Atacama & Uyuni

You are about to venture into the wildest landscapes in Northern Chile and Southern Bolivia. The Atacama Desert and Uyuni Bolivia salt flats are two perfectly matched destinations. That is to say, you can travel through Chile and Bolivia in one trip. 

 

In this travel guide, you will find information about the Atacama Desert and Uyuni Bolivia’s most popular tours, and what you can expect in both destinations. Read about the moon-type desert in one of the driest corners of the Earth, and the white endless solid ocean made of salt. Learn about the amazing wildlife surrounded by volcanoes and colorful lagoons. Find out what are the main natural attractions in San Pedro de Atacama and Uyuni, and our favorite restaurants. Finally, discover sustainable projects led by local communities. 

 

Attractions
Attractions

Attractions

Eating & Drinking
Eating & Drinking

Eating & Drinking

Tours You Might Like

Tips & Advice

Tips & Advice

Atacama on a map, where is the desert?

The Atacama Desert comprises a big portion of Northern Chile. It borders Southern Peru and Bolivia but also Northern Argentina and the South Pacific Ocean. It covers 995 miles of stony soil, sun, and salt flats. 

Atacama desert temperature

Temperatures can drop up to -13 F at night and rise up to 122 F during the day. The average temperature during the day is 95F. A meaningful rain can happen every 15 or 40 years. Thus, UV radiation is high (sunscreen and sunglasses are a must!).

How can I reach the Atacama Desert?

The nearest airport is Calama in Chile. From here you can take land transportation to San Pedro de Atacama at the gateway of the desert. The trip lasts 1h 30 min.

Can I book an accommodation in San Pedro de Atacama?

Yes, though this is a small village there are many options. No worries on that!

How many feet above sea level is San Pedro de Atacama?

Around 7900 feet.

Can I book a tour to go stargazing in San Pedro?

Yes! Astronomy tours are a common thing in Atacama. It is really easy to book them and you don’t have to travel far from the town. 

Can I visit Atacama and Uyuni on the same trip?

Yes. In  6 days you can visit the highlights of both destinations.

What is the Uyuni salt flat tour?

It is a 3-day expedition in a 4WD vehicle through different Bolivian landscapes like desert, high plains, lagoons and national parks. Many of these are actually surrounding the great salt flats which you will visit on the last day. So the Uyuni salt flat is the excursion to the white salt desert but also the discovery of the neighboring natural highlights. 

 

Where are the Uyuni salt flats located?

Uyuni Bolivia salt flats are located south of the country amidst the Andes mountains and 11975.07 feet above sea level.

 

Where can I stay during the Uyuni salt flat tour?

As this is one of the most remote places on Earth, accommodations don’t abound. During the Uyuni Bolivia salt flats tour you will usually stay in basic refuges and occasionally enjoy 1 night in a hotel (the Hotel de Sal, included on our tour). 

 

What is the weather like during the Uyuni Salt Flats tour?

Windy and rather cold. Temperatures can drop up to 26.6 F and rise to 70 F. 

Which is the nearest city to the salt flats?

The nearest city is Uyuni located at the age of the salt flats. Near the city you will discover the Train Cemetery included in the Uyuni salt flats tour. 

Sustainability

Sustainability

Atacama & Uyuni

Communitary turism in Lickantay community 

A project conceived to promote sustainable tourism in the region and the continuity of culture, traditions, and gastronomy of Lickantays in Peine, Talabre y Santiago de Río Grande villages nearby the Atacama Desert. You will enjoy a tour guided by one native and live an immersive experience. 

 

Lickantay’s Craft Art

Many native craft makers specialize in wood, wool, and clay pieces of work. Some practice a fusion of traditional and modern techniques. Read more about them here.

 

Astronomic Tours 

Many local operators offer an astronomic tour near San Pedro de Atacama. Usually, these experiences are held not far from the city. Sometimes you can live this experience in the same accommodation you have chosen. Some of these local operators are

  • Space OBS – Specialised in astronomic tours
  • Atacama Mística – To experience life in an “ayllu” and observe the sky too.

 

Green Tourism Routes

In the Atacama Desert, there are some green paths where sustainable behavior is really strict. The sustainable measures are highly respected by all travelers and the landscapes are pristine! Some of them are

  • Parque Nacional Nevado Tres Cruces
  • Quebrada del Diablo en Valle de Catarpe

Volcanic rock sculptures 

In Tierra Atacama hotel you can enjoy of Alejandro González sculptures. Alejandro is a native craft master from the village of Toconao. He was declared a “Human Living Treasure” by the Chilean Government. His sculptures made of liparit rock (volcanic rock) represent a traditional work ok Toconao. 

 

Sustainability tips

Useful tips to be a responsible traveler:

  • Take your reusable bag when you go shopping.
  • Choose to consume local products from artisans and small producers.
  • Use a bike or walk to explore the city, it is healthy and reduces carbon footprints.
  • When you go on an excursion, ask for food without plastic wrap.
  • Don’t leave trash in nature.
  • Take a reusable bottle with you.
  • Don’t feed native wildlife.
  • Use rechargeable batteries.