just relax and enjoy this special village and the mix of emotions that you´ll find at the end of such a great bikepacking adventure.

On our final night, we´ll enjoy the incredibly unique sky of San Pedro de Atacama.

YOUR GUIDE

Willy Mulonia

Willy Mulonia

Founder & President

Willy Mulonia, expert lonely traveler and cyclist for more than 30 years. He made several solo expeditions, but the most important is without a doubt the 28,640 bike trip from Ushuaia (Patagonia) to Prudhoe Bay (Alaska). He raced in the Crocodile Trophy (Australia) in ’98 and the famous Iditarod Trail Invitational (ITI) in Alaska in 1999, 2000, 2018, 2019, 2020 & 2022 as well as many other mountain bike stage races all over the world. In 2003 he founded the bike travel agency Progetto Avventura, now renamed Project Adventure Cycling. In 2010, with the help of all the team of PA-Cycling he created the Mongolia Bike Challenge, one of the most important MTB stage race in the world. Today you can find him guiding most the tour offered by Project Adventure Cycling.

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