Banner image

Highlights of the Atacama

Take in the stunning scenery of the Atacama – the world's driest desert. Explore its otherworldly valleys and rock formations, shimmering high-altitude lagoons, vast salt flats that reflect the sky and geothermal fields with geysers spouting steam from the depths of the earth. This is a great add-on to any trip to Chile at any time of year. It's no wonder they filmed Star Wars here...

Please send me the full itinerary for
Highlights of the Atacama

Thank you for your enquiry

Trip type


Trip length

4 Days





Highlights of the Atacama - 4 Days - $2,095

Trip Summary and Itinerary Map

Day 1: Transfer to San Pedro de Atacama

Day 2: Highland Lagoons and Socaire

Day 3: El Tatio Geysers

Day 4: Moon Valley; Transfer to Calama Airport

Start from Calama and end at Calama

Landmarks visited on Highlights of the Atacama

Operator's Itinerary

Day 1: Transfer to San Pedro de Atacama; Salt Mountains/Moon Valley

After arriving at Calama Airport, you'll be taken by a private transfer to your hotel in the colourful village of San Pedro de Atacama, passing the impressive rock formations on the way. San Pedro is located 2,440m above sea level in the middle of a vast Andean plain.

Depending on arrival times, you'll head for a half-day excursion into Atacama's salt mountains—Vallecito and Moon Valley—landscapes so alien that they were used as a filming location for The Mandalorian series. Vallecito, less crowded than Moon Valley, provides an otherworldly experience, with its historical ties to salt mining and exploration by NASA.

You'll be free in the evening to soak up the relaxed atmosphere in bohemian San Pedro. The town has many wonderful restaurants to choose from.

Accommodation: Casa Atacama NOI or similar

Day 2: Guatin Cactus Hike; Rainbow Valley and Petroglyphs

Today comprises two half-day hikes in one. The Guatin Cactus Valley takes you from the flat desert plains to rocky gorges, where you'll navigate streams and encounter the towering Cardon Cactus, perfect for hiking and birdwatching enthusiasts.

Your visit to the Rainbow Valley offers a glimpse into the ancient Lican Antai culture through petroglyphs and a stunning natural palette of colours, showcasing a mix of geological and human history. 

Meals: Breakfast, lunch

Accommodation: Casa Atacama NOI or similar

Day 3: El Tatio Geysers

Before dawn, your guide will collect you to head north, about 1.5 hours along a dirt road, to the famous El Tatio Geysers – a geothermal field flanked by soaring peaks. El Tatio is situated at 4,300m above sea level on the Bolivian border and is the highest geothermal field in the world. It's about as 'in the middle of nowhere' as you can get.

You'll be able to watch the geyser erupt and the brilliant salt crystals reflect around the steaming pools. We'll also visit Geyser Blanco where some hardy souls even try to dip in the cooler pools. Return to San Pedro de Atacama before lunch and enjoy the afternoon at leisure.

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation:  Casa Atacama NOI or similar

Day 4: Transfer to Calama Airport

You'll take a private transfer from your hotel in San Pedro de Atacama to Calama Airport, ready for departure or onward travel.

We recommend a flight departing after 5pm.

Meals: Breakfast

Why Swoop

We’ve got our feet on the ground

Expert Impartial Advice SVG

Impartial advice and a bespoke service to make your trip perfect.

Deep Roots in Patagonia

Deep Roots SVG

We are former guides, tour leaders, outdoor enthusiasts & adventurers.

For The Ends Of The Earth

Ends Of The Earth SVG

Swoop is proud to be B Corp Certified as we know sustainability is more than our carbon footprint (but we’re reducing that too).

We’re With You At Every Step

With You SVG

We’ll make sure you have the adventure of a lifetime.

Customer review background image

What our customers think of Highlights of the Atacama

Highlights of the Atacama trips scored 4.3/5 from 10 reviews

Standing on top of an empty Atacama Desert hill. Seeing no end to an horizon. And in absolute silence, surrounded by absolute beauty.

Travelled: December 2021

Hans Van Tartwijk - USA

What a fantastic contrast to the Patagonian area. We had the perfect sunset at Death Valley, the sunrise swim in the hot springs at the Tatio geysers was definitely a highlight and the geysers and scenery stunning.

Travelled: December 2018

Lena Altinger - Australia


Prices, Departures and Inclusions

  1. Prices for 2024/2025 based on a hotel twin room:

  2. 2 people:

    from USD $2,095 per person

  3. 1 person:

    from USD $3,095 per person

  4. Please contact us to discuss your preferred departure date and itinerary. 

    Test - leave this in!

Additional Notes

Final trip price – This will depend on the exchange rate on the day of booking.

Accommodation – The accommodation on this itinerary can be modified. Please see our guide to Atacama hotels for more information.

Single supplementPlease enquire.

Day 3 / El Tatio Geysers - Due to the high altitude and early departure the recommendation is to have a light dinner and no alcohol the night before. Bring warm clothing, sun cream, sunglasses, a bathing suit and towels. This excursion is not recommended for pregnant women and children younger than 6 years


  • Meals: 3 breakfasts, 1 lunch
  • Accommodation: 3 nights in a hotel in San Pedro
  • Private transfer from Calama Airport to San Pedro de Atacama
  • Private transfer from San Pedro de Atacama to Calama Airport
  • Private excursions with an English-speaking guide
  • Entrance fees


  • Meals not indicated in the itinerary
  • Drinks during lunch or dinner
  • Any extra/optional excursions
  • Personal equipment (see our recommended kit list)
  • Personal travel insurance
  • Gratuities/tips
  • International and domestic/in-country flights
  • Any visa, passport and vaccination expenses

Questions about this Trip?