The Atacama Desert is one of the most remote regions of South America. With over half of Chile located within the region, there are plenty of sights to see and adventures to undertake. From trekking to skiing to camel rides, we’ve got everything covered. We spent 10 days on an epic road trip across the Atacama Desert, camping along the way and living out of a camarvan. We visited some beautiful towns and cities including Iquique, Calama, Copiapo, San Pedro de Atacame, and Arica.
Here are our favorite attractions in san Pedro de Atacama:
1. Hike up Cerro Toco – Located just 50km outside of Antofagasta, hike up Cerro Toco for incredible views of the surrounding area.
2. Trek to Laguna Miscanti – This lake sits high above sea level and is surrounded by snow-capped peaks. The walk is easy, but there are steep sections. Make sure to bring good walking shoes.
3. Go caving – The caves of the Altiplano are filled with stalactites, ice formations, and even waterfalls. The largest cave is La Carolina.
4. See flamingos – Lots of them! They’re found around Lake Yunga and Lake Chungara.
Visit the salt flats – There’s no better place to experience the desert than at Salar de Surire. It’s also home to the world’s highest dunes.
Take a hot air balloon ride – You can take a hot air balloon flight from Antofagasta or Calama.
Get lost in the mountains – Hiking through the Andes Mountains is a great way to get away from it all.
Learn about the history of Atacama – Visit the Museo Regional del Desierto de Atacama which has exhibits that explain the geology, flora, and fauna of the region.
Eat like a local – Try the delicious empanadas and chicharrón (fried pork) in
Antofagains is Located just 50km outside of Antofagasta, hike to Cerro Toco for amazing views of the surrounding area. The trail is easy, but there are a few steep sections. Make sure you have good hiking shoes. Cerro Toco is the second tallest mountain in Chile after Volcan Llullaillaco. It stands at 3,924 meters and offers stunning viewsDesert
Stargaze in the Atacama Desert is totally different compared to stargazing anywhere else.
You can see more stars here than in any other part of the world.
I would recommend heading to the following locations:
– Chajnantor plateau – where most of the astronomical research is done
– Huasco valley – perfect if you want to go star gazing without having to drive too far
– Calama – the city closest to the Atacama desert
– Antofagasta – the capital of the Atacama desert and the nearest city to the desert
– Calama – the city closest to the desert.
Go Stargazing In The Atacama
The Atacama Desert is home to some of the best stargazing in the world. But it’s also one of the least populated places in the world. So how does that work? Well, the high altitude combined with the low density population mean there’s almost no light polluting our skies. And because of that, the sky above the Atacama looks like something straight out of space. There are billions of stars, and even planets that you can spot just by looking up.
But here’s where things get interesting… If you want to go stargazing in the Atacama, you can either choose to camp out in the desert or join a guided tour. Tours start every evening around 8 p.m., and depending on the size of your group, you’ll spend anywhere from 4 hours to 12 hours outside.
You’ll begin your trip heading north along the Panamericana highway, stopping off wherever you’d like to take pictures of the landscape. Then, once you reach the destination, you’ll set up camp, grab dinner, and settle down for the night. The next morning, you’ll wake up early, pack up your tent, and continue for another hour or so to reach the location where the tour starts.
Once you arrive, you’ll meet your guide, and he’ll explain everything about the telescopes, the equipment used, and anything else you might need to know. Then, you’ll follow him into the field, and the fun begins. Your guide will show you exactly where to look, and then you’re free to explore the cosmos.
Afterward, you’ll return to base camp, enjoy lunch, and then get ready to head back to town. Once you finish touring the area, you’ll head back to San Pedro de Atacamea, and catch your flight home.