One of the best ways to explore and experience the pure nature of the desert is by biking. Discover the Garganta del Diablo and see why this bike tour in Atacama is a great option for your trip.
In the San Pedro de Atacama area, there are numerous places to explore and discover the unique beauties of this destination. While most tours involve long trips to remote locations, certain areas in the region can be conveniently explored through flexible activities like hiking or biking.
To get an idea of the incredible places you can visit on your trip, we have prepared a selection of the 18 main tourist attractions in Atacama for you to plan your itinerary – it’s worth taking a look before setting your schedule.
Now, for those who enjoy adventure and tours that allow for a different contact with nature, in San Pedro de Atacama you will find an agency focused on these activities: the Sorbac adventure agency.
Whether it’s for an easy trail, a long hike, a desert camping trip, or even ascending one of the region’s volcanoes, Sorbac has qualified guides and infrastructure to provide you with tours and activities with the best support and safety.
- See here how camping in Atacama with Sorbac was like.
Among the activities offered by the agency, the bike tour in Atacama will provide a very special experience. The Garganta del Diablo, which leads through unique paths in the destination, reveals one of the most beautiful sceneries of the desert.
Here’s our report on the bike tour with the Sorbac agency and why it’s worth choosing a local agency for this tour.
Bike ride in the Atacama Desert
Biking in the Atacama Desert demands precautions due to its high altitude. Even in areas close to San Pedro de Atacama, the elevation remains consistently at 2,500 meters or higher.
Even experienced travelers and cyclists need to exercise caution due to the high altitude of Atacama. If you attempt this activity early in your trip while still acclimatizing, pushing yourself too much can result in significant difficulty and even require assistance.
Due to its lack of connectivity, the remote nature of Garganta del Diablo requires a high level of responsibility and understanding of personal limits. Therefore, we strongly recommend utilizing the services of an adventure tour agency for a safe bike ride experience in this area.
At Sorbac, which is based in San Pedro de Atacama, the main focus is adventure tours, with responsible and qualified guides available to provide full support to travelers.
Bike Tour: Garganta del Diablo – Atacama Desert
The Garganta del Diablo is located a few kilometers from the center of San Pedro de Atacama, but the interesting part of the bike ride in Atacama is really the journey where you are already out of the city and enter the canyon that gives the place its name.
- Doing the bike tour in Atacama with Sorbac Agency, the guide will pass by your hotel to pick you up, and you will start the bike ride right at the entrance of the area where Garganta del Diablo is located.
According to the community responsible for this place, all cyclists who visit the attraction must use safety equipment, including helmet and also have with you a reflective vest.
The beginning of the bike ride is very calm and mostly follows a flat terrain. Don’t be surprised if, even if you are used to cycling in other places, you feel more tired and even short of breath at the beginning of the tour; these are the effects of the altitude in this region.
Along the way, the lush and arid scenery of the Atacama impresses those who embark on the tour for the first time. Around us, stones and volcanic rocks adorn the landscape. It’s remarkable how, even in one of the driest places on the planet, we are surprised by a river crossing our path.
After a few more minutes of cycling, a trail leads us towards the entrance of the Devil’s Throat. The scenery is completely different as we enter through the narrow fissure of the canyon. With each turn, we feel embraced, or perhaps it would make more sense to say, swallowed by this stone throat.
The curves and obstacles along the way require more attention in this section of the ride. In some spots, we need to get off the bike to climb over high unevenness on the path, but nothing too complicated. These pauses, indeed, are great for catching our breath and drinking water.
- Important: in all tours in the Atacama Desert, especially those involving physical activity, it is essential that you have a water bottle with you. The dry climate of the Atacama dehydrates us quickly, so drinking water, even in small quantities, is important at all times.
Hike in the Garganta del Diablo
After leaving the Garganta del Diablo, after crossing the entire Canyon, we arrived at a point where we can only continue on foot. Here the bicycles must be left behind, as the steep ascent does not allow for cycling access.
