Sitting high up in the Altiplano of northern Chile, the desert of Atacama is known for its captivating landscapes of sand dunes, hot springs, canyons and geysers. Here, glowing sunrises and mind-blowing sunsets are the norm.
After dusk, the sky is illuminated with a canopy of blinking stars, a sight unmatched anywhere else in the Southern Hemisphere. Come morning, noon or night, the Atacama’s natural splendor and enigmatic energy is inescapable.
The essence of this unforgettable desert landscape is at the heart of Tierra Atacama. The property was designed with regional sensibilities, eco-friendly design and boutique comforts firmly in mind.
For anyone who has a Santiago stopover as part of their adventure and spa vacation to Chile, or wants a night of city life, with any 4-night stay at one or more of our Tierra Hotels, a night ‘on us’ is included for FREE:*
Having arrived at Tierra Atacama in the late morning, our guides will sit down with you to find out what sort of activities and Atacama Desert adventures you might be interested in, creating an excursion plan for the upcoming days as you chat. Activities penciled in, you’ll then be shown around the hotel for an introduction to your new home and enjoy a delicious lunch, before perhaps setting out on an afternoon half-day tour – to the Atacama Salt Flats, for example – to get your Atacama Desert adventure started in style.
After visiting the village of Toconao, this scenic vehicle tour heads to Los Flamencos National Reserve at Chaxa Lagoon, home not only to various Flamingo species but also to Andean Gulls, Highland Chorlos and more birdlife. While taking a gentle walk along the trails that wind their way around this watery haven, there’s no doubt you’ll be reaching for the camera to capture this landscape of vast open skies, imposing peaks looming on the horizon and the colors of the sunset mirrored in Chaxa Lagoon, as the Flamingos go about their own daily business.
Unearth ancient petroglyphs and admire a kaleidoscope of color at Rainbow Valley, on this half-day excursion; a geological and archaeological treat.
The drive leads us westward to the Domeyko Mountains and the Rainbow Valley, whose stripes of copper, silver, jade, violet and everything in-between lend this sacred place its name. A 30-minute walk will allow us time to marvel at the terrain, the result of erosion and environmental processes that created this mineral-rich rock face.
Once you’ve experienced the charms of the Rainbow Valley, we’ll make for the town of Hierbas Buenas, where pre-Columbian petroglyphs await. Emblazoned on the rock walls of a natural shelter – which was hewn out of compacted volcanic ash before being used by local farmers, these intricate images depict animals and ancient hidden messages still little understood; something truly extraordinary to behold.
As for the afternoon? Spoil yourself with a time out in our Uma Spa, where you can reconnect with a relaxing therapy or two, or simply allow any stresses to melt away by soaking in the hot tub, or enjoying a water circuit as you drift between the indoor pool and steam room.
After a comfortable first night at Tierra Atacama, wake up with the sight of beautiful desert views and head to our dining room for breakfast before meeting with your guide, who will then lead the way on a half-day tour to Cejar Lagoon. This is a morning excursion to make the most of the temperature at this time of day. Depart the hotel heading south by bike towards the edge of the Atacama Salt Flat. The terrain is mainly flat and slightly uneven in places. On arrival at the Cejar lagoon, the view of the thick salt crust which has formed around the water hole is amazing. The salt concentration is incredibly high here and one floats in the spectacularly clear waters. Following a swim and a rest, we return to the hotel by vehicle.
After having lunch at Tierra Atacama, we will discover the beguiling land formations of the Quebrada del Diablo and enjoy a dose of local heritage, here in the Cordillera de la Sal. Having driven to the cusp of the ‘Devil’s Canyon’, we’ll begin our hike through this dried-up river bed, meandering along flat terrain which is flanked on each side by ethereal, craggy rock walls.
This trail will then lead up a steady ascent to a lookout point, rewarding all effort with far-reaching views out towards the rippling mountains and volcanoes that surround us. From here, we’ll come across historic petroglyphs etched into the rock walls – a sign of travelers and traders having used this very same route for hundreds of years. From this altitude, we can appreciate the green spots that make up the San Pedro Oasis. To return to the vehicle we will descend a steep hill.
An early start this morning is more than made up for at the Tatio Geysers, which you’ll reach just as the sun begins to emerge above the horizon, casting an ethereal glow on the vapor columns which tower at a height of 12 meters. Spend some time appreciating this geothermal field, home to over 80 active geysers which protrude from bubbling pools of boiling water, before hopping back in the vehicle to make your way home. In the light of day, you’ll be able to spot Vicuñas, Foxes, Vizcachas and Andean Ostriches roaming outside your window, making a stop at the picturesque, adobe village of Machuca and arriving back at the hotel.
On your final day in the Atacama Desert, head into the town of San Pedro. As you explore the dusty streets you’ll feel as if you’ve been transported back in time.
Be sure to pick up some locally hand-crafted souvenirs while you are here – keep an eye out for genuine alpaca wool sweaters and copper jewelry, before you bid farewell and are transferred to the airport, ready for your journey home or onward adventure in Chile – to Chiloé or Patagonia, for example!