Atacama Chile

Atacama Chile

Far from being a desolate, arid wilderness, the Atacama desert is overflowing with life. Its ancient cultures offer a warm welcome to modern travelers, and fertile oases sustain an astonishing diversity of life here in the world’s driest desert.

On the high Andean plateau, you’ll find small villages at up to 4,000 meters above sea level where timeless traditions linger in extreme and wonderfully photogenic settings.

Visit San Pedro de Atacama and explore its unique landscapes, quite unlike anywhere else on earth. Vast salt flats, active geysers and intense blue lagoons are just a few of the extraordinary features of this region.
Journey to the stars and learn more about the constellations in one of the many famed astronomical observatories in the northern half of Chile.

If you’re a fan of water sports or simply enjoy soaking up the sun, don’t miss the northern coastal region, with its exquisite sandy beaches, crystal clear waters and exquisite seafood.

Learn more here.

Come and discover with us the natural, cultural and adventure wonders that this territory has for you.

Contact us and get to know Chile with us.

 

So is! As you are reading, the World Travel Awards, which are known as the Oscar awards for tourism, has rewarded the Atacama Desert for the second consecutive year as the Best Romantic Destination in South America. A true oasis of nature and love in northern Chile!

It is not for less, because San Pedro de Atacama, the world’s most arid desert town, is a place to escape at any time of the year, with the clearest and purest skies in the world and a landscape of colors and reliefs Unique on our planet.

Surrounded by volcanoes, among which the highest volcano in South America stands out, the mythical Licancabur, geysers that allow us to feel the force of nature expelling water at high temperatures emerging from the depths of the earth, highland lagoons surrounded by native fauna and flora protected and completely natural hot springs. All this and much more! It makes the desert awarded with this important popular voting prize.

San Pedro de Atacama, a perfect place for your honeymoon
If you are one of those travelers who are looking for the perfect place to visit as a couple, combining days of rest, sun and pleasant temperatures at any time of the year, completely clean skies to admire the stars, exquisite restaurants, bicycle adventures and the most beautiful sunsets of the planet, without a doubt San Pedro de Atacama is the best destination in South America for honeymooners.

Today there is a high range of hotel offer with the widest spectrum of prices, which mostly offer massages, meals and tours, which help the visitor to have a well guided and contained experience in the desert.

The Atacama Desert and its surrounding villages are a destination to forget about television and any earthly event, because it seems like a place on another planet.

Tour the famous Valley of the Moon and Death Valley, and feel next to your better half as if they were walking on the moon or the planet Mars, full of mystery, silence, reliefs and colors that provide the most romantic sunsets ever seen in Another place on the planet.

And if they are a couple who likes adrenaline and a bit of action, in Death Valley they can sandboard from a giant dune or, go almost completely with a bicycle or horse.

After sunset, after a rich shower, going out to enjoy the gastronomic offers that the town of San Pedro has is a gift for the palate. In the main restaurants of Caracoles street, dinner can be a time to get to know the typical music of the area played live by locals, illuminated by the light of the fire, delighting in exquisite dishes that you would never imagine finding in the most arid desert of the world.

And if you still have energy and interest left, nothing more romantic and interesting than ending the day contemplating the infinite sky that this oasis presents, making us remember how small we are.

Enjoy the waters of this oasis
It seems incredible, but this desert named the driest in the world due to the almost zero rains that it presents, has a huge amount of offers of different modalities of experiences linked to water, that connect you with your soulmate and have made the Desert of Atacama is the Best Romantic Destination in South America.

Let’s start with one of the richest and most unforgettable experiences, the Puritama Hot Springs. Located 35 kms from San Pedro de Atacama and 3,475 meters above sea level, inserted in a large stone ravine, you will find these hot springs that in the indigenous language means “hot waters”.

