Atacama, Chile  


If Patagonia is Chile’s southern land of liquid and glacial poetry, then Atacama is its mirror image. Equally poetic, it is situated in the arid far north, and marked by the Chilean Altiplano, or high mountains and plains to the East, and the stoically desiccated Atacama desert along the coast.  Atacama is extraordinary in its beauty, geographical scope, and in the diversity of its natural and cultural attractions. It has Andean peaks, volcanoes, salt flats, geysers, hot springs, mysterious petroglyphs, pre-Columbian ruins, and endless landscapes so rugged and  that NASA uses them to test robot vehicles designed to explore other planets. Chileans call it all El Norte Grande - The Great North. 


The San Pedro Oasis

In 1557 the Spaniards founded a mission with a chapel on the banks of the San Pedro river at 2,445 meters above sea level. With the largest population in the Atacama, it became the administration center for the Spaniards. To the North lies the Pampa del Tamarugal, to the East, the Altiplano and the Cordillera de los Andes, the Salar de Atacama and the Cordillera de Domeyko to the south, and to the west, the Pampa, the Cordillera de la Costa and the Pacific Ocean.

The area is characterized by blue skies and mild temperatures throughout the year. The Atacama Desert has a continental climate with temperatures that range from 86 degrees F during the day to 32 degrees F at night. In San Pedro de Atacama, the average winter temperature is 71 degrees F during the day and 39 degrees F at night. During the summer, temperatures range from 80 degrees during the day to 60 degrees at night. There may be some light rain.

ata07a.jpg (10859 bytes)The Sierra, or mountain area has a transition climate with average temperatures of 68 degrees F in the summer and 48 degrees in the winter. There is a chance of rain during the summer.

The Altiplano is a highland steppe with average temperatures ranging from 50 degrees F to 23 degrees. During the winter, there are rains and snowfall.

Flora and Fauna 

The llama , alpaca, guanaco and vicuņa, all part of the camel family are indigenous to the region.  Flamingoes are also seen year round.  Cacti represents the most common vegetation.


Via Santiago de Chile / Calama.  There are daily flights on several airlines.  The flights are approx. 2 hours and 50 minutes.  From Calama to San Pedro de Atacama there is a 103 km. ride over paved roads.


Sociedad Exploradora del Sur De America
Avda. Americo Vespucio Sur 80, Piso 5
Las Condes, Santiago de Chile
(56-2) 2066060
General Office
(56-2) 2066060
Direct Fax: (562) 228-46-55
Toll Free Fax # USA (800) 858-0855
Canada (800) 275-1129
Germany (013) 082-23-53

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