There isn’t a single adjective that can adequately describe the grandeur of the Atacama Desert but if you’re desperate enough, “otherworldly” could come close. That does come quite literally as soil samples from Desierto de Atacama share striking similarities with samples taken from Mars — and that’s only one of the things that makes a trip to Atacama Desert a must when on a Chile tour.

13 Trips in Atacama Desert with 90 Reviews

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Atacama Adventure - Nature Tour in the Atacama Desert

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  • No booking fees
5 day adventure tour in Chile, visiting Moon Valley, Puritama and Salar De Atacama. Read More
  • Tour Type Group Tour
  • Operator Moser Active
  • Activities Adventure
  • Accommodation Guest House & Hotel
  • Age Range18+ years old
days05 From US$ 1,250 View Tour
Next Departures
  • Oct 22
  • Oct 23
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Atacama & Altiplano Trekking Adventure

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  • No booking fees
13 day trekking trip through Arica, Putre, Parinacota and 11 other destinations in Chile. Read More
  • Tour Type Group Tour
  • Operator Moser Active
  • Activities Trekking & Natural landmarks sightseeing
  • Accommodation Hotel, Guest House, Hut & Sleeping Hut
  • Transport Boat
  • Age Range18+ years old
days13 From US$ 4,190 View Tour
Next Departures
  • Mar 28
  • Oct 10
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Argentina & Bolivia: Salt Flats and Desert

of 3 reviews
  • Trip customizable
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Hi Vera and Yuna, We are back in the US and have reflected on our fabulous trip. Thank you and
  • Tour Type Private Tour
  • Operator Say Hueque Argentina Journeys Active 16 hours ago Premier This operator is consistently delivering tours which receive customer ratings above 4.5 on average.
  • Activities Adventure
  • Accommodation Hut & Hotel
  • Transport Bus & 4WD Jeep
  • Age Range5+ years old
days09 From US$ 1,333 View Tour
Next Departures
  • Sep 24
  • Sep 25
Tour with flexible booking policy

Uyuni Salt Flats & Desert Adventure 4D/3N (Atacama to Atacama)

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4 day explorer trip to Laguna Colorada, Chiguana Salt Flat and 3 other destinations travelling through Chile and Bolivia. Read More
  • Tour Type Group Tour
  • Operator Bamba Premier This operator is consistently delivering tours which receive customer ratings above 4.5 on average.
  • Activities Explorer
  • Accommodation Hotel, Hostel & Villa
  • Transport 4WD Jeep & Minibus
  • Age Range18+ years old
days04 From US$ 324 View Tour
Next Departures
  • Sep 25 10+ seats left
  • Sep 26 10+ seats left
Tour with flexible booking policy
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Discover Chile

of 47 reviews
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  • No booking fees
This holiday met all of my expectations and in some cases exceeded them
  • Tour Type Group Tour
  • Operator Exodus Travels Active 1 hour ago Premier This operator is consistently delivering tours which receive customer ratings above 4.5 on average.
  • Activities Cultural, religious and historic sites & Adventure +1 more
  • Accommodation Hotel
  • Transport Boat & Flight
  • Age Range16+ years old
days13 From US$ 6,399 View Tour
Next Departures
  • Jan 17 Only 8 seats left
  • Feb 07 Only 8 seats left
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Atacama Adventure 4D/3N

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4 day adventure trip visiting San Pedro De Atacama and Calama in Chile. Read More
  • Tour Type Self-Guided Tour
  • Operator Bamba Premier This operator is consistently delivering tours which receive customer ratings above 4.5 on average.
  • Activities Adventure
  • Accommodation Hotel
  • Transport Private Vehicle
  • Age Range18+ years old
days04 From US$ 436 View Tour
Next Departures
  • Sep 25 10+ seats left
  • Sep 26 10+ seats left
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Uyuni Salt Flats & Desert Adventure 3D/2N (Atacama to Uyuni)

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  • No booking fees
3 day explorer trip to Uyuni Salt Flat, Uyuni and 1 other destinations travelling through Bolivia and Chile. Read More
  • Tour Type Group Tour
  • Operator Bamba Premier This operator is consistently delivering tours which receive customer ratings above 4.5 on average.
  • Activities Explorer & Adventure
  • Accommodation Hotel
  • Transport 4WD Jeep & Minibus
  • Age Range18+ years old
days03 From US$ 269 View Tour
Next Departures
  • Sep 25 10+ seats left
  • Sep 26 10+ seats left
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Chile Tour: Desert, Moais & Vineyards

