The Alto Atacama Desert Lodge & Spa is a superb base for visiting the Atacama Desert and blends seamlessly into its surroundings very much like the typical dwellings of the area and is located ten minutes outside of the oasis village of San Pedro de Atacama. In the shadow of the Pukará de Quitor ruins and near the San Pedro River, Alto Atacama is situated in the North of Chile, surrounded by the Salt Mountains Range (Cordillera de la Sal) in the midst of Chile’s Atacama Desert. The interior decoration is faithful to the local aesthetic; rustic yet elegant, with local crafts adding warmth and character. Atacama features strong waves to the west in the Pacific Ocean and the driest desert in the world to the East, both of which invite you to see a place filled with magic and incomparable beauty. The Alto Atacama, therefore, is the perfect place to stay at while you visit this part of the country. Inspired to welcome adventurous hearts, those looking to escape the stress of the city, or perhaps the tender soul in search of a cozy shelter to celebrate love, but always to surprise. The hotel invites guests to look less with the phone and more with the eyes offering a journey to be treasured.
Alto Atacama has 42 comfortable rooms, all have a private terrace designed in an elegant, rustic style featuring local crafts, which differ slightly in size and position, with the top level Tilo rooms having a privileged position with patios overlooking the lagoon. They are the widest rooms and an additional exterior shower located in the court deprived of every room. All rooms have their own private terrace, perfect for enjoying a good book, or simply relaxing and admiring the views of the gardens and the mountains. All guest rooms are the perfect spot to absorb the colour and silence of the valley. Alto Atacama’s concept is simple and authentic. Moved with humble respect for nature and the local culture, the hotel is proud to promote this piece of the world that has been the local’s home for millions of years.
Alto Atacama has six small outdoor pools surrounded by extensive decked areas, an outdoor bar and it has a lighter menu option of sandwiches, salads and cheese platters, and they do BBQ on the weekend there in the outdoors near the pools, perfect for relaxing with a chilled glass of Chilean white wine and enjoying the dessert with mountain views. The cuisine at the hotel blends Mediterranean flavours with local organic ingredients. There is also a SPA featuring a Finnish Sauna, Turkish bath, Scottish showers and indoor & outdoor hot tubs. There is also a cosy indoor lounge area, library, and dining room decorated with local crafts and furniture. The Alto Atacama Desert Lodge & Spa also offers a myriad of drives into the most stunning landscape, unique locations for outdoor lunches, and unforgettable sunsets. At the hotel’s observatory (Open Deck: as they are the only ones to have an open deck telescope as opposed to a enclosed one because due to their privileged location they have no light and noise pollution) the intimate, small-group star gazing experience has been designed to be more sensory than technical, focusing on the magnitude of the magnificent night sky of Chile’s north.
Guests can choose from over thirty cultural and adventure activities, with everything from a visit to the workshop of a local artisan, to bike rides, volcano treks and visiting high altitude salt lakes and geysers further afield. Activities on offer from Alto Atacama include guided tours to the surrounding desert and mountains, climbing, trekking, mountain biking, and star gazing. Day time temperatures are luminous and agreeable all year round. Proud and also committed to protect their heritage, Alto Atacama is a multiple award winning hotel, a recognized luxury lodge in a stunning location in what is considered one of the best place in the world for star gazing. Alto Atacama is located in Chile’s Catarpe valley, close to the pre-Columbian Pucara de Quitor, and ten minutes northeast of San Pedro. The closest airport is the Calama Loa Airport, a two-hour flight from Santiago and the hotel can arrange a private airport transfer, which takes about an hour and fifteen minutes.
