The Best Day Tours to Take From San Pedro de Atacama

Desert Landscape
Desert Landscape | © European Southern Observatory / Flickr
Will Lees

Quickly becoming one of the most visited places in Chile, San Pedro de Atacama has some of the most intriguing and unique landscapes in South America. Located roughly 40km (24.8 miles) from Bolivia, 150 km (93 miles) from Argentina, and right in the middle of the Atacama Desert, you are surrounded by impressive scenery and attractions that will draw you out of town and have you exploring. So take your pick and tick off at least a couple of these day trips while in San Pedro de Atacama.

Desert Landscape

Atacama Salt Flats

If there is ever a must do in San Pedro (as it’s abbreviated to), it is the Salar de Atacama, or Atacama Salt Flats. The largest salt flat in Chile, the edges of the salt flat begin 55km (34 miles) outside of town and provide a landscape that will make you feel like you are on another planet. There are many options for visiting the Salt Flats and travelers can plan a solo trip or visit as part of a multi-night tour.

Laguna Chaxa

Valle de la Luna

Valle de la Luna translates to Valley of the Moon, but could have been more fittingly called Mars Valley, as the red soil, massive caverns, and rocky topography give it the appearance of the Red Planet. Also comprising of sand dunes and monoliths, this beautiful valley makes for a great day trip to explore and catch the sunrise or sunset, and on a clear night, the moon will look closer than ever. Tours leave from San Pedro early and due to its proximity make for only a 4 hour day trip.

Moon Valley

Rainbow Valley

The Earth is a natural canvas and this area is like the palette of an artist, with the colours beautifully fusing together proving just why it’s called Rainbow Valley. The red canyons and rocky cliffs have a splash of colour combinations from oranges, yellows, white linings and glowing greens that make the area look as if it was painted by hand. Doing this tour you will get picked up from your accommodation, have time to explore the valley and also stop by the tiny town of Rio Grande.

Rainbow Valley

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