Chile Atacama Desert

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When's the best time to go to the Atacama Desert?

The Atacama desert is a year-round destination, although its climate is influenced by the Bolivian Andes. Occasional strong rains in Jan-Feb can close visitor sites for a few days and, between Jun-Sep, snow can hinder the high-altitude crossings into Bolivia and Argentina. For almost all of the year, the sun shines and the night skies can be spectacular.

For more detailed information visit our When To Go section.

What language is spoken in the Atacama Desert?

The main language spoken in the Atacama desert is Spanish.

What currency do I need in the Atacama Desert?

The Chilean Peso is the main currency used in the Atacama Desert. Bring your local currency needs from a larger town, where notes can be withdrawn from the many ATMs using a UK credit or debit card. Limits may be lower than your UK bank allows.

What's the time difference between the Atacama Desert and the UK?

The time difference between the Atacama desert in Chile and the UK is GMT -4 hours. Sometimes daylight saving is observed in the summer, from Sep/Oct to early Mar.  

What places combines well with the Atacama Desert?

When visiting the Atacma Desert in Chile you may want to conisder combinging your visit with the Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia, usually visited on a 3-day package by 4WD; La Serena and the Elqui Valley, 1.5 hours by air from Calama, a hour drive from San Pedro; Lauca National Park near the northern border, 800 km.

How do I get to the Atacama Desert?

To get to the Atacama desert fly from Santiago to Calama (2 hours) then it’s a 2 hour road journey (104 km) to San Pedro.

What festivals and cultural events are there in the Atacama Desert?

The feast day of Saints Peter and Paul:  24 Jun. The entire village of San Pedro joins in the celebrations with processions.

If you still have questions, please contact us and one of our Travel Experts will be happy to help.

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    Kathryn backpacked across Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Peru before joining us. She has a degree in Philosophy and French and is a keen netball player.

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    A globetrotter since her childhood, Alex spent a year studying abroad in Guadalajara and has returned to Latin America countless times since then.

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    Ben fell in love with Latin America on a six month backpacking trip from Colombia to Mexico in 1995. Since then he has explored most of South America, including living in Peru for a year. He is now Head of Sales.

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    Having caught the travel bug as a child, Millie has travelled all over Latin America before making her home in Buenos Aires for 3 years.

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