Chile Explore the Atacama Desert "one of the most dramatic places in the whole of South america". EMILY STEPHENSON Deep desert canyons, salt lakes and high altiplano in the shadow of volcanoes – this is a Mecca for those who want to explore the extreme. The Atacama is, for many, the highlight of any trip to Chile and, as the driest place on Earth, it is possible to visit all year round and guarantee clear skies and amazing scenery. It is also one of the best places in the Southern Hemisphere to appreciate the night sky and some of the lodges have their own observatories/telescopes for guests’ use. In the North of Chile, bordering Peru, Bolivia and Argentina, the Atacama is edged between the Pacific Coast and the Andes. Most visitors fly up to Calama from Santiago and spend three or four nights on the edge of the desert town of San Pedro de Atacama where there are now half a dozen very good small lodges. Most of the lodges have good vehicles and guides for general sightseeing and we have other guides in the area for more specialist trips- climbing the volcanoes, birding and geology. For anyone who enjoys the great outdoors but also appreciates the comfort of a good lodge and a pisco sour by the fire at the end of the day, San Pedro is the perfect base. For those with more time and a more adventurous inclination, San Pedro is also the starting point/end point for two of the great overland border crossings/road trip in South America: – The crossing into Bolivia takes in the altiplano and the moon-like salt pans of the salt pans of Uyuni. We have expert guides and 4×4’s who can manage this adventure for clients so taking in this great road trip in safety and with reliability. – The crossing into Argentina is less celebrated but not less exciting and spectacular as you cross the altiplano and the Andes and descend into one of Argentina’s great secrets- the province of Salta.