Off The Beaten Path Atacama: An Exploration Of Festivals And Culture
A diversity of culture and landscape that is unmatched in the world, Chile will dazzle the eye and move the soul. Come and journey with us in the magical land and connect with ancient traditions of all kinds.
This experience takes you to the mystical land of the Atacama Desert to immerse yourself in the culture and landscape of this unique region. Gaze at the stars under dark skies that are unmatched in the world and peer deep into the heart of the universe. You will connect with the Lickan Antay people who have called this region home for thousands of years. Learn of the ancient caravan that has moved across the desert for generations and see how life lives in balance with the natural world.
On this journey you will also take part in the Ayquina Virgin Festival. This
is a very special festival where local communities gather together to sing, dance and celebrate the apparition of the Virgin Mary to a child in the little village of Ayquina. For three days you will be immersed in this celebration and connect deeply with what brings all these communities together.
Close the experience exploring a seldom visited region in the Atacama area, the coast region of Chañaral de Aceituno. This coastal desert is unique in landscape and culture and is a place that few travelers visit. Enjoy the ocean and lifestyle connected to the water.
World Indigenous Tourism Alliance Partnership
The World Indigenous Tourism Alliance (WINTA) was incorporated on March 27, 2012, in the Larrakia Nation in the Northern Territories of Australia. The organization was created from the global, collective aspirations of Indigenous interests in tourism and is an Indigenous initiative that is based on key human Indigenous rights including the rights to self-determination, self-governance, and the right to maintain and develop their own distinct institutions and to maintain and develop cross-border contacts critical to maintaining their communities and cultures.
Today, WINTA is established to facilitate future international partnerships on behalf of six Indigenous tourism associations. As as a non-profit, the organization is guided by a Leadership Council and operated by a dedicated team of volunteers.
PROVIDING A FORUM FOR MEANINGFUL INDIGENOUS TOURISM DEVELOPMENT
The World Indigenous Tourism Alliance (WINTA) was founded to create and support an international network of indigenous individuals and groups dedicated to tourism development. WINTA is committed to cooperatively developing and implementing strategies for the advancement of indigenous tourism. The organization works within the tourism industry in ways that promote partnerships and heightened respect for indigenous wisdom, values and knowledge.
The creation of WINTA is the result of years of discussions by Indigenous and non-Indigenous tourism leaders who share the same belief that a tourism industry based on universal Indigenous values provides the opportunity for improved global social, environmental and economic outcomes, not just for Indigenous peoples, but for all peoples.
Lickan Antay Ancestral Caravan
Today you will take part in a generations old tradition of the llama caravan and be guided across the desert to understand this ancient way of life. You will learn about the culture and history of the Lickan people, how they lasted for generations in this rough environment, from growing crops, to farm animals, and how the llama caravan has helped them prosper.
It is in the intimate company of our fellow human beings that we find the most profound connections and meaningful experiences. This is especially true when we seek to connect with others whose life is much different than our own.
Ways To Connect
For truly transformative experiences to take place it is important to be intentional about connecting with people and place. A few ways to open up that opportunity are:
- Dive In: Open yourself up to new experiences and always be ready to something new, even if it feels foreign or unfamiliar
- Be Open: Share your story with your hosts, be open about your life and share who you are with the people you meet.
- Listen And Ask: Travel experiences are best when they are reciprocal so make sure to leave room for your new friends to share their story as well.
- Reflect: Make time in your day to reflect on what you are seeing and doing, to make meaning from your experience. This is a chance for personal growth and transformation to take place.
- You will have the opportunity to experience a totally different way of life, to immerse yourself in a culture and a land that has so much to offer. All that is required is for you to be open to it.
Overnight at Haramaksi
Festival Virgen de Ayquina
Travel to the town of Chiu Chiu for your introduction to the grand festival of the Atacama. For the next three days you will be given the chance to participate and learn about the festival Virigen De Ayquina. This is very special time when 40,000 indigenous communities gather together to celebrate the Virigen Guadalupe. There will be singing, dancing, and beautiful food and colors from all over the region.
Day 1: We will head up in the valley towards Lasana. There we will enjoy a delicious lunch with products of this incredible oasis’ orchards. In the afternoon, we will visit the Pukará (old fortress), built around 1000 years ago. Then, we will go back to Chiu-Chiu and prepare for our first immersion into Ayquina. Join the festival in the evening for an introduction to the music, dances, traditional costumes and colors.
Day 2: In the morning you will visit Caspana, a Chilean locality famous for its crops in Andean
terraces and the beautiful canyon it is nested in. Upon arrival, we will be met by our local
guide who will walk us around town and to some nice view-points where we will learn about the story of the village and its inhabitants. At midday, we will get back to town for a
nice lunch between the orchards. In the afternoon, we will head for Ayquina and take part in day 2 of the festival. Get your senses ready for an unforgettable display of colors, music and energy. Enjoy an amazing sunset with music and dances by the Christ figure that looks after the town. Then, have dinner in the local restaurants and get ready for the night activities. At twelve o’clock at night, the sky is lit up by fireworks, welcoming the Patrona de Ayquina’s day on the 8th of September.
Day 3: In the morning you will enjoy the most important day of the festival. Thousands arrive to
Ayquina to take part of the religious dances in gratitude to the virgin. These dances may
last all day long, starting with the most important procession in the morning, when people
take the figure of the Virgin around the village and up outside the gorge to meet the statue
of Jesus outside the town. We will follow this amazing peregrination and then go to the Turi
oasis to have lunch.
In the afternoon, after a nice swim at the Turi baths, take a walk at the archeological
monument, Pucará de Turi, an ancient fortress as old as the one in Lasana.
In the evening, we will enjoy our farewell dinner in Chiu Chiu and then go to Calama’s bus
station to take a night bus to Vallenar.