The Atacama Desert is considered to be the driest desert on Earth, covering 70,000 square miles of northern Chile. The majority of the Atacama is virtually rainless due to the fact that it is nestled between the Andes Mountains and the Chilean Coast Range and is nearly sterile because of this. There is, however, an oasis town of San Pedro de Atacama, founded by the Spanish in 1577, where visitors can enjoy a visit to the R.P. Gustavo Le Paige Archaeological Museum or the Church of San Pedro.

Other activities in the Atacama include sand boarding, stargazing, trekking, and mountain climbing. There are also a number of natural and archaeological sites worth visiting: El Tatio, an active geyser field; the Salar de Atacama, a giant salt pan where you can find the Chaxas Lagoon; Moon Valley, featuring an eerily beautiful lunar landscape; Fort Quitor, a twelfth century fortification built by the indigenous Atacameño people; and the Puritama Hot Springs.

The Atacama Desert is a spectacular addition to any Chile itinerary. Talk to your Ker & Downey expert to learn more about the area and how to make it a part of your Journey of Distinction.