Bolivia isn’t the only place with beautiful deserts and otherworldly landscapes, discover the Atacama desert, which is a few hours away from Uyuni. Learn everything you need to know about how to get there, what to do, and more!
Salar de Uyuni has become one of the most significant attractions in Bolivia since its desert gathers a variety of places and visually striking sceneries, such as:´p>
But this doesn’t end here, Bolivia shares part of its deserts with Chile, that’s why you cannot miss the opportunity of visiting the Atacama desert, a place full of natural wonders, mysteries, and astonishing landscapes. Make sure you get to know everything about this enigmatic place while you’re here.
Considered to be the driest desert on earth, this is the perfect location for those who love adventure and want to disconnect from the world. The Atacama desert is located in northern Chile and connects to the southwest part of Bolivia, which makes it easily accessible from the Uyuni Salt Flats.
The desert extends for 105,000 km², has an altitude of more than 4,000 meters above sea level, and it’s recognized for its mineral-rich soil, which makes Chile one of the principal producers of metallic minerals, such as copper, gold, iron, and silver, as well as for non-metallic minerals.
Million years ago, this desert used to be a seabed, but now due to the climate change and the Andes mountain range, rain is almost something unknown to these lands since the average rainfall is about 15 mm (0.6 in) per year.
A fun fact about this location: Part of the Atacama desert is compared to Mars because of its otherworldly appearance. This particular location is constantly used for filming Mars scenes. As well, in this land, NASA tests instruments for future Mars missions.
This remote location gathers lots of tourist attractions and without a doubt, it has become one of the best things to do in Chile. Here you’ll find all the best things to see in this magnificent desert:
This is everyone’s favorite attraction while exploring the Atacama desert, make sure you add it to your to-do list! Located in the northern part of Atacama you’ll find Tatio Geysers, a group of 80 geysers that receive more than 100,000 visitors per year.
This show can be appreciated from 6 A.M. to 7 A.M. since it only happens when the temperature drops down to 0°C and when the fumaroles reach a temperature of 85°C. Make sure to bring warm clothes and follow the safety measures to experience this natural wonder at its fullest.
The Moon Valley
Without a doubt, the Moon Valley takes the award for best visually striking and otherworldly landscapes due to its lands that seem to resemble the moon’s surface. Make sure to visit this location during the evening to experience the best sunset you’ve ever seen, and if you stay until it’s dark, you’ll be astonished by its night skies, where you’ll feel as if you were in space! It is located 13 kilometers away from the west of San Pedro de Atacama.
5 km south from San Pedro de Atacama, you’ll find a lagoon surrounded by the Andes mountain range, which scenery will captivate you more than any other place. What makes Laguna Cejar so special is the fact that you can easily float in these waters, even better than in the Dead Sea!
San Pedro de Atacama
Considered to be the archeological capital of Chile, this small town is where your trip starts. San Pedro de Atacama is located in the middle of the action since it is just a few hours away from Salar de Uyuni. In this remote location, you’ll be able to find hotels and hostels, restaurants, and last but not least, an astronomical observatory where you’ll be able to glance at the stars and explore the night sky with a large telescope.
These are a few of the many things that you can do in the Atacama desert, keep reading to know how to get there and finally see this astonishing destination with your own eyes!
If you plan to travel through South America without missing anything on the way, we got you covered! Here you’ll find the information you’ve been looking for:
Fly to Calama: Unfortunately, San Pedro de Atacama doesn’t have an international airport, but you can easily get there by taking a flight to Calama, and then take a bus from there to San Pedro de Atacama.
Keep in mind that the flight could be a little pricey, and if you’re traveling on a budget it would be better for you to save the extra money.
One of the most recommended options to get to San Pedro de Atacama is going through Bolivia. If you are planning to see the Uyuni salt flats, this would be the best opportunity for you since most of the tour operators offer a transfer to San Pedro de Atacama at the end of the 3-day tours!
It is worth mentioning that San Pedro de Atacama is a small town with limited internet access. If you are planning to do this on your own, we highly recommend getting a local sim card and taking your time while deciding which bus company to take. In this area, it’s not so safe to wander alone and especially if you don’t speak Spanish.
Luckily for you, we have a complete guide about tour operators to help you decide what’s the best option for you and fulfilling a lifetime experience in the desert.
The Atacama Desert and Salar de Uyuni complement each other. Unquestionably these places are the best tourist attractions in South America. If you are going to start your adventure from San Pedro de Atacama, make sure you read our guide and get to know all the details for visiting the Uyuni Salt Flats from this beautiful location.