Atacama Desert Back to Chile

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The majestic Andes, with snow-capped peaks and volcanoes, anchors one edge of the horizon and a red lunar-like desert bleeds in every other direction. But within the seemingly barren terrain of Chile’s Atacama Desert are pockets of great natural drama: red rock canyons, vast sand dunes, crystalline salt flats, ancient lava flows, hidden natural hot springs, the Tatio geysers, tracks of rare cacti as well as wildlife.

Cheat Sheet

  • Sleep…at Awasi, Atacama’s most luxurious property
  • Experience…the desert at night, one of the best places for stargazing
  • Splurge…on the three-bedroom cottage at Tierra Atacama
  • Eat….regional dishes that make use of quinoa, seafood and local vegetables
  • Drink…a Pisco Sour, the beverage of choice for many Chileans
  • Savor…the Turkish bath at the Alto Atacama
  • VisitMoon Valley, one of the driest and most stunning places on earth
  • Know…that as an Indagare member you can contact our Bookings Team for customized recommendations and itineraries

Newly Added:

Adobe, La Casona

Lay of the Land

“The landscape was one of overwhelming and threatening beauty, a world of refulgent light and sidereal shadows…in the mornings, the rising sun, distant and cold, painted the peaks tints of orange and crimson; in the evenings, the light disappeared as suddenly as it had dawned. ”
~Isabel Allende

Few places on earth are as dramatic in appearance as Chile’s Atacama Desert, which may be why it has been chosen for scenes in Space Odyssey and the James Bond movie Quantum of Solace. It is the world’s smallest, highest and driest desert—an outdoor paradise with incredible opportunities for hiking, biking, riding and exploring by day and night. In fact, it has been declared the best place in the world to stargaze due to its high elevation, dry climate and lack of light pollution.

Of course, these roles have raised its profile, but a collection of luxury hotels has also made the region attractive to sophisticated travelers. Indagare members can contact our Bookings Team for help selecting the right property.

When to Go

The weather is pleasant for outdoor activities year-round, with temperatures ranging from 72 to 81 during the day, and dropping to as low as 28 degrees during the winter evenings (July and August.) Since this is the desert, rain is rarely an issue, though sometimes showers bring wonderful sunsets, and it is always wise to wear plenty of sunscreen.

Getting There

From Santiago, take a two-hour flight to Calama in northern Chile. From the small airport in Calama, it’s about an hour drive to the town of San Pedro de Atacama, which sits at just above 8,000 feet (visitors should be careful about acclimatizing). The pueblo village, which has one main street of shops, bars and restaurants, is where the main luxury hotels are concentrated.

Or view all hotels in Chile

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Beyond… Atacama Desert

Consider combining your trip with one of these destinations.

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