The Atacama Desert is one of Chile’s most stunning destinations, boasting a landscape that is unlike anything else in the world. But with such a unique environment, it’s important to know the best time to visit Atacama Desert in order to make the most of your trip. In this guide, we’ll explore the different seasons and times of day to help you plan the perfect Atacama adventure. Whether you’re a nature lover, adventure seeker, or simply looking to relax and unwind, we’ll help you plan the ultimate Atacama experience.
When is the Best Time to Visit Atacama Desert?
The Atacama Desert is a year-round destination, but the best time to visit depends on what you want to do and see. In general, the dry season (May to September) is the most popular time to visit, as the weather is mild and the skies are clear. However, the shoulder season (April and October) can also be a good time to visit, as there are fewer tourists and the weather is still pleasant.
Best tours to Atacama Desert
During the Rainy Season
The rainy season in the Atacama Desert runs from January to March, and while it can be a beautiful time to visit, it’s also the most unpredictable. The rain can cause flash floods and make some roads impassable, so it’s important to check the weather forecast before planning a trip during this time.
During the Shoulder Season
The shoulder season, which runs from April to May and from September to October, is a great time to visit if you want to avoid the crowds. The weather is still mild and there are fewer tourists, so you can explore the attractions without feeling rushed or crowded.
During the Dry Season
The dry season, from May to September, is the most popular time to visit the Atacama Desert. The weather is mild and the skies are clear, making it the perfect time to explore the salt flats, geysers, and hot springs. However, this is also the busiest time of year, so you’ll need to book your accommodations and tours well in advance.
Visiting Early in the Morning
One of the best times of day to explore the San Pedro de Atacama Desert is early in the morning, when the air is cool and the light is soft. This is a great time to take a hot air balloon ride over the desert or visit the Tatio Geysers, which are at their most active in the early hours.
Visiting During the Day
During the day, the San Pedro de Atacama Desert can be quite hot and dry, so it’s important to wear sunscreen and bring plenty of water. This is also the best time to explore the salt flats and other attractions, such as the Valle de la Luna, which is known for its otherworldly rock formations.
Visiting Late in the Afternoon
As the sun begins to set, the Atacama Desert takes on a magical quality, with the warm light casting long shadows across the landscape. This is a great time to take a hike in the Moon Valley or visit the Puritama Hot Springs, which are a series of natural pools fed by hot springs.
The weather in the Atacama Desert can be extreme, with hot days and cold nights. During the dry season, temperatures can range from 0°C to 25°C, while during the rainy season, temperatures are milder but there is a higher chance of rain. Whenever you visit, be sure to bring layers n addition to temperature changes, the Atacama Desert is known for its strong winds, which can make it feel colder than it actually is. Be sure to bring a windbreaker or jacket to protect yourself from the wind.
It’s also important to note that the San Pedro de Atacama Desert is known for its high altitude, with many attractions located at over 4000 meters above sea level. If you’re planning to hike or explore at high altitude, be sure to take precautions and acclimatize properly to avoid altitude sickness.