From the coastal cities in the north of Chile, the ancient trading routes of the Incas lead into the remoteness of the Andes and into the vastness of the Altiplano with its mountain villages, lakes and salt flats plus snow-covered volcanoes.
We commence our journey in Arica, the northernmost and fifth oldest city in Chile. In the sixteenth century, silver treasures from Potosi was transported by mule caravan and loaded onto Spanish ships.
The Valle De Azapa is a valley of the Rio San José that is a fertile oasis. The green valley and its many olive trees has a long history. The earliest people to live here grew crops and today the plantations contain olive trees, bananas, mangos, passion fruit and dates.
Putre, the only large settlement on the old Inca route, lies at an altitude of three thousand five hundred metres above sea level. It lies sheltered on a mountain ridge at the foot of the snow-covered peaks of the Andes. The plaza is the centre of the town’s administration and also contains the Iglesia De Putre that is said to have once been adorned with silver and gold.
Nature, highland oases and old mountain villages have all been a part of this fascinating journey. A journey that has reached its conclusion in the canyons of the Andes and which began in the Catholic coastal town of Arica, forming the splendid Ruta Del Altiplano!