Altiplano and Atacama Desert

Stay in San Pedro de Atacama
Explore the Atacama Salt Flat
Hike in the Valley of the Moon
See the Explosive Tatio Geysers

See them for Yourself


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The Altiplano and Atacama Desert Region is the northern part of Chile. The Atacama Desert is the driest desert on Earth and the region starts in Arica and ends in the Atacama Desert. Recent scientific studies have demonstrated that the soil in the region is 25-30 million years old. On the other hand, the Altiplano, (high plains), is a high plateau in the Andes Mountains located to the North-East stretching across the borders of Chile, Argentina, Bolivia and Peru. It is home to many active volcanoes and the famous Lake Titicaca which sits at 3,800m above sea level. La Paz, capital of Bolivia, is the biggest city of the Altiplano.

Adventures with Altiplano and Atacama Desert Number of result by page

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Atacama desert covers a 1000 km (600 miles) strip of land to the West of the Andes. The desert spans Chile, Bolivia, Peru and Argentina and it is the driest desert in the world. The region was shaped by volcanic activity and millions of years of wind erosion. San Pedro de Atacama is the departure point for most tours, offered in the region and is literally an oasis in the middle of the desert at an altitude of 2,000 meters. The Atacama Desert offers a variety of activities including: trekking, sand boarding on the dunes, stargazing, visiting the salt flat, geysers, volcanoes, and indigenous local villages. Key attractions to visit in this part of Chile include: San Pedro de Atacama an area surrounded by spectacular salt flat lagoons with pink flamingos, purple volcanoes (Licancábur, at 5916 meters), steaming geysers (Tatio Geysers), hot springs, a host of otherworldly rock formations, sculptured moonscapes (Valle de la Luna), and ancient geoglyphs describing ancient Andean culture. If you are into astronomy, some of the world’s best observatories (e.g. Cerro Paranal Observatory and Cerro Mamulluca Observatory) are found in this part of the country as this is the location that offers the clearest skies in all the southern hemisphere! Another important attraction is the Chuquicamata Mine (one of the biggest open pit copper mine in the world) located in the town of Calama. Animal species to see in this part of Chile include the chululos, vizcachas, vicuñas, flamencos, ñandus, culpeo foxes, andes seagulls, condors, alpacas, llamas, taguas, wild ducks and huaycos.