Oftentimes, when we are confronted with so much empty space, it is easy to feel intimidated. It is quite difficult to see the beauty in barrenness. However, the Atacama Desert in Chile is a contradiction. It is a living example that the barren can be beautiful, too. What is more—that so much can be had from a vast empty space.
Atacama Desert group tours give you a glimpse into the captivating marriage of rock and sand. They try to capture all the good things that this colossal paradise could offer. In this list, we give you snippets of what you can expect, including some of our favorite Chile travel destinations.
Atacama Desert Highlights and Features
1. Valle De La Luna (Moon Valley)
Perhaps you have always wanted to go to the moon but never had a chance to. This particular spot in the Atacama Desert will make you feel as if you had gone on one of those outer space expeditions. It is aptly called Valle De La Luna, or Moon Valley, because it looks a lot like the surface of the moon. We recommend coming here in time for the sunset, when the valley’s colors transform. It is the perfect start to your Atacama Desert photography adventure. Be prepared to hike (bring shoes and wear comfortable clothes). It is quite hot, but it can get pretty cold as soon as the sun sets. Gates close for entry at 05:00pm, so be sure to be there before then. You are allowed to leave much later.
2. Pukará Quitor
This next destination is a valued cultural and archeological treasure. Built by the atacameños (the indigenous people of the area) as protection against the Spanish invaders, Pukará Quitor is currently a striking fortress with a secret path to a breathtaking view. The entrance feels as if you are in a movie set, except that this one is the real thing. There is a path from the forest that stretches to the top of the mountain where a stunning view awaits. Bring plenty of water and wear light clothes as it can get quite hot during the day.
3. Pink Flamingoes
When you are in the Atacama Desert, it is an unspoken requirement to go see the pink flamingoes. These social birds often congregate in one of the many lagoons, but the best spot is Laguna Chaxa. If you wish to explore more lagoons, go to Miscanti and Miniques. These two are arguably among the most impressive in the area. You will need to take a 4×4 to Miscanti and Miniques as they are off the beaten path. Wear comfortable shoes and prepare for a hot day and colder evening.
The list above is really only a glimpse of what you can see and experience in the Atacama Desert. It is also worth mentioning that another activity that this desert is known for is stargazing. There are guided astronomical tours or you may also stargaze on your own.
Atacama Desert group tours are indeed something else. If you wish to get away for a while, this little corner in the world may just be the right place for you.