The spectacular landscape around San Pedro includes vast, desolate plains cradling numerous volcanoes of the most delicate colours imaginable, and beautiful lakes speckled pink with flamingoes. You’ll also find the largest salt flat in Chile, the Salar de Atacama, a whole field full of fuming geysers at El Tatio, a scattering of fertile oasis villages, and several fascinating pre-Columbian ruins.

The otherworldliness of this region is reflected in the poetic names of its geographical features – Valle de la Luna (Valley of the Moon), Llano de la Paciencia (Plain of Patience), Garganta del Diablo (Devil’s Throat) and Valle de la Muerte (Valley of the Dead), to mention but a few. You might prefer to explore these marvels by yourself (there’s no public transport, so you’d have to rent a 4WD), but several companies in San Pedro trip over themselves to take you on guided tours, often a more convenient option (see Casa Incaica). There is a fee to pay at each of the park entrances, ranging from CH$2000 to CH$11,000. With the exception of the Puritama thermal baths that are controversially owned by the luxury Hotel Explora, the entrance fees go straight back to the local community and help maintain the parks.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Chile features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

A journey along Chile's Route of Parks

A journey along Chile's Route of Parks

Chile has long lured the intrepid traveller but in 2018 things have stepped up a level. The newly created Route of Parks – a string of Patagonian national par…

12 Feb 2018 • Steph Dyson local_activity Special feature
Why you should visit Chile in 2018

Why you should visit Chile in 2018

A sliver of a country that somehow manages to encompass barren desert, knife-edge mountains and fertile river valleys, Chile has long attracted intrepid travell…

08 Jan 2018 • Steph Dyson insert_drive_file Article
Video: the 1 minute guide to Chile

Video: the 1 minute guide to Chile

Chile is an outdoor adventurer's paradise. From the parched peaks of the north's Atacama Desert to the storied wilderness of Patagonia in the south, the nature…

30 Nov 2017 • Colt St. George videocam Video
View more featureschevron_right