A sunrise excursion to the 80 active geysers of El Tatio is one of the popular parts of the Atacama experience. The geysers spurt huge plumes of boiling hot steam upwards, before they evaporate into the cold early morning air. At 4,320 metres above sea level, as well as being the third largest geyser field anywhere in the world, they are also the highest. The combination of the early start, high altitude and dim morning light make for a slightly dizzying and surreal, but thoroughly memorable, experience.
The excursion starts at around 5am with a long journey up to high altitude as the first rays of the morning sun appear on the horizon. As you get closer to the geyser field, you will catch your first glimpse in the distance of the forceful jets and steam that rise from the earth. You will be guided around the site and learn about the natural forces that create this unusual phenomenon.
You will visit the highland village of Machuca and continue on to the thermal baths at Puritama, where you will have the chance to revitalize your weary limbs! Breakfast box lunch and entrance fee are included. Alternatively, you could combine the geysers with a visit to Caspana, a pre-Hispanic village with very interesting architecture and an old church, the Inca Coya lagoon at Calama, the petroglyphs, in the valley of the Loa River, the Pukara (fort) in Lasana and the village of Chiu-Chiu, with its pre-Hispanic clay church. This is a longer full day excursion.