The Atacama Desert – What not to miss

San Pedro de Atacama is the main tourist town based in the Atacama desert, which is also the driest desert in the world.

There isn’t much to the town, it is basically made up of tour operators and restaurants but there is however, no shortage of amazing activities to do from here.

Below we have listed our top 5 unforgettable experiences you can have with a visit to the Atacama desert.

Moon Valley

Moon Valley is the closest place resembling the moon than anywhere else you’ll see on the earth. As it’s pretty unlikely that you will visit the moon any time soon, the next best thing will have to blow your mind instead.

Moon Valley Atacama Chile
Tatio Geysers

Waking up at 4am isn’t usually very fun but you won’t mind the early start once you’re witnessing the sun rise over some of the highest geysers in the world. Everywhere you look, there is water bubbling from the ground, exuding a mysterious looking mist throughout the area.

El Tatio Geysers Atacama Chile
Stargazing

The Atacama skies are extremely unpolluted from toxins or light so has therefore become one of best places in the world to stargaze. This is an experience that words couldn’t ever quite justify but total awe is what we’re going to go for. Seeing that many stars, the Milky Way, Jupiter and four moons of Jupiter is something we could never forget and something we wish we could do every night. We had one of the best tour/guide experiences we’ve ever had with Jorge from Atacama Star Gazing, whose love for the night skies had us all wondering why we never had him as our Science teacher at school.

Important Tip:

Make sure you time your visit so that it is not on or close to a full moon, as the light from the moon results in it not being possible to stargaze.

Atacama Desert Chile Stargazing
Salt Flats

The Salt Flats can be visited on the way to Bolivia as a 3 day trip or a 4 day trip with a return to the Atacama. These are the largest salt flats in the world and is an absolutely unmissable sight to see. Not only the salt flats themselves but everything else that comes with it too, including stunning lakes and a stay in a place completely made from salt. This experience was so special we wrote a separate blog about it, which can be found here.

Salt Flats Atacama
Valle de la Muerte

The theme of the Atacama Desert seems to be to give people experiences that are out of this world, quite literally. You’ll think that you’ve been dreaming about venturing across geysers to reach the telescope to look at the moon you’ll soon be visiting to then land on more salt than you can feast your eyes at but then you’ll wake up. On Mars. Valley de la Muerte looks just like Mars but with better sunsets. We think? Haven’t actually seen a sunset on Mars…or have we?

Valle de la Muerte Atacama Chile

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