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Atacama Desert

Fast Facts

  • Location: Located in the far north end of Chile in South America.
  • Attraction Type: Desert.
  • Significance: Driest place in the world.
  • Best time to Visit: October to June.
  • Visiting Hours: During the daytime. Best is at dawn.
  • How to Reach: You need to come at Calama first. El Loa International Airport of Calama is connected to a number of destinations in Chile and outside. Calama is connected to San Pedro by a wonderful highway.
  • Nearest Airport: El Loa International Airport (CJC).
Want to dip your hands into the water in the driest place in the world? Believe it or not, you can find water even in the driest place in the world. Come to Atacama Desert and experience one of the unique things that one can ever find in this world. An almost rainless plateau in South America, Atacama Desert is the driest desert in the world, full of unique features. Unlike other familiar deserts, Atacama Desert has in fact pretty cool climate with an average temperature between 0oC and 25oC. The remarkable landscape that looks pretty like surface of the moon has been attracting huge visitors from all parts of the world.

Atacama Desert is located in the far north end of Chile in South America covering almost 966 km strip of land of the Pacific coast. The hub of the desert is San Pedro de Atacama, located in El Loa Province in Antofagasta Region and is known as one of the most popular tourist attractions in Chile. This is also the place where you need to step in to explore Atacama. The amazing lagoons, 'Salar de Atacama' — the largest salt lake in the world, the moon-like landscapes, some of the best geysers in the world, oasis, colonial towns — Atacama Desert is a wonder in the world with its range of unique features.

Things to Do

Your visit to Atacama Desert will start from and also revolve around San Pedro de Atacama — the hub of the Atacama Desert. As the place is full of unique features, travelers have a lot to do and explore here. So, go on and enjoy the place.

San Pedro de Atacama:

San Pedro de Atacama itself is a wonderful town, located about 100 km southeast of Calama. Visit the significant archeological museum, the R. P. Gustavo Le Paige Archaeological Museum where you will find a huge collection of relics and artifacts. Also visit the church and the commercial street of San Pedro to meet the villagers.

Salar de Atacama and Toconao:

Salar de Atacama, the largest salt lake in the world, is undoubtedly one of the major attractions of this area. Located at the south of San Pedro, Sala de Atacama offers tourist some of the best views of the region. On your way, you will also have some good sights of the volcanoes Licancabur and Lascar. Also visit Toconao and see the famingos.

Valley of the Moon:

Valley of the Moon is an awesome attraction for the tourists where one can find the landscape pretty similar to the moon. The enormous natural coliseum would surely make you amaze. Go up to the huge dune to see some wonderful views of the region.

El Tatio Geysers:

It is a popular geyser located in the Los Andes Cordillera. Don't miss the opportunity to bath here. Do carry warm clothing, bathing suit, towel, sun block and mineral water.

Other Attractions:

There are also a number of other attractions that you must pay visit. Termas de Puritama is a volcanic hot springs with falls and pools. Visit the ruins of the Pukarí¡ in Pukarí¡ de Quitor located over the Quitor hill, 3 km from San Pedro. The mountainous and sandy 'Death Valley' is another attraction which is known for natural sculptures. Also visit Lagunas Altiplanicas and Ruinas de Tulor.


There are a number of hotels in San Pedro de Atacama. Some of those can be named as below:

Ayllíº de Larache, Domingo Atienza S/N
Tel: +56-2-2066060

Hotel Altiplí¡nico
Domingo Atienza 282
Tel: +56-55-851212

Hosterí­a San Pedro de Atacama
Toconao 460
Tel: +56-55-851011

Related Links : Check out the absolutely unbelievable stark and arid beauty of the Atacama Desert in this wonderful travel video!


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