The water, with temperatures between 25ºC and 30 ° C, has medicinal and therapeutic properties since it feeds on the minerals that the Puritama river brings. The bathrooms have wooden paths that connect the pools together, bathrooms, dressing rooms, cafeteria and massage services on weekends. An ideal place to go as a couple and have privacy and rest in the midst of nature in all its splendor.

If you go with a tourist agency, they usually go to the hot springs on the return trip to the Tatio Geysers, but if you go directly to the hot springs you can arrive by private vehicle or by taking a tour from the center of San Pedro de Atacama.

Another unforgettable experience to live as a couple is the Cejar and Tebinquinche lagoon. Inside the huge Salar de Atacama are these extremely salty waters, in the middle of a beautiful landscape of turquoise colors, volcanoes and the greatness of this saline deposit that hides under its surface a huge lake.

After floating in these turquoise waters, you follow the route through the Ojos del Salar, two freshwater wells in the middle of the driest desert in the world and, finally, in the Tebinquinche lagoon, where you can enjoy a delicious snack contemplating the reflection of the Andes in its waters, along with the whiteness of salt. The sunset, with ocher colors and strong hues, offers a true spectacle before our eyes.

And finally, the trip to the meeting of the Miscanti and Miñiques lagoons, also called Altiplanic Lagoons given its location at 4,500 meters above sea level, is a true mystical experience given the explosion of emotions to see such an overwhelming landscape Like this destiny

The love between the Licancabur and Quimal volcano
How to question that the Atacama desert has been awarded as the most romantic place in South America, when even the most known is the legend between the eternal love that the highest volcano in Latin America, the Licancabur and its beloved Quimal have.

The locals of northern Chile tell us that the young Licancabur could not escape his destiny that would lead him to be the most important mountain for the desert inhabitants. But that did not interest him, since Quimal was always in his mind, the young woman of a unique and imaginable beauty. They spent every afternoon sitting on the edge of the salt watching the sun die after that lonely mountain range without mountains, which would later be called Domeyco. Both fell passionately in love and promised never to separate.

Every year in the months of February and August the promise of eternal love blooms with the shadow of Licancabur that caresses the lonely Quimal in the distance and stoke her feelings. And on the other side is Lascar, the jealous and grumpy volcano forever spitting smoke and fire, scaring the locals because their love for Quimal never matched.

You know, San Pedro de Atacama invites from its legends of volcano origins to its most beautiful natural landscapes accompanied by hotel architecture, to a meeting of the most romantic you can see in South America, which is why the World Travel Award today awarded with this worldwide recognition.

The Tebenquiche Lagoon in the vicinity of San Pedro de Atacama, Antofagasta Region was declared a Nature Sanctuary.

The lagoon is a place where Extremophile microbial ecosystems coexist, capable of withstanding extreme environmental conditions, as some studies carried out by indigenous communities, the municipality and other public institutions have shown.

Very few wetlands are protected in Chile, the salt flats and their lagoons harbor a high microbial diversity and unique adaptations to different hostile conditions for life. The microorganisms are crucial in the ecosystem, without them there would be no flamingos. Therefore, this evaluation is fundamental for its protection.

The communities of Coyo and Solor carried out the relevant procedures to start the declaration as a Nature Sanctuary. In May of 2018 they delivered the first file and yesterday the protection of this high Andean wetland became official.

One hour from San Pedro de Atacama, there are the Escondidas Lagoons of Baltinache. Seven bodies of transparent turquoise water, which in contrast to the white of the salt flat, make this one of the most incredible landscapes in Chile.

Millions of years ago, the great Salar de Atacama was a huge lake that became dry and isolated over time. On its surface, 100 kilometers long and 80 kilometers wide, there are some lagoons that dazzle for their unique beauty. The turquoise lagoons with the Cordillera de la Sal behind create a surreal landscape.

Baltinache is part of the well-known Escondidas lagoons, a group of 7 salty lagoons found in the Antofagasta Region a few kilometers from San Pedro de Atacama.

