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THE ATACAMEÑO PEOPLE
Lican Antay
(Elisa Pistán)


"Distantes casas de paja y barro
y en el fondo volcanes ,
Montañas grises, dibujan el paisaje
El sol, un manto de alegría
Acaricia tus pueblos,
Con pasos de hombre milenarios,
El viento borro sus pisadas
Para descansar en la sombra
Tendida como alfombra.
Los aires emergen el Licancábur
Y los rayos de fuego del Lascar
Con las dulces melodías del Tatio
Licanantay: grande hermoso y majestuoso
Imagen eterna, fuerza del sol naciente
Que perdura en cada rostro
De un niño Licanantay"


The region of the Lickan-Antay Culture, which was later called "Atacama" by the Spanish Conquerors, was populated by hunter-gatherer about 12.000 years ago, in the area from the salt lake of Atacama up to the altitudes of the Andes.

The first settlers continued to develop themselves and formed the San Pedro Culture, which flourished between 500 B.C. until 300 A.C. around the oasis of Toconao. The most important part of the development of the Lickan Antay culture took part between 300 and 900 A.C., when numerous small communities where formed around the oasis.

Previous to the Inca domination in the 15th century the Lickan-Antay Culture was strongly influenced by the Tiwanaku Culture. The arrival of the Spanish Conquerors preluded the downfall of the Lickan-Antay Culture and their language, the Kunza.

Since some years the ancestral rights and the traditional customs of these people are revived by their successors in order to maintain their culture.

Today, Toconao is well known because of its stone buildings of volcanic material and its craftsmanship. Its 600 inhabitants do not only live from handicraft, but also from fruit –growing, mining and tourism. The revival of the traditions one can experience mainly in Toconao and in the Ayllu communities around San Pedro de Atacama, called Coyo, Socaire, Sequitor, Solor and Vilama.

   


TOURISM PROGRAM

ATACAMEÑO EXPERIENCES 
(4 Days / 3 Nights)

This diverse 4-day Program will allow us a unique insight view into the rituals, traditions and the way of live of the Atacameño Culture (also called Lickan-Antay Culture). Accompanied by the inhabitants of the Andean Community we will visit the attractions of the region, the Atacama Salt Lake, the Moon Valley, the Natural Reserve Los Flamencos as well as the mystical sites of these people, whose ancestors settled in the oases of this driest desert of the world already thousands of years ago. 


Day 01 - CALAMA – SAN PEDRO – AYLLU COYO 
(Including dinner)

Arrival at the airport Calama and transfer to San Pedro de Atacama, a varicolored and unusual village, 2.300 meters above sea level and surrounded by a wonderful green oasis. Around San Pedro there are many small villages with indigenous Atacameño communities (or Lick-Antay communities as it would be in the original Kunza language.) These villages are called Ayllus – in Kunza this expresses the organized structure of neighborly help, based on the estate rights of their ancestors and focused on the importance of communitarian cooperation. 

In San Pedro we will find a variety of small and cozy restaurants and we will have some time to eat lunch or a snack. Subsequently we will drive about 5 km to the southwest in order to visit the community Ayllu of Coyo. After arrival we will visit two Atacameño-Families, who will lead us through their tracks and paths, showing the local irrigation system and livestock breeding. They will also show us the typical Atacameño handicraft production. The sale of their products is hard through the import of foreign goods (usually Bolivian and Peruvian) on local markets. 

Accommodation with an Atacameño Family


Day 02 - MOON VALLEY & ATACAMA SALTLAKE 
(Breakfast, lunch and dinner)

During forenoon we will visit the impressing Moon Valley (Valle de la Luna). It is about 18 km west of San Pedro and part of the national Reserve Los Flamencos, which is administrated by the community of San Pedro. This surreal place, one of the most spectacular of the Atacama Desert, is called this way because of its unique geological formations, which resemble the moon landscape strongly. Here we will explore this beautiful landscape and visit these strange sculptures created by nature out of Salt and Clay. 

After lunch we will visit the Lakes Laguna Tebenquiche and the Laguna Céjar (Receding Lagoon), which are in the northern part of the Atacama Salt Lake. The Salt Lake was created millions of years ago through the upheaval of the Andes Cordillera and the Domeyko Cordillera. It is fascinating to observe the octagonal Salt crusts in the middle of the driest desert of the world. Here we can also observe 3 different kinds of Flamingos which do nourish themselves with the Salt Brine of the Lake. 

To conclude the day we will have an extraordinary pleasure at the Laguna Céjar: because of the high concentration of minerals we will be able to swim in the water without moving. 

Accommodation with an Atacameño Family.


Day 03.- TRADITIONS UND CUSTOMS OF THE ATACAMEÑOS 
(Breakfast and lunch)

Today we will concentrate completely on the traditions and culture of the Atacama people. In the morning we will experience a unique event, the traditional caravan. This hike with Lamas enables us to experience this ancient manner of locomotion in the desert from hundreds of years ago, meanwhile our guide explains us a lot about this symbolic animal of the Andes. 

Afterwards we will visit the community Ayllu Vilama in the Cordillera de la Sal (Salt Cordillera) with an old watermill, which is used by the villagers since over a century. Here we can also interactively cooperate with the member of the community and do some of their daily work. On our way back we will enjoy views on the Cordillera de la Sal, an impressing mountain chain with folded Sedimentary Rock and Salt deposits.

In the evening we will participate in a cosmic event: Members of the Atacameño Community will introduce us into the world of the Andean astronomy, and the antique systems of the Lickan Antay for orientation in the desert. We will get to know techniques to use the cosmic energy in order to regulate our own energy of life. 
Our last night we will stay in San Pedro in a quiet, stylish and cozy Hotel at the border of the village. 

Overnight in Hotel Altiplanico ****


Day 04.- SAN PEDRO - CALAMA 
(Breakfast)

After breakfast we will say goodbye to our hosts and we will be transferred to the airport in Calama. 
There is the possibility to extend the stay for a visit of the El Tatio Geyser or the Chuqicamata mine, the biggest Coppermine of the world.
 

 

 
         
         
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