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Aymaras The Ancient Culture In Northern Chile Tour

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Within the following days, we will be introduced to the traditions of the Aymara people. Together with members of the indigenous community of the Altiplano Highlands and the coast of Arica we will learn about . .
Country: Chile
City: Arica
Duration: 6 Day(s) - 5 Night(s)
Tour Category: Ethnic Tours
Departure Date: Thu 01 Jan '99
Package Itinerary

Within the following days, we will be introduced to the traditions of the Aymara people. Together with members of the indigenous community of the Altiplano Highlands and the coast of Arica we will learn about their agriculture and the weaver handicrafts.

We will be present when there will invoke the two most important gods for these people, Pachamama and Inti Tata during religious ceremonies. Our tour will lead us to unique settings like the Lauca National park – without any doubt one of the most beautiful parks in Chile and the famous Chungará Lake, the highest lake on earth.

Day 01 - ARICA

Welcome to the airport and transfer to the Hotel in Arica, where we will have time for lunch in case of early arrival. In the afternoon we will make a circuit to the most important attractions of the city, including the Plaza Colon, the San Marco Cathedral, the house of culture, and the fishermen’s wharf. The tour ends with a visit to Morro Hill, which offers a marvelous panoramic view of the city.


Today we leave Arica to get to know the close by Azapa Valley. We will make the first stop at the vegetable market, where the indigenous people of the valley do offer the products of the valley. Here it is officially allowed to buy and consume the leaves of the Coca plant, which the Aymara do use in order to protect themselves from mountain sickness.

The tour continues towards the ancient street of the Sombrero Hill, passing by the Geoglyphs of Alto Ramírez (showing people and animals like camels, snakes, and lizards) for a visit to the highly interesting archeological museum of San Miguel, where we will find some mummies of the Chinchorro Culture, which are some of the oldest mummies of the world.

In the afternoon we will arrive in the Azapa Valley, where we will have the opportunity to help the Aymara people with their harvest of fruits and vegetables as Papaya or Tomato. We will learn a lot about their traditional techniques, but also about the introduction of new procedures as for example the „drop by drop irrigation“ which enabled the cultivation of significantly bigger surfaces within the Azapa Valley during the last years. ( B, L)

Day 03 - ARICA - BELEN

Today we will leave the city in order to get to the small village of Belen, approximately 133 km from Arica and at an altitude of 3.240 meters above sea level. On the way, we will visit the Lluta Valley including its Geo- and Petroglyphs and the Canyon of Cardona. At midday, we will arrive in Belén.

The village was founded in 1625 by the Spaniards and does have 140 inhabitants. At midday, we will hike to the Pukará of Huaihuarani, a fortress of the Pre-Inca Age in its original condition without any restoration, about 6 km west of Belen and declared as a historic monument in 1983. From here we will have an excellent view of the traditional terrace cultivation with crops and sweet corn.(B,L;D )

Overnight with an Aymara Family in Belén


After a familiar breakfast, we continue to travel to Socoroma, another picturesque Aymara community in the Pre-Andes at 2.800 meters of altitude. Here do live 130 inhabitants which do predominantly live from the Alfalfa and Oregano Terrace Cultivation. From Socoroma we will continue to Putre, one of the most important cities in the Chilean part of the High-Andes – the Altiplano. It was founded in 1580 and does have 1.200 inhabitants.

On our arrival, we will be welcomed according to the Aymara tradition by Yatiri („The Knowing“ = Shaman of the Aymara), who will hand us over a hand-loom wrought textile bag filled with Coca leaves.

These leaves will be used in a subsequent ceremony when the Yatiri invokes Natural forces (the Pachamama = mother earth) and their ancestors. During this ceremony, we do concentrate infertility of plants, animals, and human beings. Apart from this, it will be asked for protection and well-being in return for the Coca leaves, which we will hand over to Pachamama for nutrition. (B,L;D)


Departing from Putre we will visit the Lauca National Park, which was declared Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in the year 1981. On the way will make a stop at an Apacheta, a ceremonial site, which is used for centuries for religious purposes by Lama-caravans. Here we will leave a stone as a gesture of gratitude for the guardian spirits of the Andes- highlands.

Soon we do arrive in the village of Parinacota, one of the most beautiful villages of the High-Andes with Pre-Hispanic origin with a very well preserved church of catholic missioners, which was declared a national monument. Here we will find the administration of the Lauca National Park and the visitors center.

This is the starting point of an appealing hiking trek to the Chungará Lake, which is at an altitude of 4.517 meters and therefore one of the most elevated lakes in the world. During our picnic, we will enjoy the view of the volcanoes Parinacota and Pomerape. In the afternoon we will visit the small village Chucuyo, where we will have the opportunity to participate in the fabrication of textiles in the traditional way before we do return to Putre.( B,BL,D)

Day 06 - PUTRE - ARICA

After breakfast, we will drive back from Putre to Arica and the airport. It is recommendable to take an evening flight from Arica.

Min 2 People

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