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14 day natural landmarks sightseeing tour through Santiago, San Pedro De Atacama, El Tatio and 8 other destinations in Chile. Read More
  • Tour Type Private Tour
  • Operator Terra Chile
  • Activities Natural landmarks sightseeing & Beaches +8 more
  • Accommodation Hotel
  • Transport Private Vehicle & Flight
  • Age Range7+ years old
days14 From US$ 3,775 View Tour
Next Departures
  • Oct 22
  • Oct 23
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Chile, Patagonian Lakes and Atacama Desert

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10 day city sightseeing tour to Santiago, San Pedro De Atacama and 11 other destinations travelling through Chile and Argentina. Read More
  • Tour Type Private Tour
  • Operator Say Hueque Argentina Journeys Active 16 hours ago Premier This operator is consistently delivering tours which receive customer ratings above 4.5 on average.
  • Activities City sightseeing & Volcanoes +2 more
  • Accommodation Hotel & Resort
  • Transport Flight
  • Age Range1+ years old
days10 From US$ 2,150 View Tour
Next Departures
  • Sep 25
  • Sep 26
Tour with flexible booking policy
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Uyuni Salt Flats & Desert Adventure 4D/3N (Atacama to La Paz)

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4 day cultural, religious and historic sites tour to Uyuni Salt Flat, Uyuni and 3 other destinations in Mexico, Chile and Bolivia. Read More
  • Tour Type Group Tour
  • Operator Bamba Premier This operator is consistently delivering tours which receive customer ratings above 4.5 on average.
  • Activities Cultural, religious and historic sites & Explorer
  • Accommodation Hotel & Hostel
  • Transport 4WD Jeep, Bus & Minibus
  • Age Range18+ years old
days04 From US$ 357 View Tour
Next Departures
  • Sep 25 10+ seats left
  • Sep 26 10+ seats left
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Atacama & Uyuni Salt Flats Adventure 7D/6N

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  • No booking fees
7 day adventure trip to San Pedro De Atacama, Uyuni and 2 other destinations travelling through Chile and Bolivia. Read More
  • Tour Type Self-Guided Tour
  • Operator Bamba Premier This operator is consistently delivering tours which receive customer ratings above 4.5 on average.
  • Activities Adventure
  • Accommodation Hotel, Hostel & Villa
  • Transport 4WD Jeep, Bus, Minibus & Private Vehicle
  • Age Range18+ years old
days07 From US$ 945 View Tour
Next Departures
  • Sep 25 10+ seats left
  • Sep 26 10+ seats left
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Uyuni Salt Flats & Desert Adventure 3D/2N (Uyuni to Atacama)

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3 day adventure trip to Agencha, Huayllajara and 3 other destinations travelling through Bolivia and Chile. Read More
  • Tour Type Group Tour
  • Operator Bamba Premier This operator is consistently delivering tours which receive customer ratings above 4.5 on average.
  • Activities Adventure
  • Accommodation Hotel, Hostel, Villa & Lodge
  • Transport 4WD Jeep, Bus, Private Vehicle & Train
  • Age Range18+ years old
days03 From US$ 345 View Tour
Next Departures
  • Sep 25 10+ seats left
  • Sep 26 10+ seats left
Tour with flexible booking policy
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Uyuni Salt Flats & Desert Adventure 4D/3N (La Paz to Atacama)

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4 day adventure trip to Uyuni, San Juan and 9 other destinations travelling through Bolivia and Chile. Read More
  • Tour Type Self-Guided Tour
  • Operator Bamba Premier This operator is consistently delivering tours which receive customer ratings above 4.5 on average.
  • Activities Adventure & 4x4, quad and ATV trips
  • Accommodation Hostel & Hotel
  • Transport Bus & Train
  • Age Range18+ years old
days04 From US$ 629 View Tour
Next Departures
  • Sep 25 10+ seats left
  • Sep 26 10+ seats left
Tour with flexible booking policy
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Atacama Desert Tour Reviews

5 - Excellent
Based on 90 customer reviews
Spectacular sights and scenary
5 - Excellent
  • Anonymous
“Chile is a stunning country that has something for everyone. This trip provided a wonderful insight and delivered a variety of sights and scenery: from desert and volcanoes, to lakes (and more volcanoes) then mountains and glaciers, followed for me with the legendary moai of Rapa Nui (Easter Island).As the itinerary makes clear, a significant amount of time is spent travelling (I feel I am now very familiar with Santiago airport!) but that is due to the large distances covered. There is very little 'down time' and several early starts so it is definitely not for someone who wants a relaxing holiday. However, if you enjoy spectacular views and new experiences then it ticks all the boxes.Our group of 16 got on well and, alongside our tour leader and drivers, helped to make it a fantastic holiday.”
Chile
5 - Excellent
  • Anonymous
“This trip covered a lot of ground in a short time frame. I (and the rest of my group) agreed that the one area of improvement would be to include a visit to the wineries and have lunch in Valparaiso.”
Awe inspiring.
4 - Very Good
  • Anonymous
“A land of so many sights, warm people and the impressive Andes mountains almost throughout.”

