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Atacama Explorer

4 Days 1590 ex San Pedro de Atacama


3 nights hotel


Mostly by foot
Transfers via vehicle

Included Meals

3 Breakfasts
1 Lunch

Trip Grade

Category 1
Joyful Jaunt

It’s here, listening as it rips through sharp rock formations that I hear, for the first time where, the expression “Screaming wind” truly comes.

The landscape here is otherwordly.

Apparently, this is the driest desert in the world, yet oddly, the craggy walls that hem me in, look as though they’re blanketed in snow!

The sky above is cloudless, the sun beating down incessantly, yet it still feels cold.

With no company but that wind, that pallid crust beneath my feet breaks beneath each tentative step.

This eerie place is in fact dusted with salt, seasoned like a packet of crisps.

Otherworldly in feel, the same is clearly felt by the locals, who have dubbed this place with the moniker Valle de la Luna.

The Valley of the Moon.

Most fitting indeed…

“South America’s great Atacama Desert is a place unlike any other. Its climate is different, with close to zero rainfall but occasional thick fogs.

Its plants and animals are different—what there are of them, which is to say almost none—capable of living with almost no water. Even its rocks are different. The floor of the Atacama is crusted and shot through with a riot of strange chemicals…

“so extraordinary,” a researcher wrote, “were it not for their existence, geologists could easily conclude that such deposits could not form in nature.”

Thomas Hager, The Alchemy of Air

Take in the raw beauty of the Atacama Desert and admire its unworldly salt plains, geysers, volcanoes, and cultural history on this superb exploration.

Prepare to have your mind boggled by the immense, surreal, and beautiful terrain of the Atacama, the driest desert on the planet!

“El desierto no ofrece siquiera la ilusión de que uno podrá ser alguna vez otra cosa que un intruso..

The desert does not even offer the illusion that one can ever be anything other than an intruder.” 

Ariel Dorfman, Desert Memories: Journeys Through the Chilean North

Atacama Chile
Aerial Valle de la Luna

The Journey

We arrive at Calama Airport and are driven straight to San Pedro de Atacama, past the impressive rock formations of the Cordillera de la Sal (Salt Mountains).

Upon arrival, you will receive the itinerary for the upcoming days. We’ll spend the first day of the trip just relaxing, so feel free to explore the village, visit its shops and other sites on our own.

After breakfast, we’ll start our adventure by driving to Toconao, a beautiful Andean village. Toconao’s lands are an oasis in the desert and locals are able to grow fruits and vegetables nourished by water coming in through small channels. We will visit its main streets and San Lucas church and continue to Quebrada de Jerez, a large canyon channeling the waters entering Toconao.

The next stop will be Laguna Chaxa, a lagoon in the middle of the Atacama Salt Flat, home to beautiful Chilean and Andean flamingos. We’ll continue driving towards the Miscanti and Miñiques Lagoons, undisputed highlights of the region that are full of turquoise water that contrasts with the autumnal colors of the Altiplanic lands. A truly incredible landscape, creating an unforgettable memory of the region.

(B, L)

Prepare for an early wake-up call to see the amazing Geysers of Tatio in action.

From almost 900 metres below the earth, boiling steam bursts up to 40 meters over the surface of the earth. A scrumptious breakfast will be served upon arrival before we walk through the geothermal fields with the geysers erupting nearby.

On the drive back, we can admire the magnificent view of the Tocopurri and Sairecabur volcanoes.

We will arrive back in town for lunch and free time in the afternoon.


In the early morning we do our last hike in the vast, amazing Valle de la Luna. We walk beside sand dunes until we reach the viewpoint from where we will witness one of the world’s most beautiful and rare landscapes, intensified by the warm colors throughout the Valley. 

After lunch time we are driven to Calama’s Airport to take our flight back to the capital… Adiós Atacama!. (B)


Year Round

NOTE: Children must be a minimum 16 years old


  • Three nights at a 3-star hotel (Hotel Kimal or similar)
  • English-speaking guide on excursions
  • Daily shared excursions as specified in the itinerary
  • Entrance fees to national reserves and indigenous communities visited
  • All meals as indicated in itinerary (Breakfast – B, Lunch – L and Dinner – D)

Note: Optional upgrade to Hotel Altiplanico (4-star accommodation)


  • International Flights
  • Domestic Flights (Santiago to Calama and return)
  • Travel Insurance (this is mandatory)
  • Personal spending money
  • Tips 
  • Any meals not listed as included

Your Guides and Safety

An excellent guide can make the difference between a trip of a lifetime and just an ordinary trip. Our handpicked professionals come from a range of backgrounds. Each has extensive outdoor experience, a knowledge of the lands in which you’ll walk, and a passion for the beautiful country that is Chile.


Our first option will be Hotel Kimal, a boutique hotel in the desert town of San Pedro de Atacama.

In the historical center of town, Hotel Kimal provides a full range of services in a setting of traditional local architecture. With a pool and outdoor hot tub, bar and restaurant open all day.

If Hotel Kimal is not available, a similar option will be offered.

“In the Atacama, I saw the future, when the sun eats up the last of its hydrogen and burns into its red-giant phase, big enough to cook life and clouds and oceans off this naked orb.

It wouldn’t be a fast process, not by our standards. Millions of years in the execution, our sky would finally be half filled by a sun the color of a red-hot moonrise.

After that, the sun would probably collapse into a white dwarf, meanwhile blasting away its outer shells of gas into an explosive planetary nebula.

I imagine that all of our minerals will pay off as we make a rainbow streak flaring off into space. We will be beautiful.” 

Craig Childs, Apocalyptic Planet: Field Guide to the Ever-Ending Earth

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