Atacama Desert Travel
Experience adventure travel, luxury lodges, and some of the world’s best stargazing in the otherworldly Atacama Desert.
With its lunar landscapes, sense of ethereal wonder and no shortage of outdoor excursions to be enjoyed, the Atacama Desert is a truly unique destination which is unmatched anywhere else on earth. This, the driest desert on the planet, is home to ancient rock formations millions of years old, eternally clear night skies, boutique hotels and a surprising cultural heritage, all of which simply must be explored during any trip to Chile.
Set off for a sunrise tour of the evocative Moon Valley, with its otherworldly canyons and clifftop viewpoints. Head to the salt flats for jaw-dropping landscapes, float in a high-Andean lagoon and watch resident wildlife going about their day-to-day; pink Flamingos included. Unearth archaeological wonders in San Pedro de Atacama, and visit small, traditional villages that have flourished in the desert for many years. Get the adrenalin pumping on a mountain biking tour or volcano climb, and try your hand at horseback riding with the help of local experts. Experience the unique Atacama culture, sample Andean cuisine, and certainly don’t miss an opportunity for the best stargazing in the Southern Hemisphere.
However you choose to spend your time while in the Atacama Desert, it will be both momentous and memorable all at the same time. Largely, this is because in addition to the outdoor excursions, horse riding, hiking trails, lakes, 4x4 tours, atmospheric lodges, ancient caves and unforgettable sunset views; there is a sense of isolation, wonder and magic which fills the air while in these high-Andean plains, something which can only be experienced first-hand!
A must for any trip to Atacama, the Moon Valley is a dazzling place of beguiling geology and – you guessed it – lunar-like landscapes. The openness adds to its allure, allowing you to stand and watch as the light transforms rugged rocks into a rainbow of colour, particularly at sunset; without a doubt the best time to visit Valle de la Luna.
Altiplano salt flats and lagoons
The eye-popping Atacama Salt Flat sprawls for 3,000sq km, and is a wonder to behold. Splayed out beneath a cornflower-blue sky, this region is the star of many a guidebook cover, thanks to the salt flat’s striking contrast of colours and the nearby lagoons’ mirror-like qualities. These Altiplano lakes perfectly reflect the surrounding volcanoes in their still waters, interrupted only by the odd pink Flamingo here or there!
El Tatio Geysers
Witnessing this awesome sight requires a very early start, but no doubt it’s worth it. El Tatio is a geothermal field, where fumaroles are spurted up to six metres into the sky; and the best time to see them in all their glory? Sunrise, when the angle of light casts an ethereal glow on these clouds of steam. Be sure to check out the bubbling mud craters here, too!