Atacama Tours and Holidays

Situated between the Pacific and the Andes, the Atacama Desert is the planet’s largest showcase of mysterious natural phenomena. It is recorded as the driest desert on Earth with just an average rainfall of 1 mm a year. Still, its mountaintops are covered with snow the whole year round. Temperatures in the region are at an average of 40°C during the day and 5°C at night. Similarly, the Atacama Desert witnesses the brightest of days and the darkest of nights, making it the perfect destination for jaw-dropping romantic (and scholarly) stargazing. Atacama’s unique geography affords travelers an enriching assortment of trips and tours such as salt flats tour, sunset watching in Valle de la Luna (Moon Valley), sandboarding in Death Valley, and San Pedro de Atacama tours, usually the jump-off of every traveler’s trip to Atacama.  

The Charming Oasis Village of San Pedro de Atacama

If it’s true what they say that every destination has a cliché, then Atacama Desert’s is San Pedro de Atacama. This, however, is not a warning for you to stay away. Aside from being home to most of Atacama’s lodging and dining options, souvenir shops, and its 16th century historic church, this little oasis village brandishes cozy South American charms that are a comfort after an adventure-packed day.

A day in San Pedro usually starts with a 4am tour to the Del Tatio Geysers, the world’s third largest geyser site. It has more than 80 active geysers and at the early peak of sunrise, the geysers begin to display a spellbinding exhibition of colors. Tourists can then choose to go on an archeological tour starting with the 12th century Incan fortress, Pukara de Quitor, and then proceeding to Aldea de Tulor, Atacama’s oldest village that is like a life-sized museum of ancient artifacts and rich flora and fauna. 

The Awe-inspiring Natural Phenomenon

Flamingoes in Salar de Atacama lagoons
Saline lagoons in Salar de Atacama flaunts beautiful pink Andean flamingos
Valle de la Luna in Atacama Desert
Valle de la Luna in Atacama Desert is known for its moon-like terrain

The Atacama Desert features some of the most beautiful natural sights, most notably — Valle de la Luna or Moon Valley, Salar de Atacama, and the star-studded night sky.

Valle de la Luna, has a hauntingly beautiful barren landscape of stone and sand formations, that gives it a moon-like terrain. The expansive, rugged white terrain of Salar de Atacama flaunts a collection of saline lagoons which are usually dotted with beautiful pink Andean flamingos. And the night sky in the desert is best for stargazing. Being high, really dry, unpolluted, and its night sky practically free of clouds, the desert offers the most visible tapestry of stars, moons, galaxies, and other heavenly bodies that even the naked eye can enjoy.

The Colorful Atacaman Culture

Atacama’s culture is a marriage of Inca and Spanish traditions. This is evident in their faith, food, and festivities. Locals celebrate the feast of their patron saint, Saint Peter, every 29th of June. The Fiesta de San Pedro de Atacama is the town’s most important religious festival where townsfolk parade on the streets in colorful masks and traditional clothing. This festival is comprised of a mass, a procession, dancing on the street, and ends with a celebratory drinking.

Local cuisine is designed around Atacama’s climate. One of their most distinctive native dishes is patasca, a stew of pork, beef, potatoes, and white capia corn. Other must try dishes are empanada, sopaipillas with pebre, and their local drink, pisco sour rica-rica, made from the desert herb rica-rica that is revered for its medicinal properties

What Every Tourist Must Know

Because of little vehicular traffic, it is easy to get around Atacama Desert. The most popular modes of transportation for exploring the Atacama Desert are car and bike rentals while San Pedro can easily be explored on foot.

Accommodation options in Atacama Desert vary and cater to a range of budget including hostels, boutique, bed and breakfasts, and five star hotels. Some hotels are equipped with their own observatory, a great choice for tourists who wish to end each night with a magnified glimpse of the heavens.

Restaurants in Atacama mostly feature Chilean dishes so looking for an authentic Chilean meal is not difficult. A popular spot among both locals and travelers is Inti Sol in San Pedro, well-loved for dishes such as spaghetti tres quesos, papas dorados al horno, and mushroom risotto at friendly prices. 

Getting There

For a holiday in Atacama Desert you can fly to Calama Airport, the nearest commercial airport about an hour and a half away from San Pedro. Public buses and car rentals are available upon arrival.