Alternative air travel in Chile Ski and snowboard in Chile Find appropriate accommodation in Chile

Chile info:

 News
 Telephony
 Exchange
 Time
 Weather
 Distances
 Map
 Holidays

Northern Region of Chile
This is Chile's desert area.
Northern Chile, an area of amazing contrasts

Short description:

Northern Chile is a land of extreme contrast, where two uniquely Andean environments, the Altiplano and the Atacama Desert, combine with unpredictable and overwhelmingly beautiful results.

The vast and colorful Atacama Desert is said to be the driest desert in the world. In some parts of this desert, no precipitation has ever been recorded.

The Altiplano, on the other hand, receives tropical rains in January and February. Altitude, rather than aridity, is the limiting factor governing life on this airy plateau: only the hardiest and most highly specialized flora and fauna can survive the vagaries of life above 12,000 ft.

From north to south, some of the principal destination cities in northern Chile are: Arica, La Serena, Copiapo, Rio Huertado / Pisco Elqui, Antafogasta , Calama and San Pedro de Atacama.
Of these, all but Calama and san Pedro are coastal cities, with fine beaches, where clouds - let alone rain - are never an issue.
Accommodations, transportation, and other tourist services are on a par with the capital, and each city provides access to a distinct portion of the desert, sierra foothills, or Altiplano.

Arica | La Serena | Copiapo | Rio Huertado / Pisco Elqui | Antafogasta | San Pedro de Atacama Calama

Arica
Arica is a great place to begin your adventure in the northern part of Chile. You can enjoy the warm Pacific beaches, tour around the city and see the hieroglyphs, followed later by a tour to the Altiplano to experience wild life in the driest desert of the world. The Atacama Desert has no sign of life on the one hand but on the other hand the beautiful green valleys that cut through the desert are full of life. From Arica you can make your connection to the neighboring countries of Peru and Bolivia, South America.(top)

Calama
Close to Calama is the worlds largest copper mine and some interesting archeological sites. It is located in the middle of the Atacama desert, the driest of the world.(Top)

Antofagasta
Antofagasta is a coastal city in the north of Chile where beautiful rock formations nearby some of its beaches are a main tourist attraction. The worlds largest telescope is being built on mount Paranal, 200 km South of Antofagasta. This is an area with the clearest skies of the world, where only 20 days out of the year a cloud can be seen in the sky.(Top)

Copiapó
Nice beaches, most of them unexploited, surround the area of Copiapo. A perfect place to visit the flowering desert. A phenomenon that occurs only some years, and is one of mother natures most wonderful spectacles.(Top)

La Serena (Beaches, rent a car)
If you want a nice rest on a perfect beach, this is the place to go. The well named Pacific (meaning peaceful) Ocean waters are warm and ready to receive tourists from all over the world. Close to La Serena, there are beautiful valleys where some of the worlds most famous Chilean grapes are grown.(Top)

San Pedro de Atacama
This oasis is located at the northern end of the Salar de Atacama (salt flat), and was an important center for the Atacamenian or Kunza culture. In the middle of the XV century, it was conquered by the Inca Empire and later became a stopover for the Hispanic expeditions on their way south. Among the attractions in this town are an interesting archaeological museum and colonial church. In the surrounding area, you will find the pre-Hispanic village of Tulor, Quitor Pukará and the Inca ruins of Catarpe. The main natural attractions are the Valle de la Luna (moon valley), the Tatio Geysers and the Salar de Atacama (salt flat) itself. ( Top)

Rio Hurtado/Pisco Elqui (horseback, trekking, hacienda living, bed and breakfast)
Experience Adventure in the desert and its valleys on horse or on foot. One of North Chile's greatest hideouts.
Activities in the area are horseback riding, trekking, enjoying the beauty of the desert and its valleys and staying in an old reconstructed hacienda.(Top)

Map

Package tours to Northern Chile

The Atacama Desert EKA 027
07 days / 06 nights

Check out the Atacama desert, world's driest desert, learn about its history, geography, visit the salt flats and the "Moon valley" and see how the locals live and survive in this harsh environment.

