Between the Pacific Ocean and the Cordillera de los Andes lies a land the rains have shunned for more than 400 years: the Atacama Desert.
However, with its charming accents of oases and welcoming towns, this northern Chile landmark also proves one of the most alluring.
At the heart of the desert, the oases are as peculiar as they are unique. Situated 8,202 feet above sea level, the oases enjoy a pleasant climate year-round, where light, transparency, and air take on a special character.
All that is seen is diaphanous and different. And thus, the outlandish geography that marks this mysterious destination—cordilleras, volcanoes, salt flats and striking rock formations, layered landscapes, altitude wetlands, and steaming geysers—acquires its unparalled appeal. Located amid this spectacular scenery is San Pedro de Atacama, a popular oasis town constructed almost entirely of adobe.
You will find restaurants, upscale resorts, and handicraft markets peppered about picturesque streets.
It is only a short drive out into the surrounding desert where salt flats, the crater-like Valley of the Moon, and the unusual flora and fauna of the colorful Altiplano await. Go sand-boarding, hiking, horseback riding, or cycling among others options, with some of northern Chile’s most impressive scenery as your backdrop.
Alto Atacama Desert Lodge & Spa is the only lodge in the San Pedro region that is totally enveloped by natural surroundings. Located in the lush Catarpe Valley of the Salt Mountain Range, just over a mile from the plaza of San Pedro, Alto Atacama’s design was influenced by local village architecture and conceived to blend seamlessly into its environment and appear as a part of the terracotta-colored ridge that rises behind it. The setting, the sweeping views, the tranquility and silence, and the hotel’s wonderful outdoor lounge spaces make the Alto Atacama a destination unto itself, and unlike any other hotel property in the region. Environmental sustainability and a strong connection with the local culture have put Alto Atacama in a category of its own, as has its “Andescape” concept of decorative flora and stable of friendly llamas, local cuisine, and Leave No Trace-schooled guides. Alto Atacama seeks to open a traveler’s eyes, to explore, to feel, to connect, and to return revitalized and changed by a truly authentic experience one will never forget. Rather than simply taking photos as a passive traveler, Alto Atacama encourages guests to get off the beaten track, interact with the local indigenous culture and explore the desert’s varied and eerily beautiful landscapes by foot or bike.
Awasi is situated inside an ancient site surrounded by a historic wall, which for years housed shepherds and herders. Its privileged location just a stone’s throw from the center of town makes it possible to enjoy “town life”. Guests are invited to visit the church, the museum, the fair, and the picturesque local stores and get to know the people.
Our base is a lodge built for linking man to temporary space-present and past-and the mysteries of nature. explora Atacama is located in the Ayllu de Larache (initially a kin-based community of the ancient Atacameño people), near the village of San Pedro de Atacama. The 42 acre grounds comprise 20 indigenous parcels, some with timeworn pathways and buildings that explora is committed to preserving out of a profound respect for the area’s original inhabitants. As a unique exploration facility, guests will be able to utilize the many different types of exploration services provided onsite by explora Atacama.
Tierra Atacama is a boutique hotel on the edge of San Pedro de Atacama. It was created by the Purcell family, long time owners and operators of the Ski Portillo, famous in Chile for its excellent skiing, food and warm hospitality. Like Portillo, Tierra Atacama provides guest experiences that combine outdoor adventure and sports with indoor comforts, hospitality and excellent service. Tierra Atacama’s architecture, interior design and gardens were designed by some of Chile’s leading creative talent. The objectives were to be as authentic as possible, using furniture and accessories handmade with local materials while also creating a place that allows guests to relax, spoil themselves and enjoy the good-life in this magical part of the earth.