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Our Favorite Lodges in the Atacama, Chile

The Atacama desert, located in Northern Chile, is a remote and magical place. Home to geysers, flamingo filled lagoons, towering volcanoes, and skies chock full of stars it should be on every traveler's list. While the desert itself is considered one of the driest on the planet don't confuse that with a lack of comfort. The Atacama is home to some of Chile's finest lodges so you explore the sand dunes by day and relax with a glass of wine as the sun goes down at night. The Atacama has something for everyone – from ancient cultures to high mountain ascents to wildlife – and choosing the right lodge to fit your interests is an important part of making sure your visit to the Atacama is the once in a lifetime experience it should be. 

Explora - For the Adventure Seekers

Explora is located just blocks from the town of San Pedro but you would have no idea staying there. Situated atop a hill, it's actually one of the tallest structures in the area, affording spectacular views of the surrounding volcanoes from its many terraces. Similar to their Torres del Paine property, Explora prides themselves on their excursions – they designed the hotel in a minimalist manner to encourage travelers to get out and explore their surroundings. Explora has one of the most extensive high mountain programs in the area, a stable with horses trained by Explora's own French trainer, and exclusive access to one of the pools at Puritama hot springs. They also have their own telescope on the premises. This high powered telescope is located in an observation dome and allows travelers to see far away nebulas, galaxies, and planets.

Alto – For Desert Solitude & Culture

Alto is located in the salt mountain range, about 3 km from town. The terracotta buildings, all sourced from local materials, make it our favorite lodge aesthetically - blending seamlessly into tranquil valley in which it sits. All of the rooms have a private terrace, allowing travelers to enjoy the outdoors and the beautiful views of the salt range from the comfort of their own room. With 6 open air swimming pools, spa, rock garden, mountain bikes for use, and easy access to the Pukara de Quitor ruins, Alto has a lot to offer within its premises. The hotel also made it a priority to incorporate native plants, stones, and art - they even have their own corral of llamas on the property! Alto has a vast menu of excursions to choose from – we especially liked the option to use a half day excursion as a spa treatment, their cultural based programs, and their night time excursions which include an on-site observatory and telescope or a hike by the light of the full moon.

Awasi – For Tailormade Travel

Awasi is located in the town of San Pedro but it is truly an oasis within the city. Open the gates from the dusty street outside and enter a secluded and private enclave of just 8 cottages. All of the round cottages are separated by winding walkways and native plants adding to the sense of privacy and seclusion. Each cottage was constructed from adobe, wood, and stone and features a thatched roof, inspired by traditional style but very much equipped with all modern conveniences. Awasi assigns a private guide to each cottage and that guide remains with you throughout your stay. This personalized service allows unparalleled exploration of the Atacama. If you have specific interests or simply like being able to go at your own pace, there is no better option than Awasi. The food at Awasi is another focus – as a Relais Chateaux property they expect nothing but the best from their chef. The food is locally sourced and inspired by traditional ingredients and preparation but always with an interesting twist.

Tierra – For the All Around Package 

Tierra Atacama is a relative newcomer to the Atacama area and it lives up to all the expectations of a Tierra property. Like all Tierra properties, the lodge was constructed using local materials that would blend in rather than mar the natural landscape. Made of adobe, glass and wood the lodge blends into the desert surrounding it and is nestled within the clay walls of a centuries old corral. The rooms and terraces of the main lodge all have jaw dropping views of the volcanoes ringing the horizon. Tierra has a fine mix of great food, superb guides, and a variety of facilities to relax in after a long day in the desert. After a day of exploring the desert, relax by the fire, take a dip in the infinity pool, or watch the stars from one of the swinging baskets located in the garden. Their spa is one of the best in the Atacama area

Casa Atacama – For Great Value 

Casa Atacama is a great choice for those who are looking for a boutique option in San Pedro and an option at a more affordable cost. It's located just a short jaunt from the center of San Pedro and features clean lines and traditional construction. We highly recommend the suites which come with a private terrace overlooking the pool. The rooms are all decorated with local textiles and artwork. Casa Atacama is all inclusive of excursions and meals.

Ready to plan your trip to the Atacama? Check out our Best of Chile itinerary or ask us!

Your friendly desert lover, 

Kelsey Wenger 

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