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Atacama Desert: A Must-Visit for Adventure Seekers

Updated: Jun 10

Atacama Desert

Characteristics of Atacama

Discover the unique beauty of the Atacama Desert! One of the most fascinating destinations in the world. With stunning landscapes and rich culture, the Atacama Desert offers an unmissable experience.

The Atacama Desert is located in the northern region of Chile, for more than 1,000 km along the Andes Mountains. It is one of the driest places, with an average annual rainfall of less than 1 millimeter. It is also one of the oldest deserts in the world.

Get ready for an incredible adventure! The climate in the Atacama Desert is dry, with blue skies and sunny most days. Temperatures can vary between day and night (from 10 to 15°). Explore spectacular landscapes, from the Salar de Atacama to the Valley of the Moon. There, rock formations and sand dunes create a unique and impressive lunar landscape.

Come and discover all the magic of the Atacama Desert!


Tulor Village: a village over 3 thousand years old. The first grouped communities lived there, dedicated to crafts, ceramics, and agriculture.

Pukara de Quitor: Part of the archaeological tour 3 km from San Pedro de Atacama. You can go by bike or on foot. It was built in the 12th century on a slope that forms part of the Salt Range. It was restored in 1981 and declared a National Monument in 1982.

Vale da Morte-Valley da Lua and Cordillera de Sal: Três Marias, Amphitheater, Puerta del Sol. Leave this tour for the afternoon, as the sunset there is a spectacle in itself. Observe the formation of rocks, listen to their crackling, and climb mountains.

Puritama Hot Springs: It is a hot river that comes out of the stone. The water temperature is generally 33 C, but it is worth to bathe.

Cejar Lagoon and Olhos de Salar: you can bathe in salt water and float without effort. The landscape is spectacular!

Tatio Geyser, with its columns of steam rising from the depths of the Earth. Located at 4200 meters above sea level, about 100 km from the city. It features some of the tallest geysers in the world. It is also the third largest geyser site on Earth, with over 80 active ones. On the way back, pass through the town of Machuca.

Salar de Atacama and Lagoas Altiplanicas: Miscanti and Miniques. Flemish observatory, the town of Toconao, and Socaire. Discover the group of lagoons at 4,220 meters above sea level, with impressive colors!

Rainbow Valley: Area of mountains of many colors (ochre, green, black, purple, coffee). A treat for the eyes.

Rio Grande- 90 km from San Pedro de Atacama towards Calama. The 96 natives of the village grow corn and vegetables and raise sheep and llamas. The buildings are of stones fitted with clay mortar, straw, and clay roofs with cactus wood beams.

Salar de Tara - At 4500 meters altitude (the highest point reaches 4900 meters). The path is long but well-paved. You can visit the Flamengos National Reserve, Monges de Pacana, the Cathedral, and the Tara salt lake. The fauna is abundant, and the landscape is stunning at all times.

Culture and History

Indigenous communities, such as the Atacameños, inhabited the Atacama Desert for thousands of years. These communities preserve a rich cultural heritage. They hold traditional festivals that celebrate the connection between nature and local people. The desert is also home to fascinating archaeological remains. Visit the Yerbas Buenas petroglyphs.

Hierbas Buenas - On the way to Rio Grande. This place, in pre-Hispanic times, was a resting place for caravans.

Other tours

Visit the Salar de Uyuni: it is the largest salt flat in the world, located on the border of Chile and Bolivia. The Salar is 450 km from San Pedro, requiring an extra 3/4 days to do this tour.

The Atacama Desert has clear and dark skies, making it one of the best places to stargaze. Walk to stargaze or find a dark place in the desert and look up.

Visit the Atacama Large Millimeter (ALMA): it is a radio telescope observatory. It is one of the most powerful telescopes in the world used by astronomers to study the universe. Admire the futuristic design!

The best time to visit the Atacama Desert

The Atacama Desert can be visited all year round. The best time is spring (September to November) or autumn (March to May). Temperatures are milder.

Special cares And Safety Tips

  • Adjust to the high altitude! The Atacama Desert is at a high elevation, so acclimate before engaging in physical activity.

  • Stay hydrated: The Atacama Desert is very dry! Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Don't forget a water bottle!

  • for nausea and headaches chew Coca leaf!

  • Use sunscreen to avoid sunburn.

  • Please respect the environment. The Atacama Desert is delicate, so do not leave any traces.

The Atacama Desert is an unforgettable destination, full of natural wonders. An opportunity to connect with nature and marvel at its grandeur.

Get ready for a fascinating journey! Surprise yourself with everything the Atacama Desert has to offer.

For a unique encounter with endemic species, extend your exploration to the Galapagos Islands and discover the natural beauty of Ecuador.

Where to stay

For those looking for comfort and luxury, Atacama offers many 5-star, all-inclusive hotel options. In general, they are far from the center. For an extra cost, you can book all the tours through the hotel, including transportation and a knowledgeable guide.

I recommend staying in San Pedro do Atacama, so you can enjoy the restaurants and bars in the city center at night. And book the tours from reliable sites like Viator.

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