Take a romantic trip to northern Chile, and make sure you spend time in the driest non-polar desert in the world, the Atacama Desert. Filled with everything from rugged landscapes and snowy-white salt flats, to angelic lagoons and conical volcanoes, there’s simply no place in the world like it.
Next time you go to the Atacama Desert with the one you love, make sure you take time to go on Atacama Desert tours like these:
Valle de la Luna, or Moon Valley, is just minutes outside of San Pedro de Atacama—but one look at it, and you’ll think you’re light years away from Earth. (Hence the name.) You can best explore this moonlike playground by walking, cycling or driving right through it, or step the activity up a notch by crawling through the valley’s caverns, climbing over dunes and ridges, or hiking its peaks.
With its high altitudes and low population density, the Atacama Desert has some of the best stargazing in the world. Devoid of any light pollution, and packed with plenty of remote corners just perfect for camping, it’s here where you can fully immerse yourselves in the Milky Way. If you’d rather stay in a nice hotel, hop on one of the stargazing tours that leave every night from San Pedro de Atacama. No too far away, there’s even the ALMA Observatory, the largest public observatory in the world.
Thanks to its salt flats, the Atacama Desert has a huge salt concentration, and its lagoons and ponds benefit. Go off the beaten path, and you’ll find a great place to go for a float: Laguna Baltinache. Here, you’ll get Dead Sea-level floating in a place that makes you both feel like you have the whole desert to yourself.
You might be surprised to learn that, hidden amongst its rocky-red terrain and delicate lagoons, the Atacama Desert is full of pale pink flamingos. To get up close and personal with them, opt for Atacama Desert tours that take you to Laguna Chaxa, a huge salt lake with plenty of footpaths and boardwalks where you and your special someone can stroll and take in the views. Bring your camera and stay for sunset; you’ll have pictures the both of you can gawk at for a lifetime.
Walk through the small village of San Pedro de Atacama, and you’ll feel like you’re stepping back centuries in time. It’s filled with mud-brick buildings and dirt roads, and on its streets, there are free-roaming livestock, vendors selling handmade souvenirs from their streetside stands, and—unlike most modern travel destinations—little-to-no electricity or WiFi. While you’re there, don’t miss the church and try one of the free daily walking tours. Atacama Desert tours like these will show you that this part of the world is as authentic as it gets.