Rutas del Desierto – Atacama Desert Trails
If you're thinking of visiting Chacabuco
or any of the other atmospheric former nitrate-mining ghost towns
of the Atacama desert in Chile
, then Rutas del Desierto, aka "Atacama Desert Trails", should be your first port of call for enquiries.
It's a small company, with its home office in Santiago de Chile
; tours can start from there or from Calama, the gateway to the Atacama, or Antofagasta, Arica or Iquique (whatever suits the client best). The Chacabuco/nitrate-ghost-town tours are run by Ricardo Pereira Viale, who is one of THE experts on the topic. In fact he was crucially involved in the development of the visitor commodification at the Chacabuco
site, in the form of the bilingual information panels that have been put up, as well as in putting together the small museum upstairs in the restored old theatre building. And he runs personalized tours, which are a superb extra service.
And here's an external link to the Rutas del Desierto main website
If you choose to use these services too and book a tour with Ricardo/Rutas del Desierto, then do say that you found them through dark-tourism.com (here's why
One more word of advice, though: since it's a small outfit I strongly recommend that you start planning well in advance! That way you can get maximum flexibility. Alternatively, you can simply go on one of the pre-arranged packages offered on the Rutas del Desierto website – although these are less specifically aimed at the dark tourist and take in a wider range of things. But maybe that's just what you're after!
For more specialized info on Chacabuco
and the industrial archaeology/history of the other former nitrate-mining towns you could also check out these external links to their other (background) website, called "Album Desierto
" – and especially this English-language chapter
dedicated to Chacabuco. (External links, as usual, open in new windows).