The Great Outdoors – Atacama, Chile

Northern Chile, what a totally unexpected start to our Chilean adventure! Atacama, one of the driest deserts in the world, definitely fuelled my insatiable appetite for adventure and the great outdoors.

Atacama is a place where you can fully immerse yourself in nature. Cactus Valley, Moon Valley, Mars Valley, geysers, hot springs, salt pans, volcanoes, Rainbow Valley, Devil’s Gorge, vast desert plains, oasis and canyons –

alfresco pursuits abound. Start with a trek up to the Valley rim to witness the spectacular views below into Mars Valley and soak up the breathtaking scenery.

The choices are endless. You just need to decide which pastime – will it be hiking, mountain biking, horse riding, an overland photographic journey or merely running down sand dunes as fast as your legs will take you?  If the latter, be sure to take a bandana to avoid sand blasting!

I thrive on being pushed out of my comfort zone and feel totally exhilarated when I exceed my own limits. One afternoon our Explora Atacama head guide, Nicholas, took us on a Level 3 technical mountain bike ride through the winding canyons of Devil’s Gorge! Madness, but such a rush!

After all this physical expense, you’ll need somewhere to relax after such full days of adventuring.  Our boutique hotel Explora Atacama is the perfect combination of fun-fuelled exploration with a side of well-earned rejuvenation. The property’s four inviting pools provide the ideal desert oasis to relax and unwind.

The critically acclaimed property also owns nearby Puritama Hot Springs and always keep a couple of the eight hot springs available for hotel guests.  Another highlight is Explora Atacama’s location is walking distance to the quaint town of San Pedro de Atacama. Ensure to take time to shop for local souvenirs.

Explora also boasts the most activities out of all the properties in Atacama, so a five to seven night stay is not out of the ordinary. Their guides are all excellent, working through individual interests and endurance levels to ensure each guest gets the most out of their stay. Impeccable service and delicious food are also part of their tempting all-inclusive package.

You may not come across many locals in the region as very few people live out in these remote areas but you will find llamas, vicuñas, flamingos and grey foxes – all which add an exotic otherworldly air to any overland excursion. 

Atacama’s variation in topography coupled with its multitude of activities will keep any die hard adventurer or nature enthusiast entertained for days on end.

by Co-Founder Executive Edge and Head of Leisure Yvonne Verstandig