Indagare Matchmaker: Atacama Desert

The intrepid and adventurous traveler will find the dramatic landscapes of the Atacama Desert and the ample opportunities to experience the outdoors hard to resist. Whether traveling as a couple, a family or a group of friends, the following properties offer wonderful lodging options no matter the travelers' interests.

Alto Atacama

Located in the Catarpe Valley just outside San Pedro Atacama, Alto is set against the striking backdrop of the Salt Mountain Range. Guests will experience a sense of remoteness despite being just a mile outside of town.

  • Best for: Couples, families and groups of friends who want to take advantage of the hotel’s common spaces, spa and scenery. Alto has beautiful public spaces (the best among the hotels of Atacama), making it a good choice for those interested in passing time between excursions relaxing at one of the six small pools.
  • Rooms to Book: Suite Tilo has an outdoor shower and a terrace with views of the lagoon.
  • Keep in Mind: Alto is the only hotel that is located outside of San Pedro de Atacama, so those wanting to venture into town take a 10-minute bike ride or a short drive, which the hotel can arrange.

Tierra Atacama

Built on an old cattle corral on the edge of San Pedro, Tierra Atacama has 30 rooms, all of which overlook the beautiful volcanic mountain range.

  • Best for: Couples, families and groups of friends who want to mingle with other guests in the lively bar and dining area.
  • Room to Book: Since the hotel is tiered, every room offers the same stunning view. Families should book the two-story, three-bedroom suite.
  • Keep in Mind: While the views are stunning, rooms tend to get quite hot as they are filled with direct sunlight throughout most of the day.

Explora Atacama

Explora Atacama

opened in San Pedro in 1998 and is known for its outstanding guiding and adventure excursions. The hotel is set on 42 acres and its 50 rooms and common spaces are focused around a central square.

  • Best for: Outdoorsy travelers who don’t mind smaller rooms and less-pampering amenities but are looking for the best excursions and guides, all of whom go through an extensive in-house training program.
  • Rooms to Book: The Tulur Rooms, which have views of the Andes Mountains.
  • Keep in Mind: All excursions are shared with other guests though the groups are typically small (with eight people or so).

Awasi Atacama

Located off of one of San Pedro’s main streets, Awasi is the area’s most exclusive property with only eight (soon to be 10) rooms and private excursions.

  • Best for: Couples or sophisticated families with older children who want a tailored, private experience.
  • Rooms to Book: A small street splits Awasi Atacama’s property, with the main area (pool, restaurant, five circular rooms and the “living room”) on one side, and three rectangular rooms on the other. While the circular rooms are often preferred due to their location in the main area, the rectangular rooms are a bit larger and quieter.
  • Keep in Mind: Awasi is located right in town, so there are no views. The property does not have a proper spa, but private, in-room treatments can be arranged.

Published onSeptember 29, 2015

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