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Descendants of the Inca - Road trip

8 day self drive trip Atacama Desert - Northern Chile & Northwest Argentina

Home / Atacama / Descendants of the Inca - Self drive tour

8 days from/to Calama

  • self-drive tour
  • nature adventure
  • 7 nights hotel / guesthouse
  • 7x breakfast

from 1.890 USD


This unique combination of two fascinating regions in both Chile and Argentina provides an insight into the way of life of its native people: The Atacameños on the Chilean side, and the Kolla Indigenous on the Argentine side. Both indigenous groups have adapted themselves to contemporary times without renouncing their old customs and traditions. Tourism offers a source of income that helps to preserve and even revive these traditions.

On this road trip you will stay in pre-booked accommodation.


Day tours that will challenge you moderately. Differences in elevation but also in temperature will be the most challenging part. Higher elevations should not create problems for you.


Day 1-2: Calama – San Pedro de Atacama – Purmamarca

Day 1

Begin your journey in the mining city of Calama, where you pick up your rental car right at the airport upon arrival. Your first ride takes you through the driest desert of the world to your hotel in the nearby desert oasis of San Pedro de Atacama. There are a lot of places of interest nearby; if you arrive early enough, we recommend visiting the Moon Valley at sunset. From the highest dune of the valley, enjoy fantastic views over its bizarrely shaped desert rocks and observe how the last rays of sunshine bathe the valley in bright shades of orange, red and violet.

Overnight at Hotel Ruka Zen (or similar) in San Pedro de Atacama. 105 km / 65 mi; 1,5 h. (-/-/-)

Day 2

Today you leave San Pedro and continue your journey to Argentina. The Andes crossing via the Jama Pass takes you through spectacular landscape. The day ends in the colorful village of Purmamarca, which is mainly inhabited by the Kollas people, descendants of the Inca.

Overnight at Hotel Los Colorado (or similar) in Purmamarca. 450 km / 280 mi; 6 h. (B/-/-)

Day 3-4: Purmamarca – Iruya

Day 3

Continue north to the village of Iruya, situated in the midst of majestic rock faces. The Kolla people that live here have kept their traditions alive for more than 250 years until today, including costumes and houses. The village with its narrow-cobbled streets lined by brick, stone and straw buildings possesses its very own charm.

Overnight at Hotel Iruya (or similar) in Iruya. 140 km / 87 mi; approx. 3 h. (B/-/-)

Day 4

Enjoy Iruya´s relaxed atmosphere and take things slow today. We recommend visiting the old Inca fortress Pukara de Titiconte. Overnight at Hotel Iruya (or similar) in Iruya. (B/-/-)

Day 5-6: Iruya – Tilcara – San Pedro de Atacama – Coyo

Day 5

Get on the road again and drive through stunning Andes landscape to the historic village of Tilcara. A visit to one of the many handicraft markets is obligatory here! 

Overnight at Guesthouse "Hostal Posada de Luz" or "Hostal Las Marias" (or similar) in Tilcara. (115 km / 70 mi; approx. 2,5 h) (B/-/-)

Day 6

After crossing the Andes via the Jama Pass once again, you return to Chile. Continue on to San Pedro de Atacama, where a special experience awaits: Stay with a local family in the nearby Atacameño community of Coyo for two nights. Overnight in Pension Haramaksi (or similar) in Coyo. (480 km / 300 mi; 7 h) (B/-/-)

Day 7-8: Coyo – San Pedro de Atacama – Calama

Day 7

Today you have the opportunity to participate in a two-hour-hike with llamas on ancient Inca Trails. The Atacama Salt Lake is a worthwhile destination for a day trip as well. 

Overnight at Pension Haramaks (or similar) in Coyo. (B/-/-)

Day 8

After breakfast, drive back to Calama Airport and drop off your rental car here. You have the option to continue your journey from here or to take a connecting flight back home via Santiago. 90 km / 55 mi; 2 h. (B/-/-)


  • Accommodation: 7 nights in the above accommodation
  • Meals: 7 x breakfast
  • 7 days car rental incl. CDW with 300 USD deductible, unlimited mileage
  • Rental car category F2 (JEEP NISSAN XTRAIL AUTOMATIC or similar)
  • Airport Service Charge
  • Permission Argentina for 15 days
  • Programmed GPS


  • Single supplement: extra charge p.p. 700 USD
  • Not appointed meals and beverages
  • Optional trips
  • Tips/gratuity
  • Local payments
  • International and domestic airfare
  • Travel insurance is not included in this tour. Travel insurance is mandatory to buy.

Departure Dates & Prices

01.01.2024 - 31.12.2024
daily from 1 person; on request
from 1.890 USD
01.01.2025 - 31.12.2025
daily from 1 person; on request
from 1.890 USD



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