Wedged between the Pacific and the Andes, the remote and strikingly beautiful Atacama is the highest and driest desert in the world. Largely wild, desolate and studded with shimmering lagoons, craggy peaks and active volcanoes, the Atacama Desert packs a wealth of spell-binding terrain, which will leave you totally in awe and eager to explore.
Located in the north of Chile, the Atacama Desert is extremely contrasting to the reminder of the country. With its dry and barren terrain, it hosts an array of lunar-like landscapes found nowhere else on earth. Rusty-coloured ravines, multi-coloured rock formations and the vast open Altiplano, form a natural playground. Wander among dozens of spurting geysers at El Tatio, home to the highest geysers in the world. Marvel at the immense Salar de Atacama, the largest salt pan in Chile and home to a plethora of flamingos. Watch the sunset over the other-worldly rock formations at the Moon Valley. Soak in the Puitama hot springs or sand board down giant dunes in Death Valley. Exploring this spectacular region on foot, mountain bike, horse-back or by jeep, offers endless opportunity to enjoy a huge array of exhilarating experiences as well as getting under the skin of its awe-inspiring scenery.
With its clear desert nights and lack of light pollution, the Atacama Desert is one of the best places in the world to stargaze. Thousands of stars litter the night sky and the pale mist of the Milky Way glistens in the distance. With so much clarity into the outer universe, it is understandable that three of the most important observatories on earth can be found here. Stargazing with an astrologist is a truly unforgettable experience and a must during your time in this region.
At the heart of the desert is the charming oasis town of San Pedro de Atacama, which serves as the base for all explorations. With its adobe-style architecture and narrow sandy streets, the town is rich in character and oozes a laid-back atmosphere. Crafts, textiles and arty wares can be found at the local market and a number of quaint cafes and restaurants line the streets. Visiting the traditional adobe churches, archaeological sites and Father LePaige Museum around the town, provide a glimpse into the town’s cultural heritage which goes back almost 10,000 years.
Rich in dazzling landscapes and bursting with a variety of things to see and do, this corner of Chile ticks all the boxes and is undoubtedly one of the country’s unmissable highlights. We highly recommend spending between three to five days here, and with our carefully hand-picked range of lodges and expert guides you can be sure to maximise your Atacama experience.