Atacama Desert

Desert, Archeology and Starry Skies

Northern Chile is home to the world’s most arid desert and its salt flats, hot springs and geysers as well as large deposits of copper and other minerals and mines in Chuquicamata, Calama and other parts of the altiplano. It also boasts fertile ravines and oases whose unique fruits make for excellent culinary tours and is inhabited by some of the country’s native peoples. Both Incan and Spanish influences can be seen in its villages and religious festivities, which attract visitors throughout the year.

Your visit to spots like San Pedro de Atacama will allow you to view valuable vestiges of native cultures at archeological sites and museums. Coastal cities like Arica, Iquique, Antofagasta, Coquimbo and La Serena will delight you with their beaches and warm, temperate climate. Winter in the desert is another story, however, as the temperature can go as low as 7ºC at night and as high as 26ºC during the day.

Near Copiapó, the desert becomes fertile thanks to the camancha, a mist that rises from the sea and allows for life to bloom in impressive natural reserves like the Pan de Azúcar and Fray Jorge National Parks. And you’ll find some of the country’s best wine and pisco valleys between the cities of Copiapó and La Serena (the latter 470 km from Santiago).

While northern Chile is known for its mining, it’s also home to a number of astronomical observatories. The most impressive – Cerro Paranal and the Alma Project –confirm the region’s status as a land of magical discovery.

Watch this video of Atacama Desert


Featured Destinations

Travelers and their stories in the Atacama Desert


History and News in Chile

Chile was chosen among one of the best places to travel solo around the world - Chile Travel

Chile was chosen among one of the best places to travel solo around the world

The Travel + Leisure magazine came up with a ranking of the 20 best places..

22/10/2014
Santiago dances! - Chile Travel

Santiago dances!

Santiago will be hosting two music festivals that gather crowds during November.  Festival Frontera and..

20/10/2014
Extreme racing on the Jeinimeni Route - Chile Travel

Extreme racing on the Jeinimeni Route

This spring brings a whole lot of extreme sports to Patagonia, while the days grow..

14/10/2014
View all News