So marked is the contrast between northern Chile and the south that you might not believe you’re in the same country. The region’s striking landscapes include the Altiplano and the vast landscapes of the Atacama Desert, the driest desert in the world. The oasis village of San Pedro provides the perfect base from which to explore the region.
San Pedro is at the center of the Atacama Indian culture. Archaeologists working in the region have recovered over 4,000 skulls, innumerable mummies, weapons, stones and pottery that are now on display at the Father Le Paige Museum.
A dawn excursion to the impressive El Tatio geysers, which gradually come to life with the rising of the sun, is an incredible start to your trip to the Atacama. The village of Toconao, with its sculptures of white volcanic stone and the huge Atacama Salt Lake, an inland salt sea dating back millions of years, are awe-inspiring excursions not to be missed.