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Chile Atacama Desert

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Atacama Desert

OUR GUIDE TO the weather in the Atacama Desert

This lunar landscape is the world’s driest desert, where rain falls an average of six days a year. Its hissing geysers, sprawling salt flats and otherworldly valleys of magnificent amber rocks are accessible throughout the year, with daytime temperatures remaining mostly in the 20°Cs thanks to the surprisingly high altitude. Chilean summer runs from December - February, offering warmer, sunnier weather by day and the best conditions for viewing the milky way at night. During this time flocks of wild flamingos, which are scattered across the salt flats year-round, gather together in huge numbers. The resultant haze of magenta feathers against orange and purple-hued mountains is spectacular. In the run up to Lent you may catch the regional festivities of el Carnavalón.
Though chances of rainfall are very slim, it is worth bearing in mind that January has seen some downpours in recent years which are best avoided as they may restrict access to the salt flats.
March - May and September - November are pleasant shoulder seasons with somewhat cooler temperatures and fewer visitors. The winter months of June - August bring chilly nights which reach below zero degrees, and the added possibility of snowfall in July means this could be a less ideal time to visit. Then again, July coincides with the Fiesta de la Tirana, where locals don flamboyant costumes for the dance of the devil in the Tarapacá region.

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Your edit for Latin American inspiration

Our exciting range of articles on Latin America explore everything from iconic destinations and lesser-known cultural gems to delicious traditional recipes. You’ll also find exclusive travel tips, first-hand client reviews and the chance to get your personal questions answered by our travel experts.

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Real Latin America Experts

  • Evie Oswald
    Evie Oswald - Travel Expert

    It's hard to believe that Evie has had time to cram so much in to her life so far. Having lived as a child in the Americas and Europe she found herself immediately attracted to Latin America.

  • Paul Winrow Giffen
    Paul Winrow-Giffin - Travel Expert

    After graduating in Computer Science, Paul spent seven months travelling from Colombia to Argentina and came home hooked on Latin America.

  • Lina Fuller
    Lina Fuller - Travel Expert

    Lina's passion for the continent where she was born really took off when she moved to Córdoba (Argentina) to study, spending the holidays travelling between Argentina and her native Colombia.

  • Sophie Barber
    Sophie Barber - Travel Expert

    Sophie lived in Chile before joining us and has travelled extensively across Latin America, from Mexico to the furthest tip of Patagonia and beyond to Antarctica.

  • Chris Rendell Dunn
    Chris Rendell-Dunn - Travel Expert

    Anglo-Peruvian Chris grew up in Lima and spent much of his adult life in between London and Cusco as a tour leader, before settling permanently in our London-based Tailor-made and Group Tours sales team.

  • Hannah Donaldson
    Hannah Donaldson - Travel Expert

    Having spent part of her childhood in Colombia and worked in Brazil and Costa Rica, Hannah's ties to Latin America run deep. Hannah is a much valued Travel Expert in our Tailor-made Holidays and Group Tours sales team.

Meet the team