Atacama

When to go

Jan-March

Ideal length

4 nights

Transfer time

1 hour flight from Patagonia

The Atacama Desert is the driest place on earth, offering amazing scenery, numerous activities, and year round good weather.  The best base for exploring the Atacama region is the town of San Pedro, made almost entirely of adobe brick – a mix of local mud and straw. The archaeological museum holds an extraordinary collection of artefacts, whilst its streets are lined with indigenous handicraft markets and its outskirts contain ancient ruins and thermal springs.

OUR FAVOURITE THINGS TO DO IN ATACAMA

EL TATIO GEYSERS

Considered the highest in the world at 4,125m (13,600ft), they provide a spectacular site as the daybreaks, and huge plumes of steam spout from the ground into the air. The geysers are surrounded by thermal springs, giving you the opportunity for an invigorating dip

VALLEY OF THE MOON

This unearthly wind sculpted scenery is most spectacular at sunset, and accessible on foot, horseback, mountain bike or vehicle. From your viewpoint, which overlooks the entire valley, you can enjoy an evening drink, as the sun sets, transforming the valley into an array of colours

ATACAMA SALT FLAT

An hour’s drive from San Pedro are the salt flats, amazing in themselves, they also offer the opportunity to see the Andean flamingos. En-route you visit the town of Toconao, a small local village with a quaint church (made of cactus wood), and an artisan market, giving you the chance to buy locally made products

STARGAZING

This is one of the best places in the world for stargazing due to the lack of artificial light. You need to time your visit to the region so it coincides with an empty moon though, but if you do, the rewards are spectacular!

VOLCANO CLIMB

There are various volcano climbs possible in the surrounding area, including, El Toco 5,600m, Lascar 5,400m and Licancabur 5,900m. Although they sound daunting, much of the journey to the summit can be achieved by vehicle, and the hike is only the latter section. Climbs themselves vary from 3-4 hours to 2-3 nights and include camping

SALAR DE TARA

A full day trip by 4×4 vehicle driving across this arid region at the base of the volcanoes. Superb scenery, where volcanoes have dumped strange formations of rocks in the middle of the desert, and the opportunity to swim in secluded hot springs with towering volcanoes above

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