Can you imagine camping in the Atacama? If you want to experience camping in the world’s most arid desert, this adventure is possible. Find out here about the agency that offers all the facilities and details of the adventure.
The Atacama Desert is one of the most incredible destinations in the world. For those who love adventure and are looking for an intense place, the northern region of Chile is a real treat!
With the Andes Mountains drawing the horizon and volcanoes over 6,000 meters high, the Atacama has unimaginable natural beauty in such an arid setting: lagoons, rivers and even waterfalls can be visited from San Pedro de Atacama, the town where the main structure for those arriving at the destination is located.
For more adventurous travelers, the Atacama Desert does not disappoint. There are many different trails and paths to explore, whether you’re hiking or cycling. For those who want to challenge their limits, trekking up the volcanoes is an even more exciting challenge. For those who love the outdoors, why not go camping in a destination as inhospitable as the Chilean desert?
The local agency Sorbac based in San Pedro de Atacama, works with adventure itineraries and offers camping in the Atacama Desert, among other activities. This is not an opportunity for those looking for camping as a form of accommodation, but rather for those who want to experience sleeping for one night in one of the most arid deserts on our planet.
We agreed to live this adventure and here we’ll share the details of the tour, the structure offered by the agency and everything that made this one of the most incredible activities in the destination.
Camping Atacama: what it was like to camp in the desert
As we always say, the Atacama Desert is a nature destination where the climate and altitude directly affect the traveler’s experience. At certain times of the year, such as June, July and August, night-time temperatures are predominantly negative. In addition, some spots have access restrictions and camping is not allowed.
For this reason, when talking about an activity such as camping in Atacama, it is very important to have the support of a specialized agency that will provide the best experience in the destination.
The Sorbac agency, which focuses on adventure tours, specializes in activities like this and offers you all the support and structure you need to do your tours safely in the Atacama.
At the end of this post we’ll leave you with a form for you to contact the agency directly and receive all the details for your trip.
In this post you’ll find out:
About camping in Atacama
The first thing we want to emphasize about this experience is that it works like a tour in the Atacama. You don’t need to have your own tent or worry about the structure itself, everything is organized by the agency.
Sorbac will pick you up from your hotel and take you on a complete tour. If you are leaving the hotel, you can arrange with the agency to store your luggage while you go camping.
- Important: although the agency offers tents and sleeping bags, it is very important to go on the tour with warm and suitable clothing, as it gets very cold in the desert at night.
On this tour, which starts around dusk, as well as camping, you’ll have the opportunity to live more experiences that make the activity even more special, such as a caravan with llamas and an Andean astronomical experience.
Caravan with llamas
The first activity in the Atacama camp with Sorbac is the Caravan with Llamas. On a very peaceful walk, we have the opportunity to learn a little more about the culture of the Andean peoples.
The tour continues in the late afternoon and, as we walk alongside the llamas, we are joined by a mother from an Atacameño family. Throughout the walk, she tells us a little about her history, life in the desert and the importance of llamas to her people.
As you’ll see, the llamas on this tour are docile and companionable – hardly any of them will spit at you lol .Living this experience is really very special.
The walk ends exactly at the base point of the camp, where the tents are already set up waiting for the group. The llamas go on their way and we stay at the camp.
Camping structure and dinner
As we mentioned, the agency takes care of the entire camping structure: from setting up the tents to feeding us on the tour.
When we arrived at the camping area, the agency guide who had accompanied us during the night had everything practically ready: the tents set up, a fire ready to warm us up and Andean music playing in the background.
As the sun said goodbye behind the volcanoes, the sky changed color and began to highlight the stars that would also be our companions that night.
But there was no hurry, the camp was still a long way from starting. Before night fell, our guide prepared a delicious dinner with probably one of the most breathtaking views of the destination.
After dinner, we sat around the campfire and toasted with Chilean wine, of course, to the special evening that had only just begun.
The campsite is totally immersive in the arid nature of the desert, with no facilities whatsoever. Toilets, for example, are in the Andean format, as they say.
One of the most positive points of this camping experience in the Atacama is, without a doubt, the exchange of experiences between people and the opportunity to learn a little more about Andean culture.
After a good chat around the campfire, we welcomed the Atacama family again – this time without the llamas. With the sky painted with stars, we had the chance to look at the Atacama sky from an Andean perspective.
We were able to see how important the sky has been and continues to be for these people and how the stars and planets guide their steps. It really is a unique and very special moment, difficult even to share in words.
After such a special experience, it was hard to stop looking at the stars and entering the tents. The only reason we didn’t go outside for long was because the desert cold was beginning to show its strength.
What the night was like at the camp
The desert cold is undoubtedly one of the most worrying points for anyone thinking of camping in the Atacama. While the sun makes the days warmer, the altitude and the night make the temperatures plummet.
The tent set up by the agency was very good and allowed us to sleep two people comfortably. The sleeping bag was indispensable because of the cold, as well as our thermal clothing.
The night in the desert was silent and the experience really special. It was a freezing night and, with the right clothes and a good tent and sleeping bag, we had a great night in the camp.
Clothes for sleeping in the camp
Before you think that stuffing yourself full of clothes is ideal, in order for the sleeping bag to warm up inside and keep you warm, it’ s important to wear the right clothes. Although it’s difficult to remove a few layers of clothing inside the tent, you can sleep wearing just a second skin (both the top and the pants).
A cap is another must-have in our opinion, as is a scarf, so you can take as much shelter as possible in your sleeping bag and still keep your face warm with these accessories.
- Tip: we recommend winter clothing from Columbia. When you go to the official you can get a 10% discount on any item. We recommend Columbia’s second skins, jackets and boots.
Sunrise and breakfast
Waking up to a view of the volcanoes at a campsite in the Atacama is undoubtedly an experience no one can forget. As the sun rises behind the Andes and brightens the interior of the tent, it’s hard to work up the courage to get out of your sleeping bag.
In our experience, we also had the company of another little tent friend: a perro from the Atacama family took a liking to us and decided to stay at the camp. In the middle of the night he jumped into our tent and spent the night there.
In the morning, of course, the rowdy little fella was already in high spirits. It was actually a very affectionate alarm clock.
We left the tent with the first rays of sunlight shining over the Cordillera. It was time to break camp and head to Casa Amma, where a delicious breakfast awaited us to round off the tour.
Opinion on camping in the Atacama
Camping in the Atacama Desert is a unique and very special experience. It’s something different from what people normally do in the destination and, in this format devised by Sorbac, it’s an incredible opportunity to get to know the Andean culture more closely.
For those who like camping or want to experience it in one of the most arid deserts on our planet, we recommend Sorbac’s work in complete safety. You’re sure to have an unforgettable time on this trip.
Contact the agency
To get in touch with Sorbac and receive all the information you need about camping in Atacama, here is a direct contact form for the agency. You can send them a message and they will give you all the information you need, 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.
Photos of the Atacama camp
Our experience camping in the Atacama with Sorbac was very special. Here are some more photos of our experience to inspire your trip.
Book your hotel in Atacama in advance
We want to remind you that it is very important to arrive in Atacama with a hotel booked. This will help not only with transportation to the town, but also with immigration into Chile.
We recommend Booking.com for a secure booking at great prices. Remember that every time you book your stay through our links, you are contributing to our work.
Atacama Travel Insurance: important!
Travel insurance, especially because of the Covid-19 pandemic, has become an essential item for travelers to any international destination. As the cost of travel insurance for South American destinations is very low, we stress that it is very important for travelers to take out and only travel with this cover.
If you have any questions about camping in Atacama or would like to share your experience, feel free to comment on this post.