The Atacama Desert is a mesmerizing and desolate expanse that stretches across the northern region of Chile, encompassing approximately 105,000 square kilometers of arid terrain. Renowned as the non-polar driest desert on Earth, it hosts an otherworldly landscape that appears to be plucked from the surface of an alien planet. With its parched, barren plains, rugged salt flats, and hauntingly beautiful sand dunes, the Atacama Desert exudes an aura of mystery and isolation, making it a captivating destination for adventurers and scientists alike.
The gateway to the desert is the enchanting town of San Pedro de Atacama. A fusion of ancient traditions and modern tourism, this oasis town offers a respite from the arid wilderness that envelops it. Cobblestone streets lined with adobe houses, quaint cafes, and artisanal shops exude a laid-back atmosphere, while the distant Andean peaks and expansive salt flats serve as a constant reminder of nature’s grandeur. As a gateway to some of the desert’s most remarkable attractions, including the ethereal Valle de la Luna (Valley of the Moon) and the otherworldly geysers of El Tatio, San Pedro de Atacama has become a mecca for adventurers and stargazers.
Beyond its unique terrain, the Atacama Desert serves as a sanctuary for stargazers and astronomers. Its high altitude, clear skies, and negligible light pollution make it an unparalleled location for celestial observations. Dotted with world-class observatories, such as the European Southern Observatory (ESO) and the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA), this vast desert becomes a hub for cutting-edge research and the exploration of our universe’s most profound mysteries. The Atacama Desert’s breathtaking vistas, extreme conditions, and scientific significance combine to create an awe-inspiring and otherworldly landscape that leaves visitors with an indelible sense of wonder and reverence.
Our favorite accommodations in Atacama
Recommended itineraries featuring the Atacama Desert
Wild Patagonia meets the lunar landscapes of the Atacama and lush wine valley of Millahue
Marvel at the mysterious Moai up-close and navigate the moon-like landscapes of the Atacama Desert