San Pedro de Atacama – Head NORTH to explore some more stunning spots

The mighty El Tatio Geyser

Do you want to explore a desert? Or rather some salt flats? Or maybe you want to bath in hot springs, observe flamingos, or marvel at some geysers? Well, San Pedro de Atacama is the perfect base for all of that and much more. This small mountain town located in northeastern Chile on a 2.500 meters high plateau in the Andes is surrounded by some of the most dramatic landscapes I have ever seen.

In this blog series I share my favourite spots around San Pedro de Atacama, including a few tips on how to combine them on daytrips and on how to avoid the tourist crowds.

The main attraction north of San Pedro de Atacama is the breath-taking El Tatio geyser. It’s located around 80 km outside town on 4.320 meters about sea level. The road to the geyser can be driven by any car, but it’s very bumpy so it takes a long time to get there. Thankfully there are some beautiful things to see along the way. 

View over the salt flats while slowly climbing further up into the mountains

Canyon with secret natural hot springs 

1.       Pass by the small village of Guatin, park your car at this location and walk down the narrow path into the canyon.

 Your in the middle of a huge desert so it’s amazing to see the green vegetation inside this canyon.

4.     The further into the canyon you walk the warmer the water gets. It comes from the Puritama hot springs.

It’s fun and relaxing to take a dip in the pools of the river with natural hydromassage 

Enjoy the landscape and look out for animals 

The shy Vicunias can often be found in small herds near ponds

 Lots of volcanoes can be seen all around.

The ground is very dry so cars can be spotted from far away by the dust clouds they cause.

Eat Llama meat in Machua

This small mountain town is located on over 4.000 meters above sea level.

El Tatio Geyser

The geyser can only be seen early in the morning so we decided to camp close by. This was our spot for the night. It sure looks beautiful but it was extremely cold (the doors and windows were frozen in the morning) and the high altitude was a challenge for our bodies.

It's recommended to get there around 6:00 am to see the full power of the geyser.


It’s possible to walk through the fields of geysers on dedicated paths

The power of nature was mind-blowing and let us forget the difficult night.

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