Atacama Desert Tours
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Full moon hangs over Atacama Desert
Full moon hangs over Atacama Desert

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.

Update: Chile Covid-19 Travel – Chile is open for travel again!
Chile is open to tourists without the need for quarantine. We’re ready to arrange your trip! Read More ⌄

Top 11 Atacama Desert Tours & San Pedro de Atacama Hotels


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Atacama Desert Travel FAQs

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.

When is the best time to visit Atacama?

Atacama Desert tours run year-round. Most of the year the skies are clear and sunny. June to August is considered winter in the Atacama and this brings the lowest temperatures with nights and early mornings often below freezing, the strong sun raises temperatures to around 20°C by day. In summer, from December to February, nights are less cold, but still take warm clothing. Day time temperatures are around 24°C on average. Occasionally in January and February, heavy rain moves in from the Andes and can impact on tours.
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Choose Paraguay destinations (optional)
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for
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Covid-19 Update: Chile has begun reopening!

Entry requirements:
Currently travelers are required to quarantine for 10 days on arrival.
Negative PCR test, taken maximum 72 hours before travel
Complete an online sworn statement from 48 hours before travel
Health insurance including Covid-19 cover
Currently all travelers must enter through Santiago international airport
Further travel details can be found on Chile.travel
More entry requirements info at IATA Travel Centre
Flights:
Most international flights have resumed, including from the USA and Europe, though not yet from Australia and New Zealand
Domestic flights are operating
Local laws:
The current status of each area of Chile can be found here. This is based on the daily numbers of infections. We recommend visiting areas under levels 3, 4 and 5.
There is currently a countrywide curfew from midnight to 5 am.
Updated Dec 31, 2020

Elsewhere in South America:

CountryOpen without quarantine?Covid-19 test required before travel?
BrazilYesYes (PCR)
ColombiaYesYes (PCR)
EcuadorYesYes (PCR)
BoliviaYesYes (PCR)
ParaguayYesYes (PCR or LAMP)
GuyanaYesYes (PCR)
Peru14 day quarantine in place until Jan 31, 2021.Yes (PCR or antigen)
ChileOpen to travelers though 10 day quarantine currently required.Yes (PCR)
ArgentinaCurrently not open to most travelers until Jan 31, 2021.Yes (and again on arrival)
UruguayNoYes (PCR)
VenezuelaNo-
SurinameNo-
French GuianaNo-
FalklandsNo-
Updated Jan 4, 2021
See IATA Travel Centre for more detail