Sunrise over the Tatio Geysers

Atacama Desert: Tatio Geysers & Machuca Village


The Atacama Desert abounds with geologic wonders, and discovering them is why travelers visit this region of northern Chile. You'll find one such gem, the Tatio Geysers, located about 1.5 hours from the town of San Pedro de Atacama. At an altitude of 4,320 meters (14,173 feet), these are the highest geysers in the world. It's best to arrive early, at sunrise, as the contrast between the cold early morning temperatures outside and the boiling water of the geothermal field beneath the earth's surface causes the pillars of steam to rise as high as 10 meters (30 feet). There are also geothermal pools at Tatio, and visitors can take a soak and relax in this version of mother nature's jacuzzi.

On the return drive to San Pedro, there's a stop at Machuca, a small, humble village on the Altiplano whose residents have bred llamas and harvested Yareta (moss-like evergreen plants that can survive for thousands of years) for generations. It's a small but welcoming town, comprised of only about 20 homes and a simple chapel. That said, some locals sell crafts, and it's possible to snap photos of the llamas in the area as well as the flamingos that reside in nearby marshlands.

Itineraries with Atacama Desert: Tatio Geysers & Machuca Village

Patagonia & Atacama Desert - 10 Days

Explore regions on both ends of Chile's latitudinal spectrum with this 10-day itinerary. After getting a taste of Santiago, fly north to the Atacama desert—an oasis in the driest part in the world known for geysers, moonscapes, and starry skies. Then fly all the way south to Patagonia's Punta Arenas where you'll meet a penguin colony before finishing in Torres del Paine National Park for a range of activities and wildlife viewing.

Atacama Desert & Marble Caves Adventure - 7 Days

On this itinerary, you'll get to experience the two most beautiful regions of Chile: the northern Atacama Desert and southern Patagonia. Your adventure begins in the capital city of Santiago, where you'll glean insight into the culture on a city tour. Then it's off to the north and the otherworldly desert landscapes of Atacama. You'll visit geysers, lunar valleys, and even do some high-altitude stargazing. Finally, you'll head to Chile's unspoiled Patagonia region, where you'll visit one of the most unique sites on the continent: the marble caves of Lago General Carrera.

Explore the Atacama Desert - 5 Days

Spend your trip exploring San Pedro de Atacama, a laid-back oasis town on the edge of the driest desert on the earth. Revel in the stark beauty of the desert landscape, marvel at the dramatic scenery, and enjoy some of the world's best stargazing while enjoying the cozy hospitality and art in town.

Best of Chile - 9 Days

Explore two spectacular regions of Chile where few travelers venture on this 9-day itinerary. After checking out Santiago, you'll fly to the Atacama desert—an oasis in the driest part in the world known for geysers, salt flats, and starry skies. From here, head to Patagonia where you'll experience Torres del Paine National Park via a range of activities while staying in a fully sustainable EcoCamp.

San Pedro de Atacama & Uyuni - 8 Days

This seven-day itinerary affords just enough time to take part in one of the most epic journeys in South America: the multi-day 4x4 adventure from San Pedro de Atacama, in northern Chile, to the town of Uyuni, in southern Bolivia. Your journey starts in the town of San Pedro, an ancient desert outpost in Chile's northern Altiplano (high plateau) region. You'll take a tour of the lagoons around the Atacama Desert, and then you'll embark on the four-day journey to Uyuni. Along the way, you'll be awestruck by the seemingly endless salt flats, towering volcanoes, and painted mountains. You'll even overnight in a guesthouse made out of salt!

Elqui Valley & Atacama Desert - 9 Days

Explore two regions of Chile where few travelers venture on this 9-day itinerary. After checking out Santiago, you'll fly to the northern coast for day trips to offshore islands and Elqui Valley wine country. From here, head to the Atacama desert—an oasis in the driest part in the world known for its geysers, salt flats, and starry skies. If that's not enough, you'll also meet local indigenous communities on a guided cultural excursion.

Chile Grand Tour: Santiago, Atacama, Torres del Paine & Easter Island - 14 Days

Discover the incredible diversity of Chile's landscapes on this action-packed two-week adventure. Get to know the vibrant capital of Santiago, then head into the arid and otherworldly environs of the Atacama Desert. Venture south to Patagonia to hike to the towering peaks of Torres del Paine National Park before flying across the South Pacific to explore the mysterious icons and windswept coastlines of Easter Island.

Chile's Beaches & Natural Wonders - 12 Days

Stretching thousands of miles in length, Chile can feel a world away with its mountains, glaciers, deserts, and rugged coastline. This 12-day trip hits the highlights with a series of unique guided tours. Move at a relaxed pace as you make your way from the Atacama Desert in the north, to Patagonia in the south. You'll also make urban stops in Santiago, Valparaiso, and upscale Viña del Mar for two days of beachy fun.

Exploring Santiago & the Atacama Desert - 7 Days

This week-long itinerary allows you to experience the major cities and wine regions of central Chile as well as the arid desert landscapes in the country's north. First, you'll arrive in Santiago and take a city tour before discovering the nearby wilderness and wine country. Then it's a trip to the coastal seaport and UNESCO World Heritage Site of Valparaiso. Afterward, you'll jet off to the Atacama Desert in the north, where you'll visit the indigenous villages, geysers, painted mountains, salt flats, and lunar landscapes for which the region is deservedly famous.

Chile Highlights Adventure - 14 Days

The secret's out: Chile is one of the most naturally beautiful countries in Latin America, which places it high in the running for one of the most naturally beautiful countries in the world. This two-week adventure covers three of its most incredible regions. The first major stop on the itinerary is the northern Atacama Desert, which is famous for its lunar landscapes, steaming geysers, and expansive salt flats. Then it's off to Torres del Paine, the most-visited national park in Chilean Patagonia. Finally, you'll visit Rapa Nui, or Easter Island as its commonly known, to discover the secrets of its great stone idols.