- Important: at this point, as you will be leaving your bicycle alone and unattended, you must make sure to lock it. Not that it is a dangerous spot, but it is important to take this precaution.
The steep hike, starting from the beginning, unveils a spectacular view of the Andes Mountains and, also, demands more and more of your breath. Don’t worry about taking breaks along the way to breathe and regain energy.
This ascent, inclusive, is a great option for those who want to climb a volcano and want to experience walking at high altitude. Before embarking on a volcano, taking a tour like this will greatly enhance the travel experience.
From up high, after a walk along a narrow trail, we reached one of the most beautiful viewpoints in the Atacama Desert. The 360º view of the region is truly a spectacle.
The Sorbac Agency guide gave us a package of snacks to help us regain our energy; something that made a huge difference at this point in the tour. Up there, breathing calmly and eating the snacks was truly a gift.
The guide made us feel very comfortable to take the time we needed, both for photos and to sit and contemplate the nature around us. This is a very positive aspect of Sorbac, which is much more concerned with the travelers’ experience than with the time on the tour. You won’t need to rush, hurry, or worry if you have to take breaks to catch your breath.
With renewed energy and after a while contemplating the beauty of this place, we made the descent trail, picked up our bikes, and returned our way through the Garganta del Diablo. The return path was the same as the way we came, however, only on this return did we realize that the way we came was actually a slight uphill.
The strength to pedal on the way back, as you will see, is much easier. In some parts, you practically don’t need to pedal; just let the bike go on its own while you enjoy the final stretch of the ride.
Important points about the bike tour in Atacama.
Taking a bike ride through Atacama is truly enjoyable and will provide an unforgettable experience. In some parts of the ride, with unique landscapes, it feels like you’re cycling on another planet.
Nevertheless, we need to reinforce some very important points:
- Do not underestimate the altitude: although it is considered an easy hike, the altitude will demand more from you. Take the breaks you need, breathe deeply and calmly to oxygenate and regain strength.
- Even though it may seem simple, it is important to have an agency with you on this trip. In case your bicycle breaks, gets a flat tire, or if you feel any discomfort or even get sick during the ride, having a responsible guide with you will make a big difference for your safety.
- Wear light and layered clothing. You will experience temperature variations throughout the day. Even if it’s cold, it’s common to feel heat while cycling and under the strong sun.
- Sunscreen and sunglasses are very important for this ride. Taking water with you is not just important, it is mandatory!
Contacting the adventure agency.
To speak with Sorbac and receive all the information about the bike tour in Atacama, both the one in Garganta del Diablo and others available, I will leave here a contact form directly with the agency. You can send a message and they will provide the necessary information, prices, and available dates.
Special Discount: by contacting Sorbac through the form below, you will receive an exclusive discount with VISITATACAMA. If you contact the agency through another means, remember to mention that you saw VisitAtacama and would like to receive the discounted prices.
Bike Tour Photos in Atacama
Our experience on the bike tour in Atacama with Sorbac was very special. We’ll leave here a few more photos of our experience to inspire your trip.
Hotels in San Pedro de Atacama
It is very important that you arrive in Atacama with a hotel reservation. This will greatly help with transportation to your arrival in the village, as the transfer will drop you off at the hotel door, and also with your immigration in Chile. Many officials ask for information about your hotel at Chile’s immigration, so having the reservation on hand is very important.
We recommend Booking.com for a secure booking with great value. Remember that whenever you book your stay through our links, you contribute to our work.
Chile Travel Insurance: important to do!
Travel insurance has become a fundamental item for travelers to any international destination. In Chile, although not mandatory, it is still highly recommended. Since the cost of travel insurance for destinations in South America is very low, we emphasize the importance of travelers obtaining and only traveling with this coverage.
If you want to research insurance options and compare prices, our recommendation is Seguros Promo, which finds the best alternatives for your trip and offers exclusive discounts.
If you have any questions about the bike tour in Atacama or want to share your experience, feel free to comment on the post.