Quitor derives from the Pukará de Quitor a former pre-Columbian fortress found very close to Alto Atacama. The 5 Quitor rooms are closest to the Common Areas. The view from the private terraces of these guestrooms looks out on to the garden area of the hotel, framed against the Cordillera de la Sal in the background. With 50 sqm of space, each Quitor room invite every Guest to see a place filled with magic and incomparable beauty. One of these rooms is also wheelchair accessible. Each room provides comfortable beds, private bathroom, mini-bar, digital safety box and a spacious terrace with furniture where to enjoy warm afternoons in front of a unique landscape, the northern sky in its entire splendor, with millions of stars on the horizon.
The name Catarpe derives from the valley in which Alto Atacama is found. The 27 Catarpe rooms are located in the gardens of Alto Atacama. Slightly larger than the Quitors, with a more private terrace, offering an uninterrupted view to the Cordillera de la Sal Range and the Catarpe Valley. With 51 sqm of space to relax are ideal to find everything each Guest need to spend an excellent vacation. Each room provides comfortable beds, private bathroom, mini-bar, digital safety box and a spacious terrace with furniture where to enjoy warm afternoons in front of a unique landscape, the northern sky in its entire splendor, with millions of stars on the horizon.
Lagoon in the native language “Likan Antai”, they are 10 privileged rooms, specially located in the gardens of Alto Atacama, with an open view to the quiet Lagoon and the Catarpe Valley. With 70 sqm of elegant and well-designed space, together with luxurious textiles and furniture, the Suites Tilo offer supreme comfort away from home. They have a private terrace or a private patio with an additional outdoor shower and 2 of these suites are connected and they are ideal for families of a small groups of friends. Each room provides comfortable beds, private bathroom, mini-bar, digital safety box and a spacious terrace with furniture where to enjoy warm afternoons in front of a unique landscape, the northern sky in its entire splendor, with millions of stars on the horizon.
Despite the fact that they are in the driest of all deserts, water from glacial snow is what makes San Pedro de Atacama an Oasis, and it makes their SPA a strongly revitalizing experience. Water, expert hands and aromatic scents are the tools for invigorating the body and spirit after a day of exploring the desert. SPA options include Finnish Sauna, Turkish bath, Scottish showers, indoor & outdoor hot tubs, among others. The property’s Puri SPA offers an array of treatments and houses seven small outdoor pools with views of the valley and vistas. The Altiplanic mud wrap uses locally-sourced clay and honey and ends with massage. In full, a blissfully hydrating experience to balance the dry climate. There’s also a quinoa facial, based off the region’s prize grain, and a Sabay Massage, aimed to promote life and longevity. The Sabay treatment uses “pindas,” plump pouches filled with oils, nut essence, and herbs, which are applied like hot stones to the body.
Blend the luxury of water in the desert and the tranquility of being removed from the rest of the world. Six outdoor pools and an outdoor Jacuzzi, overlook the beautiful Catarpe Valley and its red mountains. Stones from the surrounding desert form a wall of privacy for each of the pools. The sense of being deeply renewed by the cleansing water as you gaze out into the desert is a unique experience. They treat water with respect and responsibility due to its rarity in this environment. All their water is purified and maintaining it as such is their priority. They also maximize its use to reduce their impact on the environment.
From Alto Atacama’s observatory platform, you can spot Saturn’s dusty rings, Jupiter’s many moons, and a dying star’s flickering light. Without the telescope, you can lie back on chaise lounge chairs and gape at the crystal clear Milky Way, seemingly endless shooting stars, and Southern Hemisphere’s unique constellations.
The gardens of Alto Atacama are a microcosm of the desert, landscaped with Andean materials and local hand labour; Every line etched during the course of the project was to be done, using Andean materials and local hand labour; every plant was to be sown using native seeds collected within the altiplanic area and grown in local soil. All material gathering was a daunting task as everything was gathered by hand and stones were to be transported from their settings on donkeys and then on to trucks. Even the tiles and stone bricks were hand carved on site to make the Alto Atacama Andean Park a true testament to the cultures that once walked this desert.