Its waters are saline and crystalline, similar to the Céjar Lagoon and two of them are suitable for bathing, converting to this place, it is one of the most attractive of the II Region for its landscapes and for the experience of bathing in lagoons where the Human body can float due to the high amount of salt.

The landscapes surrounding the Baltinache lagoon and the other 6 lagoons are impressive, especially at dusk: when the sun goes down there is a reddish landscape in the whole area, a wonder that is in Chile.

Surrealism in the middle of the desert is the best way to describe the Red Lagoon, one of the most extraordinary places in Chile. Its waters of an intense red resemble the blood, and the streams that are born from it authentic veins that cross the earth. It is located in a desolate place, until recently completely unknown except by the Aymara inhabitants of the area, whose legends soak the place with an aura of mysticism and mystery. This is a natural wonder and one of the most incredible landscapes in the world.

The Red Lagoon, located at 3,700 meters above sea level, is a place that stands out not only for its deep red waters. Its temperature always remains high (40 – 50 ºC) and the surrounding land is dyed red too. As if it were not enough with this lagoon of unusual color, next to it there are other 2 smaller lagoons, the “Lagunas Hermanas”, one yellow and one green. Studies have never been conducted in this place, so it is not known why these gaps have these colors or their depths are known.
The villagers attribute to them supernatural and dark powers. One of the local legends in this regard that centuries ago, during a long drought, 3 virgins were offered in sacrifice to the gods to end the desperate situation. They were tied and abandoned, and each wept in a different color, giving rise to the 3 lagoons that exist today. It is said that so many were the tears that spilled in their despair that they actually managed to return the water to the area, but they brought with them a curse: anyone who dared to bathe in its waters would disappear or suffer serious misfortunes.
Scientists believe that the red color of the lagoon is due to a certain type of algae present and to local sediments dissolved in the water. Regardless of what one believes, it is important to visit this place with care and respect for the beliefs of the local people.

The road to the lagoon is an attraction in itself. It is not necessary to travel more than 5 hours to the lagoon in one pass, as there are very interesting places where you can stop. Taking a small detour on Route 5 you can visit the Giant of Atacama (blue on the map), a huge geoglyph drawn on the side of a hill, 15 km from the town of Huara. This geoglyph has been the focus of various mythologies and histories, from UFO interventions to a representation of the Andean deity Tunupa-Tarapacá.
Another attraction of the route is the valley located in the Quebrada de Tana, where the town of Camiña is located. This is a green and fertile valley in the middle of the desert, crossed by high ravines. Agriculture is the main activity that develops throughout the valley, numerous cultivation areas and small towns and hamlets are part of the route to Camiña. Not only can you see beautiful landscapes, but there is also a series of petroglyphs along the route through the valley, with the Chillaiza petroglyphs being the most important.

This lagoon is almost 90 kilometers away from San Pedro de Atacama to the south and then to the south east by the Guaitiquina pass to Argentina, the last 20 kilometers of road before reaching the lagoon is dirt road, which they travel to a height of more than 4,000 meters above sea level, in a cold and windy climate.

The lagoon, although it is not of great surface, seems to be a true mirage when it suddenly appears among the hills in that inhospitable place, of which I could not help but call attention to several skeletons of camelids that lie on the shores of the lagoon.

Recommendation, go prepared in optimal conditions for this type of environment, as any complication at that height and little traveled place can be transformed into the adventure of their lives.

However, it is still a wonderful place nestled in the immensity of the Andes, powerful expression of the Pachamama Atacameña, optimal for people who love adventure and exploration.

This is a salty lagoon with a view of the Chiliques, Láscar, Aguas Calientes and Acamarachi volcanoes.

Being in the Chilean highlands, the vegetation that surrounds the Lejía lagoon is limited to bofedales and straw, which become food for llamas, alpacas and vicuñas, which can be seen very easily on the edge of the road.

This region was occupied by the Aymaras, so there are various vestiges of pre-Columbian cultures such as altars built in stone and sanctuaries in the highest hills. It is still possible to find small villages that are dedicated to grazing and weaving.

