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San Pedro de Atacama

The Atacama Desert & Northern Chile

Northern Chile holidays

Introduction

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

Spirit of Chile with Tierra Hotels

14-day tailor-made journey from £6,285 pp

Special
offer

Discount if staying at three Tierra hotels – Save up to £620 pp
Book by: 30 April 2018

Witness breathtaking landscapes ranging from the vast expanses of the Atacama Desert in the north, through the verdant central plains and sweeping vineyards of the country's central region, to the lakes, glaciers and towering mountains of Patagonia in the south.

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Top itineraries in The Atacama Desert & Northern Chile

Chilean Wines & the Atacama Desert

12-day tailor-made journey from £4,285 pp incl. flights

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.

Highlights of Chile

13-day tailor-made journey from £4,405 pp incl. flights

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 13-day tailor-made holiday takes in the best of Chile’s history, heritage, landscapes and wildlife.

Spirit of Chile with Tierra Hotels

14-day tailor-made journey from £6,285 pp

Special
offer

Discount if staying at three Tierra hotels – Save up to £620 pp
Book by: 30 April 2018

Witness breathtaking landscapes ranging from the vast expanses of the Atacama Desert in the north, through the verdant central plains and sweeping vineyards of the country's central region, to the lakes, glaciers and towering mountains of Patagonia in the south.

Landscapes of Chile

12-day tailor-made journey from £5,250 pp

This country-spanning tour of Chile takes you from Santiago’s storied streets to the grasslands and glaciers of Patagonia and the austerity of the Atacama Desert. Round things off with a luxury stay in artistic Valparaíso on the Pacific coast.

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Top places to stay in The Atacama Desert & Northern Chile

Tierra Atacama Hotel & Spa

Contemporary hotel

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.

Awasi, San Pedro de Atacama

Contemporary lodge

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.

Alto Atacama Desert Lodge & Spa, San Pedro de Atacama

Contemporary lodge

Just 3 kilometres from San Pedro de Atacama, but a world away from the bustle of town, this stylish lodge and spa overlooks the stunning Catarpe Valley, bringing indulgent luxury to the driest non-polar desert on earth.

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Where to go in The Atacama Desert & Northern Chile

The Atacama Desert

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 …

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When to go to The Atacama Desert & Northern Chile

The Atacama Desert
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Max temp Min temp Rainfall

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).

See regional weather

The Atacama Desert & Northern Chile articles

  • 4 delicious Chilean wines to try on holiday

    Chile's winemaking has taken its rightful place at the world's table, with vineyards producing grapes both familiar and uncommon. Here are the main Chilean wines to look for, and food pairings to bring out the best in them.

  • Tierra Atacama Resort & Spa

    Read our review of Tierra Atacama Resort & Spa, a luxury resort in the heart of Chile's desert landscape.

  • The best food and wine holidays in the world

    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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Meet our The Atacama Desert & Northern Chile experts

Speak to a tailor-made specialist on 020 7590 0698

Meet the team

Why book with Wexas Travel?

At Wexas, we specialise in bespoke travel experiences. Our itineraries are just samples of what we can arrange, and can be changed depending on your precise needs, finances and ideas by our experienced destination specialists.

Contact one of our consultants on 020 7590 0698 to discuss how we can tailor your holiday.

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