Northern Chile holidays
The Atacama Desert is northern Chile's most distinctive geographical feature. Starkly different from the south of the country, this 1,000 kilometre strip of land is one of most arid regions on earth. Rainfall is virtually non-existent in many parts of the Atacama Desert and gets less as you travel north into Chile's important copper mining and fish processing region around Antofagasta, Calama and Arica. In the far north, the Atacama Desert ends and is replaced by the high Altiplano, on the border between Chile, Peru and Bolivia.
The dusty and dry Atacama Desert is an expanse of rocky terrain dotted with cacti, and occasional small oasis towns along the Pan-American Highway. One of the most popular stop-offs is San Pedro de Atacama, surrounded by geysers, lunar valleys and vast salt flats. Star gazing under clear desert skies and adventure tours into the desolate but beautiful Atacama Desert are some of the possible activities for travellers in northern Chile.
Special offers in The Atacama Desert & Northern Chile
Discount if staying at three Tierra hotels – Save up to £910 pp
Book by: 30 December 2019
Witness the best of Chile's stunning natural world, from the vast expanse of the Atacama Desert to the lakes, glaciers and towering mountains of Patagonia in the south, staying throughout at some of the country's finest hotels.
Top itineraries in The Atacama Desert & Northern Chile
Discover the contrasts of northern Chile on this 12-day tailor-made tour, which takes in the capital, Santiago, the striking landscapes of the Atacama desert and the central wine valleys of Colchagua and Casablanca.
From the austere landscapes of the north to the granite spires of the Patagonian south and the cities of Santiago and Valparaíso in between, this tailor-made holiday takes in the best of Chile’s history, heritage, landscapes and wildlife.
Chile is a destination made for adventure. And, you’ll take in the best of it on this luxury itinerary, which pairs full inclusive stays at two explora hotels – one set amid the austere beauty of the Atacama and the other in faraway Easter Island.
Top places to stay in The Atacama Desert & Northern Chile
Combining outdoor adventure with a relaxed atmosphere and first-class hospitality, the exceptional Tierra Atacama brings together striking architectural features, stylish interiors and a designer spa in Chile’s arid northern desert.
After exploring a world-wonder desert on included horse rides, hikes and bike rides, return to all-inclusive drinks and fine dining at an ultra-contemporary spa resort.
Thatched roofs and colourful furnishings give this luxury Atacama hotel a distinctly African feel. With an excellent restaurant and delightful outdoor pool, it’s the ideal base for exploring the wonders of the world’s driest non-polar desert on exclusive, private excursions.
Where to go in The Atacama Desert & Northern Chile
The Atacama Desert is one of the driest places on earth and provides some of Chile's most dramatic landscapes. Although rain is a rarity, every few years there is sufficient rainfall to produce the desierto florido - flowering desert - when colourful flowers bloom and life returns, briefly, to the …
When to go to The Atacama Desert & Northern Chile
With little or no rainfall to worry about, the Atacama Desert can be visited year-round although nights can be quite cold, especially in winter (June to August).
The Atacama Desert & Northern Chile articles
explora properties offer some of the most luxurious accommodation in South America's most spectacular settings. Expect open bars, full-board fine dining and included excursions that range from archaeological hikes in Peru to bike rides in Patagonia.
Read our review of Tierra Atacama Resort & Spa, a luxury resort in the heart of Chile's desert landscape.
From nectorial white wines to ambrosial game meats, we have hand-picked our favourite food and wine holidays around the world, including highlights from South Africa, Chile and France.
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