The lagoon is a wonder that exists in the north of our country, you can learn more about Chile with us!

The adventure begins at 2,400 masl in San Pedro de Atacama, from where we board the Trekker truck. It is not a conventional tourist bus, but an 8 × 8 beast with 34 seats ready to cross almost impossible roads while enjoying comfortably inside. The mission of the Trekker is to take any person who wishes, without prior training, to ascend the Sairecabur volcano up to 5,700 meters above sea level and obtain dream views of the desert landscape of Atacama.

Along the way, the variety of the landscape is overwhelming as we traverse strange rock formations, extinct volcanoes and lagoons. The expert guides explain the geological origins of the Atacama Desert, also telling us about every detail about vegetation changes in relation to humidity and height.

Only 1 hour after boarding the Trekker, and after climbing more than 3 thousand meters, we stop at our first milestone: the height of Everest base camp. At 5,364 meters above sea level we find ourselves in what, until then, was the highest point reached by any guided tour in the world. What once involved days of intense climbing and a level of physical preparation of an experienced mountaineer, can now be achieved and even overcome in the Atacama HAT truck.

Here we stop to take pictures next to the infinite landscape behind us. After about 20 minutes we return to the truck and prepare to continue ascending the Sairecabur volcano.

A couple of minutes later we are at the highest point of the tour. We stop in front of one of the craters of the Sairecabur volcano, where the sulfur looks like snow, and from where we see the Atacama Desert in an amazing 360º view. From here we observe the Licancabur volcano and the Juriques volcano, in addition to the White Lagoon of Bolivia, which allows us to trace in our minds the border between Chile and Bolivia. We can also observe the Cordillera de la Sal in all its fullness, the Domeyco mountain range and a large part of the Andes mountain range.

In addition to the natural excitement of being in one of the highest points of the earth, it is inevitable to be impressed by the technological achievement achieved in the Atacama HAT tour in San Pedro de Atacama. Anyone, no matter their age or physical condition, can now climb to 5,700 in just a couple of hours and enjoy a unique experience in the world.

It is certainly an incredible experience to perform, right?

The Valley of the Moon is a desert place and point of tourist attraction, located in the Atacama desert, 13 km west of San Pedro de Atacama and 110 km of Calama, belonging to the Region of Antofagasta. In 1982 it was declared a nature sanctuary and is part of the Los Flamencos national reserve, its income is managed by Conaf and is accessible from San Pedro de Atacama.

Together with the so-called Valle de la Muerte, this place is unique within the environment surrounding the Orbate mountain range at 2,500 meters above sea level, it is a relative-sized depression of 440 km² of the so-called Cordillera de la Sal in the Salar de Atacama surrounded by crests of 500 m elevation. Its extension includes from the west by the mountain range of Domeyko, by the east by Toconao and Peine by the south.

It was modeled over millennia by fluvial and aeolian erosion, those that have carved its soil in such forms as: crests with tips, hollows, mounds of gray and ocher colors, which give it that characteristic moonlike appearance.

The Valley of the Moon is a site that is characterized by the abruptness of the scenic break, the scenic beauty of its earth colors, the absolute silence and the scarcity of humidity, flora and fauna, finding only a few examples of lizards.

Do you want to know more about this place? Would you like to meet him ?, then contact us!

Customized 5-day tour of the Bolivian Altiplano and 4-day tour of Chile. In Bolivia, visit Tupiza, Uyuni, Colchani, Uyuni Salt Flat Lake, Siloli Desert, Reserve Eduardo Abaroa, the Dali Desert and several lagoons, observing the flora and fauna of the areas. In Northern Chile, we include the following tours: Atacama Salt Flat – Altiplano Lagoons – Toconao Village; Atacama Desert Archaeological Excursion; Atacama—Valle de la Luna (Valley of the Moon; Tatio Geysers––Machuca Village; and Santiago City Tour—Markets and Los Dominicos Village.