Atacama desert

Atacama desert

There are many travelers who pass through San Pedro de Atacama daily, not knowing that the world’s largest astronomical project, ALMA, is a short distance away.

These impressive facilities are located at an altitude of 5,000 meters, in the Chajnantor plain, in the Andes of the Atacama desert, the driest in the world. The conditions of dryness and altitude, with almost non-existent rainfall, make this place one of the best windows in the world to observe the stars. The key is that radio waves can pass through Earth’s atmosphere with little distortion, and this remote place allows it exceptionally.

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Come and discover with us the natural, cultural and adventure wonders that Atacama Desert it has for you.

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Take advantage of our experience and do not miss this 2019-2020 season

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.

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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 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?

A team led by the professor of the University of Paris-La Sorbonne, Benjamin Ballester, discovered paintings that date back 1,500 years ago to the El Médano archaeological site in the Atacama desert.
The drawings depict hunting scenes of marine animals, such as whales, sharks and dolphins.

This finding has attracted the attention of international media such as the newspaper El Observador, which highlights that the paintings are made in a reddish tone, showing the harpooned animals.
The author of the research, published in the Antiquity magazine, explained that they have identified 12 areas with paint concentrations: 24 blocks, 74 panels and 328 motifs.

In as much, Ballester maintained that the drawings were in bad state due to the erosion caused by the camanchaca (coastal fog).

“The hunting scenes are always represented in the same perspective, from the outside, giving a complete view of the act and never showing in the foreground or as the main protagonist the harpooner. The dam, in addition, always represents oversized compared to the rafts and their crew, “he said.
“The prehispanic inhabitants of this coast used linear strokes of an intense red color to create naturalistic images of whales, swordfish, squid, sea lions, turtles and sharks,” he added.

 

The Guatin valley (altitude 3,000 m) contains the confluence of two rivers, one coming from the Puritama thermal springs (Hot Spring) carrying earth and minerals in its warm waters, and the other being the Purifica River (Good Water) which flows down from its origin in the Andes. This extraordinary mixture of hot spring water and clear melt water creates a unique ecosystem in the Guatin Canyon. A hike here is really rewarding, not least for the giant candelabra cacti that grow in the canyon, some of which are already up to 500 years old. This leisurely hike begins in the Guatin Canyon, whose vibrant red rocks provide a wonderful display of colors. The walk along the canyon floor follows a steady incline through unique local flora, before reaching the Puritama thermal springs.
The Puritama Hotsprings (3400m/11220ft.) are ponds that have volcanic origins and with healing properties at a temperature of 32°C approximately (89.6 °F). Take a relaxing swim, before our return trip to San Pedro.

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To visit Chile Our Tours

Early morning start to reach Geysers del Tatio; enjoy the beauty along with breakfast; visit Pozon Rustico and a swim; stop at Machuca village. Then see San Santiago Church and return to San Pedro.

Visit Valled de la Luna (Valley of the Moon(, in the middle of the arid salt mountain range, a landscape of salt and clay shaped by water and wind over millions of years.

See the flamingos of the great Salar de Atacama in Los Flamencos National Reserve in the Chaxa lagoon; visit the highland lagoons of Miscanti and Miñiques at the base of volcanoes; enjoy lunch in the pre-Inca village of Socaire; and visit the town of Toconao.