Rent a Car in Northern Chile



Category A
City cars for rent in Chile
Kia Morning or similar city car
1000cc gasoline engine, 2 doors, manual shift, and radio. This car is for a maximum of 2 persons, and is only rented in Santiago. You may seat four people inside this vehicle, but then you will much almost nothing of inside space left for your bags
Rate by: Price in USD:
Day $ 49
Week $ 320
Month $ 1.150
Category BHatchbacks  for rent in Chile
Suzuki Swift or similar subcompact car.
This 1200cc gasoline engine hatchback car category comes equipped with 4 doors, manual shift, two airbags, power assisted steering, air conditioning, and radio. Good vehicle for 2 persons and for driving mainly on asphalt roads.
Rate by: Price in USD:
Day $ 59
Week $ 354
Month $ 1.350
Category C
Sedans  for rent in Chile
Nissan Versa, or similar compact sedan.
This 1600cc gasoline engine car category with trunk comes equipped with manual shift, air conditioning, power assisted steering, airbags, ABS brakes,door locks, and radio. (Ideal car up to four persons). A vehicle that can get you almost anywhere in Chile. It's also pretty economical. In this category we can also offer you an automatic transmission at an extra charge.
Rate by: Price in USD:
Day $ 78
Week $ 468
Month $ 1.590
Category D
Roomy sedans  for rent in Chile
Chevrolet Cruze or similar
Fully equipped roomy sedan with a 1800cc to 2000cc gasoline engine and with automatic transmission. This car category comes with ABS brakes, airbags, doors lock, power and rear view mirrors, and radio.brakes
Rate by: Price in USD:
Day $ 118
Week $ 708
Month $ 2.350
Category E
Vans  for rent in Chile
VAN
Could be a Kia Grand Carnival, or similar luxury fully equipped VAN with 7 or 8 seats and automatic transmission. This VAN comes equipped with air bags, electric windows, doors lock, and ABS brakes as well.
Rate by: Price in USD:
Day $ 175
Week $ 1.050
Month $ 3.090
Category F
Pickup trucks (4x2)  for rent in Chile
Double cabin, four doors pickup truck with simple traction (4x2)
This vehicle comes equipped with manual transmission, power assisted steering, air conditioning, and radio (good vehicle for driving on bad roads due to its high clearance, therefore ideal for Atacama desert and Patagonia)
Rate by: Price in USD:
Day $ 99
Week $ 594
Month $ 1.730
Category G
Pickup trucks (4x4) for rent in Chile
Double cabin (four doors) pickup truck with double traction (4x4)
Comes equipped with manual transmission, power assisted steering, air conditioning, and radio (excellent alternative for off road driving due to its high clearance and four wheel drive option. Excellent for Atacama desert or Patagonia and other off road places)
Rate by: Price in USD:
Day $ 145
Week $ 870
Month $ 2.500
Category H
Small Jeeps  for rent in Chile
Suzuki Vitara 1.600cc, 4x4, 3 doors jeep
Comes equipped with manual transmission, power assisted steering, air condition, and a radio with a CD player (Good vehicle for maximum 3 persons that like off road fun driving).
Rate by: Price in USD:
Day $ 89
Week $ 490
Month $ 1.730
Category I
SUVs  for rent in Chile
SUV 4x4 (Toyota 4 Runner or similar).
Fully equipped, automatic transmission. The best car to rent in Chile, because it provides luxury, high clearance, and four wheel drive…all in one vehicle. This vehicle category obviously has ABS brakes, air bags, and everything that a full equipped car should have.
Rate by: Price in USD:
Day $ 175
Week $ 1.050
Month $ 3.090

Day trips that take place in the Northern reagion

Fully organized short/day trips:

Salar de Atacama and Laguna Chaxa (Atacama Salt Flat and Chaxa Lagoon)
Our exploration will go towards South and after almost 30 minutes we will stop at the little village of Toconao where we will see its square, church and craftsmanship. Then we will go on our exploration to reach one of the areas of Los Flamencos National Reserve located in Atacama Salt Flat. Here we can gaze at different kinds of flamingos in their habitat.
This is a pm exploration because the sunset is amazing.
Pickup/Dropoff: Your hotel In San Pedro.
Duration: 4 to 4.5 hours. Difficulty: easy



Géiseres del Tatio (Tatio Geysers)
At 4.300 meters above sea level we can see Tatio Geysers which is an impressive geothermal field and it is linked to all the geothermal activity of this zone. In this place we can see 12 meters high steam columns which emerge from little pools of boiling water. Here we will have breakfast after sunrise.
On the way back we will be able to see vicunas and if we are lucky we might see foxes, ñandúes and vizcachas. We will also stop at the little village of Machuca which is a shepherds village and it is surrounded by a unique landscape where you can see llamas and birds as well as its traditional architecture made of stones and straw used in houses and church. Besides you will also see the area full of Cactaceas.
Pickup/Dropoff: Your hotel In San Pedro.
Difficulty: Easy, but there must be a previous altitude acclimatization.
Duration: 6 to 7 hours