“N.2 Top 25 Hotels in Chile 2015” – awarded by Trip Advisor Traveler’s Choice Award
“N.1 Favorite SPA in Chile 2013” – awarded by Spa Finder Readers Choice Award
“Winner Fodor’s 100 Hotel Awards 2012” – for Local Experience awarded by Fodor’s
The concept of Alto Atacama:
Alto Atacama Desert Lodge & Spa is the only lodge in the San Pedro de Atacama region that is totally enveloped by natural surroundings. Located in the lush Catarpe Valley of the Salt Mountain Range, just over a mile from the plaza of San Pedro de Atacama, the Alto Atacama’s design was influenced by local village architecture and conceived to blend seamlessly into its environment and appear as a part of the terracotta-colored ridge that rises behind it. The setting, the sweeping views, the tranquility and silence, and the hotel’s wonderful outdoor lounge spaces make the Alto Atacama a destination unto itself, and unlike any other hotel property in the region. Environmental sustainability and a strong connection with the local culture have put the Alto Atacama in a category of its own, as has its “Andescape” concept of decorative flora and stable of friendly llamas and alpacas, local cuisine, and Leave No Trace-schooled guides. Veronica Poblete, creator of Andescape, is a Paris-trained landscape designer and botanist, and ex-Harvard lecturer who has developed this new concept using local flora and ancient agricultural techniques.
The Alto Atacama seeks to open a traveler’s eyes, to explore, to feel, to connect, and to return revitalized and changed by a truly authentic experience one will never forget. Rather than simply taking photos as a passive traveler, Alto Atacama encourages guests to get off the beaten track, interact with the local indigenous culture and explore the desert’s varied and eerily beautiful landscapes by foot or bike. More than half of Alto Atacama’s staff is indigenous, and their personal stories and histories enrich a guests’ understanding of the region. Geysers, hot springs, volcano climbs, mountain biking through desert canyons, horseback riding on a sand dune, and exploring ancient Incan ruins and petroglyphs are just a few of the 30 adventurous excursions offered, always led by highly trained local guides.
The sustainability policy of Alto Atacama:
Alto Atacama Desert lodge & Spa is the only accommodation in the area of San Pedro de Atacama, which is completely surrounded by a natural environment. It is a unique concept in the region, where the architecture, nature and ancient culture merge to give our passengers, matchless moments in a privileged location of relaxation and satisfaction. The development and prosperity of this Lodge, is based on constant work, effort, dedication delivery, professionalism and caring for each member of its great family, who daily strives to provide visitors thriving experiences and quality. The mission of Alto Atacama is to provide a memorable experience to their passengers, offering a comprehensive tourism optimally reflecting the culture of Atacama Desert, combining their excellent service, facilities and caring for nature, exceeding expectations of those seeking relaxation or adventure with a luxury service. The vision is instead being recognized as the best lodge in Atacama Desert, Chile and among the best in the world, with luxurious infrastructure, which emphasize the environment, quality of facilities, warmth and professionalism of the staff, all focused to exceed their passengers expectations.
Day time temperatures are luminous and agreeable all year round. A characteristic of the desert climate is the marked fluctuation in temperature between day and night. In winter (June, July and August) the average temperature is 22ºC during the day and at night it goes down to around 4ºC; temperatures can occasionally go below freezing. In summer (December to February) the temperature varies between 28ºC during the day and 16ºC at night. During these months the temperature can reach 32ºC. January-March can sometimes receive a little rainfall and cloudy skies.
Its name “Caur”, means “hill” in the native language “Likan Antai”. At the Restaurant, the chef with his brigate works closely with local producers who provide them with fresh, organic products, that goes directly to Guest’s table. In doing so, they are able to give back to the local economy. A simple treat is sampling their locally grown Socaire potatoes, native quinoa, and Chañar- based sweets. All of these local plants can be spotted while they hike, and can be collected along the way. The Caur has a main indoor dining room and two outdoor dining rooms. The staff of Caur has created a variety of intimate indoor and outdoor settings, providing the opportunity to be in the company of interesting people from around the world while tasting fine dishes and recipes and sipping from their incredible selection of Chilean wines.
