The Atacama Desert is a highlight of many holidays to Chile, stretching 600 miles from the Pacific Coast to the Andes Mountains. Although it is often referred to as the driest desert on Earth, you can also visit beautiful lagoons, hot springs and geysers, as well as fascinating rock formations, salt lakes and impressive volcanoes on our Atacama tours.

There’s a lot to be explored here, and most tourists choose San Pedro de Atacama as their base. The town is truly unique, and is an attraction in its own right, but there are also countless tours on offer which allow to you to see the best of the magnificent Atacama Desert.

So, we take a look at the best day trips and San Pedro de Atacama tours…

 

1. Salar de Atacama

Lagoons in Salar de Atacama trips

Atacama’s salt flat is the third largest in the world, and sits at 2,300 meters above sea level.

 

2. Death and Moon Valley

moon-valley-rw

The Death and Moon Valleys are fascinating landscapes of bizarre rock formations, and are particularly impressive at sunset.

 

3. Tatio Geysers

Atacama tours including the Tatio Geysers

El Tatio is the highest geyser field in the world at over 4,300m. It has over 80 active geysers and the biggest one shoots clouds of steam over 6m high!

 

4. Puritama Hot Springs

Puritama (wikimedia)

Puritama hot springs consists of 8 geothermal pools in the middle of the desert. It is a good place to relax after visiting El Tatio.

 

5. Tocanoa and Tulor

The village of Tocanoa and the pre-Colombian ruins of Tulor (pictured) are a great tour option to see more than just the beautiful landscapes of Atacama.

 

6. Stargazing

This gorgeous photograph, taken in the Atacama Desert in Chile, shows star trails circling the South Celestial Pole, over a cacti-dominated still landscape. The star trails show the apparent path of the stars in the sky as the Earth slowly rotates, and are captured by taking long-exposure shots. A final deeper exposure was superimposed over the magnificent trails, revealing many more, fainter stars and, just rising above the horizon, the southern Milky Way, with its patches of dark dust and the well-known pinkish glow of the Carina Nebula. Towards the right, the satellite galaxies of the Milky Way, the Large (top-centre) and Small (bottom-right) Magellanic Clouds, can also be seen.

The Atacama Desert is on of the best places on Earth to stargaze, as the night skies are not polluted by light, and the altitude makes for a clearer, brighter view.

 

7. Hot Air Balloon Ride

Hot air balloon ride over Moon Valley, Atacama

If you’re going to do one hot air balloon ride in your life do it in San Pedro! The Moon Valley (pictured) is particularly impressive from a birds eye perspective.

 

8. Los Flamencos

atacama-sunrise

A tour to Los Flamencos National Reserve will allow you to experience the diversity of the Atacama Desert, taking in a number of completely different landscapes in one day.

 

More San Pedro de Atacama Tours…

For more information about trips to the Atacama Desert and Chile, check out our holidays.

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