Atacama Desert Explorer

from £455 3 nights | Year round Exc. flights See price details
  • Departs:
  • Year round


This bucket list ticking itinerary gives a 4 day introduction to the surreal and extraordinary world of the Atacama Desert. Join guided day tours to visit some of the highlights of the Earth’s driest (non-polar) desert, including salt flats, geysers, moon-like valleys, imposing volcanoes and flamingo filled lagoons.


  • Visit the alien landscapes of 'Moon Valley' and the Atacama salt flats
  • Walk through an active geyser field
  • Observe elegant pink flamingos bathing in bright blue lagoons
  • Gaze up at the Universe through the clearest skies on Earth

Spend your days exploring and your nights gazing up at the magnificent star studded skies which consistently attract enthusiastic astronomers from around the globe.

Each departure is different, with daily activities in the Atacama being dependent upon your arrival dates, personal preferences and your desired level of adventure or relaxation. It is possible to increase flexibility even further with private excursions - at additional cost.

Contact our Chile experts now

Itinerary & Accommodation

Day 1: Atacama arrival & Moon Valley
Arrive at Calama Airport and transfer to San Pedro de Atacama, passing the impressive rock formations of the Cordillera de la Sal (Salt Mountains). In the afternoon hike through the Valle de la Luna (Valley of the Moon) which takes its name from its otherworldly appearance. When the time comes, take your seat atop a sand dune and witness one of the world's most beautiful sunsets, intensified by the warm colours displayed throughout the Valley.
Day 2: Salt flats and lagoons
After breakfast visit Toconao, a beautiful Andean village which, with its unexpected abundance of fruits and vegetables, appears like an oasis in the desert. Then continue to Quebrada de Jerez, a large canyon chiselled into the rocks, channelling the waters that nourish the crops of Toconao.

The next stop is Laguna Chaxa, a lively lagoon in the middle of the desolate Atacama Salt Flat, home to rare, exotic Chilean and Andean flamingos. Continue driving towards Miscanti and Miñiques, two spectacular lakes full of turquoise water that contrasts with the autumnal colours of the surrounding Altiplanic lands.
Day 3: El Tatio geysers
A very early wake-up will prove well worth it when you arrive at the amazing geysers of Tatio and see them bubbling and bursting and creating their own morning mist as the sun emerges from its slumber. From almost 900 metres below the earth, over 60 different vents simmer and seethe, with a few blasting boiling water into the air at regular intervals.

Then visit the natural geothermal pools of “Pozon Rustico” for a relaxing bathe in the warm soothing waters.

On the way back to San Pedro, stop in Machuca, a picturesque shepherd’s hamlet located high in the Andes at an altitude of 4,000 metres above sea level. Here you can learn from the locals about life in the sky.

Arrive back in San Pedro in time for lunch (not included), then catch up on sleep, join an additional optional excursion or walk around the sights of this small but historic settlement.
Day 4: Farewell Atacama!
Enjoy a leisurely morning to do some last minute souvenir shopping or sightseeing, before transferring to Calama Airport in the afternoon for your flight to Santiago.

Please note: This itinerary is a guideline only and is formed of a number of different group excursions. The schedule of activities may differ depending on availability and all options can be substituted, eliminated or added to (at time of booking), according to your preference. Extra flexibility is available when booking private excursions (at additional cost).

Museums throughout Chile are generally closed on Mondays and many tourist establishments may be shut or fully booked during National Holidays. Therefore please inform us of any key elements of your trip that hold particular importance to you, even if they are not being pre-booked, so that we can tailor your itinerary accordingly.

Accommodation Options

Hotel Kimal - Atacama

  • Grade: Standard
  • Type: Hotel

Located in the historic centre of San Pedro de Atacama, …

Casa Atacama Hotel

  • Grade: Standard
  • Type: Hotel

The Casa Atacama Hotel, located close to the centre of t…

Tierra Atacama Hotel - San Pedro de Atacama

  • Grade: Superior
  • Type: Hotel

Tierra Atacama is a high quality boutique hotel located …

Altiplanico Atacama Hotel (Atacama, Chile)

  • Grade:
  • Type: Hotel

Tucked away on a gentle stretch of land in the o…

Hotel La Casa Don Tomas (Atacama - Chile)

  • Grade:
  • Type: Hotel



In addition to those listed, a large variety of alternative accommodation options are available for this holiday. Please contact us for further details.



It is possible to pre-book a variety of excursions to supplement this holiday. While we highlight a range of these within the itinerary and/or on the excursions tab, there are often many more that can be selected. Contact our team of specialists for full details.

Cycling in the Atacama

Choose from a range of adaptable cycling options to best su…

Full Day Overland Safari to Monturaki Meteorite Crater – 4x4

A 4x4 adventure to one of the world's best preserved impact…

Full Day Tour to Tatio Geysers and Machuca Village

Enjoy a guided tour of El Tatio and the nearby village of M…

Half Day Archaeological Excursion to Quitor and Tulor - Atacama

An escorted tour to some of the Atacama's most historic sit…

Half Day Excursion to Cejar Lagoon

Take a journey to the Cejar Lagoon, the Atacama's very own …

Half Day Excursion to Moon Valley - Atacama

A guided tour to watch the sunset over the alien landscapes…

Half Day Excursion to Salt Flats and Toconao - Atacama

Enjoy a guided excursion of the Atacama Salt Flats, Toconao…

Hiking in the Atacama

An assortment of adaptable hiking options in the Atacama

Petroglyphs, Rainbow Valley and Rio Grande

A guided visit to the petroglyph site of Yerbas Buenas, Rai…

Prices & Dates

2018 prices and dates

Price from £455 per person, based on twin-share accommodation.

Departs daily, year round

Prices Include: 3 nights bed and breakfast accommodation at Le Casa de Don Tomas • Seat in coach (SIC) return transfers between airport and hotel • SIC excursions as listed in itinerary • Lunch on day 2 • English speaking guide during excursions • Entrance fees to national reserves and indigenous communities visited during excursions

Prices Exclude: All airfares - we would be happy to assist with booking these • Additional airport or airline security charges • Passport and visa expenses (we will be pleased to advise you on any necessary documentation, however this is passengers' own responsibility) • Government arrival and departure taxes • Any accommodation/meals/drinks/land arrangements not mentioned in inclusions (if required) • Excess baggage charges • Telecommunication charges, laundry costs and other charges of a personal nature • The discretionary gratuity at the end of excursions for guides and staff • Travel insurance

How to book

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So that we may send you a personalised quote and confirmation of availability, please click on the link below and complete our Enquiry form. One of our Travel Specialists will then be in touch to complete your booking or answer any further questions you might have.

travel guaranteeWe will always offer the best price available at the time of booking and guarantee no surcharges - see our 100% Guarantee for full details.

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Speak to a specialist: 1-844-584-0668

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