The Atacama Desert ranks among the driest regions on earth, fifty times more arid than California’s Death Valley, with some regions having never had any recorded rainfall.
Located in the far north of Chile, it is a place of truly other-worldly landscape of towering volcanoes, flamingo frequented lagoons, salt-flats, geysers and shifting sand dunes. Indeed, the Atacama has been used to test Mars-bound NASA rovers and, thanks to its utter lack of weather, high altitude and low-to-zero light pollution, it is a stargazing haven home to the world’s most advanced observatories.
What’s more, despite its remote location and arid climate, the Atacama is home to a handful of luxury hotels. Based around the remote oasis town of San Pedro de Atacama, you can venture out and explore this incredible wilderness on foot, 4WD vehicle, horseback or mountain bike. The borders of both Bolivia and Argentina are relatively close by too, making it a great stop while exploring the great Salar de Uyuni and Argentina’s northwestern provinces of Jujuy and Salta.
When to go
October to December or March to May are great times to visit as you can enjoy the region in its more relaxed, tranquil and remote period. Due to potential heavy rains in February, we generally recommend not to visit the Atacama then.
What to do
- Visit the Tatio geysers
- Take a tour of the Moon and Death valley
- Explore the salt lakes in the region
- Star gazing
- Walk around the sleepy desert town of San Pedro de Atacama