Lagunas Altiplánicas (Altiplanic Lagoons Miscanti and Meñiques)
We will set off from San Pedro de Atacama towards Miscanti and Meñiques lagoons which are located at 4.200 meters above sea level. The landscapes are perfect to stop for a while to watch how beautiful their mountains, colors and contrasts are. We will visit Chaxa Lagoon which is located in a national reserve called Los Flamencos.
Here you will be able to watch the different kinds of birds such as flamingos and others. This exploration includes lunch in a homely restaurant in the village of Socaire.
Pickup/Dropoff: Your hotel In San Pedro.
Duration: 6 to 8 hours. Difficulty: easy



Valle de la Luna (Moon Valley)
Enjoy the surrealist landscape of Moon Valley at 2.500 meters above sea level located in The Salty Mountain chain South East of San Pedro de Atacama. Here you will be able to see beautiful and strange rocky formations which are the result of fluvial erosion, wind, rain and extreme temperatures.
We will walk through certain areas of this place watching unique landscapes and will be an unforgettable experience.
Pickup/Dropoff: Your hotel In San Pedro.
Duration: 4 to 4.5 hours. Difficulty: easy



Salar de Tara (Tara Salt Flats)
This route goes to the East and you will able to see interesting views of the volcanoes including the incredible Licancabur volcano and Tutelar mount. We will continue going up to the highest point of the route (4.700 meters above sea level). Here besides the colors and contrasts we will be able to see birds, salt flats and wetlands.
When the paved route finishes we will encounter the amazing rocky formations called Monjes de la Packana (Packana Monks). In this point the route which leads to Tara Salt Flat begins. Tara Salt Flat is a lonely and beautiful place where we will be able to enjoy an absolute silence and mystic atmosphere.
Pickup/Dropoff: Your hotel In San Pedro.
Duration: 6 to 8 hours. Difficulty: easy



Lagunas Altiplánicas: (Altiplanic Lagoons: Aguas Calientes & Tuyajto)
If you are one of those travelers who prefer to be in touch with nature and away from crowded cities then we have a new route for you to enjoy the beauty of Altiplanic Lagoons and their spiritual silence. At more than 4.000 meter above sea level we will take to the far Aguas Calientes (hot water) and Tuyajto Lagoons where you will be able to see the breathtaking landscapes.
It is a full day exploration which allows enjoying the peace of the desert as well as its salt flats, contrasts and colors. In this exploration you will also visit an area called Piedras Rojas (red stones) with impressive rocky formations which seem to be from other planet. If the weather is good we will have lunch in Tuyajto to watch its incredible landscape. After visiting this amazing place we will have lunch in a homely restaurant in the village of Socaire to taste its flavors.
Pickup/Dropoff: Your hotel In San Pedro.
Duration: 6 to 8 hours. Difficulty: easy



Termas de Puritama (Puritama hot springs)
Thought to be an experience of pleasure and relaxation where you will feel peace. It is located at the green bottom of a ravine and it is divided into 8 ponds of thermal water at 35 Celsius degrees and it is at 3.500 meters above sea level.
Pickup/Dropoff: Your hotel In San Pedro.
Duration: 3 hours. Difficulty: easy




Trekking/hiking in the Atacama desert and San Pedro de Atacama area


Altos de Catarpe

Aguas Calientes, Salt Flats, Tuyayito Lagoon and buffet lunch.

·Pickup/Dropoff: Your hotel In San Pedro.
·Type: Half day
·Duration: 2,5 hours
·Nights of acclimatization needed: 0
·Distance: 5 kms / 3 miles
·Max. altitude: 3,500 meters / 11.200 feet


Copacoya

Panoramic views of the volcanoes, wind eroded rocks, El Tatio Geothermal Fields, geysers, picnic lunch

·Pickup/Dropoff: Your hotel In San Pedro.
·Type: Full day
·Duration: 4,5 to 5 hours
·Nights of acclimatization needed: 2
·Distance: 7 kms / 4,3 miles
·Max. altitude: 4,500 meters / 14,400 feet
·Note! This is one of the acclimatization hikes required for high mountain ascents.


