Skip to main content

The road to the desert

For those planning to fly to the Atacama Desert, the city of Calama is the closest airport to San Pedro de Atacama, El Loa International Airport (CJC).

Although it has some accommodation options, it is not worth considering the city of Calama as a base for exploring the desert.

Located 101 km away from San Pedro de Atacama, Calama is at least an hour’s drive from the town. As most of the tours start very early in the morning, the distance, travel time and fuel make this base unfeasible.

Airport in the Atacama Desert

El Loa International Airport – CJC

El Loa International Airport is located about 6 km from downtown Calama, Antofagasta Region. Despite being an international airport, most flights are domestic, departing from Santiago, the capital of Chile.

LATAM Airlines, one of the main airlines operating in Chile, offers the largest number of flights to Calama airport, with many schedule alternatives.

In addition to LATAM flights, the Calama airport also receives flights from Sky Airline and JetSmart, two low-cost companies that offer very attractive prices.

How to get from Calama to San Pedro de Atacama

Transfers in Calama

The airport, although small, has a terminal that is open 24 hours a day. Upon landing in Calama, travelers will find several companies offering transportation to the town of San Pedro de Atacama.

The price of the transfer is basically fixed, and you can save money by booking the round trip. It doesn’t pay to book the return trip in San Pedro, as the price is the same.

The trips are made in vans, and each traveler is dropped off at the door of their hotel. As it takes a long time, consider that, in addition to the 1-hour journey to the town, you also have the time it takes for each traveler to disembark at their respective hotel.

We recommend Transfer Pampa e Transvip
Despite the similar service and price with other companies, we recommend Pampas and Transvip for the positive experience and punctuality.

Book your hotel before you go

A very important point if you want to avoid problems on your trip is to have your accommodation already booked. When you arrive in Chile, it’s very common for the immigration officer to ask for your hotel details.

Although small, the town of San Pedro de Atacama is a little confusing at first glance, and I don’t recommend that you book your stay only when you arrive at your destination. Apart from the difficulty of getting from one hotel to another and carrying suitcases, you also run the risk of not finding good accommodation options.

Our recommendation is that you book your accommodation in advance to guarantee the best prices and location. By booking your hotel on Booking through our links, you contribute to our work and don’t spend anything extra on it.

Book your hotel in Atacama here

Car rental in Calama

Always book your vehicle in advance

If you’re renting a car to explore the Atacama Desert, you’ll need to pick it up at Calama airport. A very important point is the reservation: For car rental, it needs to be made in advance.

There are usually no vehicles available for rent at the airport unless you book in advance. We recommend the RentCars website to find the best prices and make your reservation safely.

Book your car in Calama here

Just like Booking, by booking your car with RentCars you are also contributing to our work on this project. Thank you for your help and remember that you don’t have to spend anything extra.

Leave a Reply

plugins premium WordPress