Wine making started in Chile around 1548. Central Chile’s Mediterranean climate created the perfect platform to continue this ancient human activity. The wines of Chile are internationally acclaimed and the wines of Alto Atacama are a microcosm of the superb quality that characterizes Chilean wines. The Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon is of the highest standards, preparing the ground for the great Syrahs and Carmeneres that are becoming more and more popular around the world.
Bar & Pool Area
An outdoor bar and dining room in the pool area gives to the Guests the choice of enjoying a lighter menu option of sandwiches, salads and cheese platters by the water, or simply a chilled glass of Chilean white wine as the sun warms their body.
Starting from Alto Atacama you can find 30 different circuits, which take you to every corner in the region, being the protagonist of all the Atacama Desert, its oasis, the altiplano and the area’s culture. It is possible to visist urban zones, where you can see how people there live, in a place so faraway from big cities, witnessing craftmaking, land production and survival in small towns with just enough water for people. Amongst other things, you will have the chance to feel you travel in harmony with the landscape; Geysers, hot springs, volcano climbs, mountain biking through desert canyons and exploring ancient Incan ruins and petroglyphs are just a few of the adventurous excursions you can enjoy alone, with your partner or all your family but doubtless with a trained local guide.
Cultural and Oral Tradition – Explore ancient Incan ruins such as Pucará de Quitor. Discover petroglyphs. Visit local towns such as Toconao is famous for its buildings made of liparite volcanic stone and there, you can visit its church and historic bell tower, as well as visit the booths of craftspeople who offer their goods in the square. Walk through the local markets. Learn how to make local dishes and how to cultivate the land in the driest desert in the world. These are just a few of the many ways to get into the local culture and traditions.
Contemplation – Visit high mountain lakes such as Miscanti & Meñiques and witness the Andes in full display of power; the Tatio geysers, the highest and third largest geothermal field in the world. Chaxa pond, a National Reserve, is located at the Atacama Salt Flat. This pond is surrounded by salt crusts and gypsum produced by the evaporation of salty ground water. Here it is possible to observe the flamingos that inhabit the Salt Flat, as well as other native bird species. This is undoubtedly a landscape of captivating beauty from which you can see the Domeyko Range, the Salt Range and the Andes Range, a panorama that becomes particularly splendid at dusk. And most of all take all the pictures that you want.
Astronomy – The pristine skies of Atacama Desert are a stargazer’s paradise. The altitude and bone-dry atmosphere make them incredibly clear, and you can see the planets, stars and galaxies. Discover the Milky Way, planets, moon craters, Saturn’s rings, and other wonders of the universe and marvel at the canopy of stars twinkling away through a large telescope (due to the brightness of the skies this astronomy tour cannot be done 5 days prior and 2 days after the full moon. On the day of full moon the hotel offers a 1,5 hrs walk under the moonlight sky.
Adventure – The geography of Atacama is perfect for mountain biking. No matter if you are a beginner just wanting to pedal for fun & sights, or a person looking to improve your skills on a bike, there is a journey ready for everyone. The Atacama region offers excellent terrain for mountain-bike riding, including the Quebrada del Diablo and Valle de la Muerte; however, it is also enjoyable to ride across the flat desert to visit sites such as Tulor.
Expedition – For high altitude treks and volcano ascent. Climbing one of the three volcanoes in the area: Toco, Soquete or Licancabur requires total altitude acclimatization and good physical condition. It is a heart-pounding hike up, but if you can hack it, the sweeping views and the experience in itself are exhilarating.
On February 2, the biggest festival in San Pedro de Atacama, Fiesta de la Virgen de la Candelaria (Festival de la Candelaria), features a large parade of bands and dancers. Check flights and reserve your stay at Alto Atacama, a lodge in peaceful harmony with the natural surroundings, to enjoy this colourful festival. The festival of the Virgen de la Candelaria is celebrated in various Hispanic Catholic countries, including Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Venezuela and Uruguay. The celebrations in Peru and Bolivia are centered around Lake Titicaca, in Puno and the small village of Copacabana. Here a list of customs and traditions of each countries.