Cornisas

Panoramic views of the oasis, Atacama Salt Flat, Valle de la Muerte Dunes

·Pickup/Dropoff: Your hotel In San Pedro.
·Type: Half day
·Duration: 2 to 2,5 hours
·Nights of acclimatization needed: 0
·Distance: 4,2 kms / 2,5 miles
·Max. altitude: 3,000 meters / 9,600 feet
·Note! Family recommended


Cuchabrache Heights

Cordillera de la Sal, panoramic views, volcanoes

·Pickup/Dropoff: Your hotel In San Pedro.
·Type: Half day
·Duration: 2,5 to 3,0 hours
·Nights of acclimatization needed: 0
·Distance: 6,5 kms / 3,9 miles
·Max. altitude: 3,000 meters / 9,600 feet


Guatín – Punta del Inca

Vilama River, local flora, waterfalls, birdwatching, panoramic views

·Pickup/Dropoff: Your hotel In San Pedro.
·Type: Half day
·Duration: 2 to 2,5 hours
·Nights of acclimatization needed: 0
·Distance: 4,2 kms / 2,5 miles
·Max. altitude: 3,000 meters / 9,600 feet
·Note! Family recommended


Guatín – Puritama

Ancient cacti gardens, Puritama Hot Springs

·Pickup/Dropoff: Your hotel In San Pedro.
·Type: Half day
·Duration: 2 to 2,5 hours
·Nights of acclimatization needed: 1
·Distance: 5 kms / 3 miles
·Max. altitude: 3,500 meters / 11,200 feet
·Note! Family recommended


Kamur

Valle de la Luna, Cordillera de la Sal landscapes, panoramic views

·Pickup/Dropoff: Your hotel In San Pedro.
·Type: Half day
·Duration: 3,5 hours
·Nights of acclimatization needed: 0
·Distance: 9 kms / 5,4 miles
·Max. altitude: 3,000 meters / 9,600 feet


Kari

Kari Ravine Canyon, salt walls

·Pickup/Dropoff: Your hotel In San Pedro.
·Type: Half day
·Duration: 2 to 2,5 hours
·Nights of acclimatization needed: 0
·Distance: 5,5 kms / 3,3 miles
·Max. altitude: 3,000 meters / 9,600 feet
·Note! Family recommended


Kulamar

Salt flats, salar de Aguas Calientes, panoramic views, picnic lunch

·Pickup/Dropoff: Your hotel In San Pedro.
·Type: Full day
·Duration: 4,5 hours
·Nights of acclimatization needed: 2
·Distance: 10 kms / 6 miles
·Max. altitude: 4,200 meters / 13,440 feet


Machuca Río Grande

Machuca, riverbed hike, picnic lunch

·Pickup/Dropoff: Your hotel In San Pedro.
·Type: Full day
·Duration: 4,5 to 5,5 hours
·Nights of acclimatization needed: 2
·Distance: 16 kms / 9,6 miles
·Max. altitude: 4,000 meters / 12,800 feet


Salar de Atacama

Orchards of Toconao, laguna Chaxa, Salar de Atacama, bird watching, sunset

·Pickup/Dropoff: Your hotel In San Pedro.
·Type: Half day
·Duration: 1 hour
·Nights of acclimatization needed: 0
·Distance: 2 kms / 1,2 miles
·Max. altitude: 2,500 meters / 8,000 feet


Salar del Altiplano

Aguas Calientes Salt Flat, Tuyayito Lagoon, buffet lunch

·Pickup/Dropoff: Your hotel In San Pedro.
·Type: Full day
·Duration: 1 hour
·Nights of acclimatization needed: 2
·Distance: 3 kms / 1,8 miles
·Max. altitude: 4,500 meters / 14,400 feet
·Note! Family recommended


Salar de Tara

Licancabur Volcano, Cerro Toco, Quipiaco Lagoon, salt flats, panoramic views, picnic lunch

·Pickup/Dropoff: Your hotel In San Pedro.
·Type: Full day
·Duration: 1,5 hours
·Nights of acclimatization needed: 2
·Distance: 2,5 kms / 1,5 miles
·Max. altitude: 4,500 meters / 14,400 feet


Yerbas Buenas – Valle del Arcoiris

Yerbas Buenas petroglyphs, colored rock walls

··Pickup/Dropoff: Your hotel In San Pedro.
·Type: Half day
·Duration: 2 hours
·Nights of acclimatization needed: 1
·Distance: 2 kms / 1,2 miles
·Max. altitude: 3,000 meters / 9,600 feet





Orly hotel Santiago, Chile