September 23 – 27, 2015
We used Mayuru Tours for a 5 day/4 night trip through the Chilean Altiplano from Arica to San Pedro de Atacama. Overall the private tour was well organized, the guide/ driver was courteous and professional and the Altiplano beautiful.
Planning – For our travels through the Chilean Altiplano I was looking for a company to get us from Arica in the very far north of Chile to the popular desert gateway of San Pedro de Atacama. Not many companies service this area and it was difficult to find a company that would answer my emails. Even the folks at Mayuru Tours would take more than a week to respond. With a little persistence, however, we were able to arrange a tour that met our needs. I should also mention that the tour was one of their set itineraries with very little deviation. On the plus side, they do have numerous options to choose from.
Guide – Francisco was extremely professional and courteous. He spoke only Spanish, but spoke slowly and clearly such that even Don who speaks very little Spanish, was able to understand most things he said without my translating them by the end of the trip.
Itinerary – This was a driving tour, so there were a lot of hours in the car. The landscape is beautiful, but it’s a lot of short stops. Many of the sights are not must-sees, but if you are interested in this area of Chile it is a good way to see it. They sent us a detailed itinerary, in English, with what we would see each day. Any minor deviations in this itinerary were discussed with us beforehand. Also beware that several days are at high altitude, so it is wise to acclimate before beginning this trip.
Food and Accommodations – This is not a high-end tour. Hotels and restaurants in this region are basic. I think they arranged the best that they could, but there just isn’t much to choose from. That said, rooms were generally clean and comfortable and the food fine.
Transportation – The vehicle was a 4×4 Toyota Hilux, comfortable, in good condition and able to handle the rough roads. We had no transportation difficulties. Francisco was an excellent driver. In fact he had driven trucks for the mining companies for many years before becoming a tour driver and had an intimate knowledge of the roads, hotels and restaurants along the route.
Cost and Payment – We paid 733USD/person. This covered most everything except for a few small entry fees and dinner in Pica. The same tour with an English speaking guide would have cost 956USD/person. No deposit was required. We paid in cash when we met our guide and driver on the first morning.
Final Thought – I would definitely use Mayuru Tours again and think that overall the trip was a good value for the money.