Tierra Atacama Hotel & Spa: The Experience

Located in Atacama Desert, Chile

Hiking is one of Tierra Atacama's main attractions.

While the lodge itself is a gorgeous oasis that beckons travelers to relax and enjoy the scenery, one comes to Tierra Atacama to explore its jaw-dropping surroundings. The lodge offers a plethora of ways to do so, from guided excursions to the top sites in the area to nature walks, cultural tours, mountain-bike rides, and hikes in lesser known valleys. Guests who book the all-inclusive package are entitled to two half-day activities or one full-day activity each day.

See our sample itinerary describing how you would experience this lodge during a 5-day stay.

Things to Do

The following experiences are available as small-group excursions and are included in the cost of your stay. Private excursions may be arranged at an additional cost.

Excursions by Four-wheel-Drive

Choose from seven excursions, driving through the breathtaking Altiplano to explore the highland lagoons or discover the rock plugs and salt lakes of Salar de Tara. Wander among steam columns on the geothermal fields of El Tatio Geisers, or pay a visit to the unusual alpine village of Machuca, where roofs are made of cactus and barbecued llama is on the menu. Head to the surreal, wind-sculpted landscapes of Moon Valley, watch flamingos gather on the glistening salt flats, or bathe in a natural hot springs—a rarity in one of the driest places on Earth!

Walking and Hiking

Set out on guided walks and hikes that cater to a wide range of abilities and interests. A few hours’ walk brings you past archaeological sites to Death Valley or into the remarkable Kari Gorge in the Salt Mountains. See petroglyphs on a walk along a centuries-old caravan route, or hike among Candelaria cacti to waterfalls in Guatin Canyon. Go on an invigorating climb to thermal springs and reward yourself with a dip in the sparkling natural pools, or try some high-altitude trails, spotting wildlife and stunning scenery at more than 13,000 feet.

Biking

Guided bike trips of one and a half to four hours allow for an active exploration of a variety of landscapes, including Devil’s Canyon, the salt-encrusted Cejar Lagoon, Moon Valley, and the nearby oasis villages.

Volcano Climbing*

Climb to the summit of Toco (18,645 ft/5,650 m) for great views of the Bolivian Altiplano and the Atacama Salt Flat. If time and weather permit, more challenging volcano treks can be arranged.

*This experience is physically demanding and requires that guests stay at least five days for altitude acclimation. If you are interested in volcano climbing, please discuss with a reservation specialist.

Horse Rides

Saddle up (Western style) for a ride through the desert on an Atacameñan horse. Depending on experience and wishes of the participants, the rides can take between two and five hours. Chaps and hard hats are supplied by the lodge.

Nature Walks and Birding

Join a guide for a nature or birding walk and learn about the rich local flora and fauna. Between the canyons, salt pans, and high plateaus, the varied landscapes of Atacama draw many different types of birdlife. Birders might spot Andean avocets, plovers, and several species of flamingo on the salt flats, while the wetlands of the Altiplano draw Andean geese, rufous-bellied seedsnipes, and much more. Examine the area’s unusual plant life and discover how vegetation here has adapted to the harsh desert conditions; or go on a stargazing walk in one of the best places on the planet to watch the sky.

Cultural Excursions

Delve into the past on a visit to the archaeological museum in San Pedro de Atacama, and pay a visit to the nearby Pukara de Quitor Fortress, built some 700 years ago. Peer at age-old petroglyphs etched in rock in what seems like the middle of nowhere, and glean the stories of traders, shamans, and indigenous peoples who have passed this way.

Stargazing

Stargaze at the nearby observatory, using high-powered telescopes to view some of the darkest skies anywhere.

Food and Drink

The chefs at Tierra Atacama craft excellent meals drawing on Chilean, Mediterranean, and Asian cuisines and using the best of Chilean produce—from beef, lamb, and seafood to locally grown specialties such as quinoa and Andean potatoes. The gardens supply fresh herbs, and fruits and vegetables are sourced from local farmers whenever possible. The wine list is extensive, offering the opportunity to sample many Chilean wines, and the bar menu includes traditional drinks as well as Chilean concoctions like the pisco sour with a signature twist.

The Spa

Relaxation is an important part of the equation at Tierra Atacama, and the Uma Spa offers a variety of treatments and water features designed to restore and invigorate after an active day of exploring. Take a steam bath; soak in the infinity pool or a private hot tub, gazing out at Licancabur volcano; or follow a special water circuit that uses different temperatures, bubbles, and jets to relax you. Natural desert elements are used for a variety of treatments, from hot-stone massages to body wraps.

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