Bolivia – The Virgen is also known as the Dark Virgin of the Lake, and the Patroness Of Bolivia. She is revered for a series of miracles, recounted in Nuestra Señora de Copacabana and has another festival on August 5. Normally, Copacabana is a quiet, rural village with fishing and agriculture the mainstays. However, the week before and the day of the fiesta, the village changes. There are parades, colorful costumes, music and a lot of drinking and celebrating. New vehicles are brought in from all over Bolivia to be blessed with beer. People gather for days ahead to pray and to celebrate in a mixture of Catholic and native religions. Bolivian celebrants believe the Virgen prefers to stay inside the Basilica erected in her honor. When taken outside, there is a risk of storm or other calamity.
Peru – Puno is known as the Folkloric Capital of Peru and lives up to this reputation in grand manor during this fiesta which lasts for days. The rites are centered around the observance of February second, and then a week later with the famed dances. Peruvian celebrants are not hesitant to take their statue of the Virgen around the streets of Puno in a staged procession. The mixing of Christian and pagan is very evident here. Mamacha Candelaria, Mamita Canticha, and MamáCandi, are all names for the Virgen of Candelaria, the patron saint of Puno. She is also associated with Lake Titicaca as the birth of the Inca empire, with the cult of the earth, Pachamama. Men, women and children dance in her honor, to show their devotion and their thanks for her blessings. The celebration continues as a prelude to Carnival, as described in Máximo Esplendor Festivo. The festival has two main phases. The first is described in El Día Principal Y Sus Ritos in which a procession carries the statue of the Virgen around the city, and dancers in lavish costumes from all walks of life join the parade. The dancers, by group, pause in front of the cathedral to be blessed with holy water, after which they are cooled with water thrown from nearby houses. The second phase occurs on the Sunday after February second, called the Octava. On this day, El Segundo Gran Día : La Octava, costumed groups from the neighborhoods of Puno dance day and night in religious fervor and competitive spirit. […]
Chile is famous for its remote landscapes and it is one of the most loved destinations because thanks to several hotels located in all its territory, it offers travelers the chance to visit the country’s (and the world’s) most pristine, dramatic settings without sacrificing luxury. As follows three hotels that offer a mix of desert adventures, beachside lounging and Patagonian relaxation:
The Atacama in Chile’s north is the driest place on the planet, and one of one of the world’s most forbidding deserts. But adventure-seekers come here to sand board down towering dunes, climb some of the Andes’ highest peaks, spot wild flocks of flamingos in the lithium-rich lagoons, visit hot springs hidden in deep crevasses and witness the unpredictable beauty of high-altitude geysers.
After all that adventure, it’s nice to know you can come back to our deluxe hotel partner Alto Atacama Hotel (picture above) just outside the main town of San Pedro de Atacama for some rest and relaxation. The hotel itself is the result of the humble dream of Chilean Family, inspired by the magnificence of this land that seemed from another world.
The hotel’s 42 rooms are likewise spare but inviting. all have a private terrace designed in an elegant, rustic style featuring local crafts, which differ slightly in size and position, with the top level Tilo rooms having a privileged position with patios overlooking the lagoon. They are the widest rooms and an additional exterior shower located in the court deprived of every room. All rooms have their own private terrace, perfect for enjoying a good book, or simply relaxing and admiring the views of the gardens and the mountains. All guest rooms are the perfect spot to absorb the colour and silence of the valley. Guests can unwind at the outdoor pools, or schedule a treatment at the Puri Spa here, where the ritual includes the Sabay Massage, aimed to promote life and longevity, performed with “pindas,” plump pouches filled with oils, nut essence, and herbs, which are applied like hot stones to the body. […]