Cactus in the Atacama Desert in Chile

Why visit the Atacama Desert?

The sheer starkness of the Atacama Desert in the north of Chile is one of awe-inspiring beauty.

A landmark of the El Norte Grande, the Atacama Desert boasts an incredible landscape of ragged, rocky mountains and ravines that are interspersed by a striking white salt pan and surrounded by towering volcanoes. It is a photographer’s dream destination.

As the world’s driest desert, the immense Atacama lives up to its title, with some areas registering not even a single raindrop in over 150 years. Sitting at an altitude of 3500m, the dramatic and desolate Atacama Desert boasts clear, unpolluted skies that allow for the most incredible, unforgettable stargazing.

Amongst the desolate landscapes is the quaint town of San Pedro de Atacama, which serves as a gateway to the desert’s main attractions:

  • El Tatio Geysers, the largest geyser field in the southern hemisphere, sits at an altitude of 4 300 m and boasts the most spectacular sunrises
  • The quaint desert town of Toconao
  • The Atacama Salt Flat, the largest salt flat in Chile
  • The Chaxa Lagoon at Los Flamencos National Reserve, with its Chilean and Andean flamingoes
  • The eerily beautiful Valley of the Moon and Mars Valley
  • The Puritama natural hot springs situated at the bottom of a deep desert canyon

Why Visit?

  • Breathtakingly scenic and diverse landscape that includes arid desert, striking salt flats, thermal pools, geysers, marshes, lagoons, towering volcanoes and a clear, limitless sky.
  • The laidback oasis town of San Pedro de Atacama, in the heart of the desert, offers a wide range of adventures.
  • Hailed as the archaeological capital of Chile, San Pedro was the cradle of the area’s ancestral cultures and its museums and ancient archaeological sites provide insight into the rich history.
  • Clear, unpolluted desert night skies allow for unrivalled and unforgettable stargazing.
  • The seemingly never-ending Salar de Atacama salt flat extends over 8 000 km2, where Andean flamingoes provide a beautiful pink contrast against the brilliant white landscape and azure sky.

Climate

Summer (January to March)
The average daily temperature is 27°C /81°F

Winter (June to August)
The average daily temperature is 19°C /66°F

Like any desert, although the seasons do not fluctuate much, the temperatures from day to night do change noticeably.

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