Atacama Desert

When NASA needs to test a Mars rover, this is where they go: the driest desert on Earth. Though no rain falls, when water does appear here, the results are dramatic. Against its stark and surreal landscapes, imagine bathing in pools of hot springs formed at the foot of twin volcanoes; waking up at dawn when the El Tatio geysers thaw to blow plumes of steam; and becoming hypnotized by flocks of flamingos and various rare avian species feasting from enormous salt lakes. Undertake desert adventures that range from hikes, walks, bike rides and horse rides to more demanding volcano climbs, or find civilization at the oasis village of San Pedro Atacama, where a postcard-perfect church has a roof made of cacti.

Why we like it

  • Spectacular northern Chile
  • El Tatio geysers billowing steam
  • Quaint town of San Pedro Atacama
  • Unparalleled stargazing
  • Sundowners in surreal Moon Valley
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Top Pick - Atacama Desert

Travel advice, information and inspiration from the team at The Classic Safari Company.