South America’s second largest desert, the Atacama, spans some 41,000 square miles across Chile, Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina and is widely considered the driest place in the world. In mankind’s written history, rain has never touched some stretches. But in northern Chile, the high-altitude desert’s extreme hyperaridity has created a landscape that’s anything but barren. And at Alto Atacama Desert Lodge & Spa, an all-inclusive lodge nestled in the Salt Mountain Range’s lush Catarpe Valley, a wide range of excursions pairs with simple luxury and extraordinary stargazing for one of the world’s most unique stays.
The nearest airport, at Calama, is a two-hour drive from Alto Atacama; the resort is over a mile away from San Pedro de Atacama’s bustling plaza. Devoid of TVs and in-room Wi-Fi, the lodge’s 42 rooms overlook the Catarpe Valley and inspire you to set aside the outside world and embrace the Atacama’s easy-going nature. The terracotta-colored lodge’s low, earthy architecture and its rustic interior is influenced by the nearby village of San Pedro de Atacama and is enveloped by the Atacama’s natural beauty: the lodge’s six private pools circle an outdoor lounge that overlooks the red Salt Mountains, and open-air patios lead directly into the desert. Nearby, the lodge’s overly friendly llamas and alpacas munch on alfalfa and fallen algarrobo seeds and nudge guests for extra attention.
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