Atacama Desert Tours
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Atacama Desert Tours

Atacama Desert tours usually start from the pretty town of San Pedro de Atacama in the north of Chile, close to the borders with Bolivia and Argentina. Stay at least three nights in the Atacama and take tours into the desert each day. Atacama tours offer an adventurous vacation in the world’s driest desert, with diverse landscapes and beautiful scenery. We recommend travelers include these tours while in the Atacama Desert:

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Moon & Death Valley tour – a perfect introduction to the Atacama Desert, if you arrive into San Pedro in the afternoon, you can take this tour on your first day. View the eroded desert badlands. Test drives for the Moon and Mars rover expeditions took place here. Explore Moon Valley’s ridges, the salt caves, and the sand dunes, while watching the sunset. Atacama Salt Flats tour – this tour takes you to a subterranean lake that has sunk and become a salt flat. Nearby are the lagoons of Miscanti and Miniques. You’re likely to spot flamingoes, coots, grebes, and other birds. Also stop at the town of Tocanao, which was built using volcanic stone for much of its architecture. Tatio Geysers tour – take this trip early in the morning, when the geysers are most active. Plumes of smoke rise up out of the ground, some over 7 meters tall. Wrap up warm as this tour starts before dawn and reaches an altitude of over 4300 meters (14,000 feet) so temperatures can be very low. A great addition to this trip is a swim at the Puritama hot springs. Atacama Desert Stargazing tour – the desert usually has extremely clear skies making this a perfect place for an astronomy tour. Visit an observatory where you can view the stars through telescopes and learn how to read a sky map.

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Read on for more tour options and tips on planning a trip to the Atacama Desert. All our Atacama Desert tour packages can be completely customized to your travel interests and preferences.

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Top 11 Atacama Desert Tours & San Pedro de Atacama Hotels


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Depending on your interests and how long you are staying in San Pedro de Atacama, you may enjoy taking some extra tours to these places:

The Pukara de Quitor fortress was built into the side of the cliff and watches over the San Pedro river valley. The Tulor village and the Pukara de Lasana are also interesting to visit. These ruins are well-preserved because the arid climate has prevented deterioration over the centuries. The Padre Le Paige Archaeological Museum features artifacts gathered from throughout the region, many collected by a Jesuit priest for which the museum was named. Padre Le Paige spent much of his life researching the Atacameno people and cataloging thousands of artifacts found in the 1950s. Visit the Cejar Lagoon, a beautiful turquoise lagoon rimmed with salt. Often you’ll see flamingos and other migratory birds roosting here.

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Atacama Desert Travel FAQ’s

Thinking about an Atacama Desert trip? Here’s a list of frequently asked questions we often hear from our guests.

How far is Atacama desert from Santiago?

The most popular area of the Atacama Desert is around San Pedro de Atacama. This is a two-hour flight from Santiago to Calama, then an hour by road to get to this attractive desert town and tourist hub. Once in San Pedro de Atacama, there is a wide choice of day trips into the desert.

How do you to get to the Atacama Desert?

Given the long thin nature of Chile and large distances, most travelers will take a flight to get to the Atacama Desert. Calama is the most commonly used airport and has several flights a day from Santiago as well as flights from Lima a few times a week. Other areas of the Atacama Desert can be reached from the cities of Iquique, Arica, and Antofagasta.

What region of South America is desert?

The main desert region of South America is along the Pacific Coast. This includes most of the north of Chile where the Atacama Desert is found and all of Peru’s coastline. There are other smaller desert regions in South America too, including the Tatacoa Desert and La Guajira – both in Colombia.
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Click your preferences: Destinations & Activities. Be as specific or general as you like - or click Help Me Decide! We'll spice it with hidden gems & personal tips to create your perfect trip.

Choose Amazon destinations (optional)
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Choose Bolivia destinations (optional)
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Choose Paraguay destinations (optional)
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