How to go stargazing in Chile on a budget

There is nowhere better to go stargazing than Chile’s Atacama Desert. Located in the Norte Chico northern region, San Pedro de Atacama is one of South America’s brightest tourist destinations.

Home to the driest desert in the world and with its Mars-style landscape and unpolluted skies, you won’t find a better place to go stargazing on a budget.


Image by European Southern Observatory (Flickr/Creative Commons)
Image by European Southern Observatory (Flickr/Creative Commons)

The Alma observatory is the world’s largest astronomical project and captures planet formations billions of light years away. Astrotourism has become a major attraction in the past decade and it has been attracting travellers to South America from all over the world. With super-observatories opening up across the region, the sky’s the limit in northern Chile.

How to survive in the Atacama Desert 

Image by Alexander Schimmeck (Flickr/Creative Commons)
Image by Alexander Schimmeck (Flickr/Creative Commons)

San Pedro de Atacama is the gateway to the desert’s biggest attractions, where you’ll find El Tatio geysers, salt flats, steamy lagoons, Death Valley and the flamingo reserves.

If you’re planning a three to four-day trip, stay in San Pedro, and go on organised day trips to the nearby salt lake, geysers and observatories. When visiting Atacama desert, you’ll have to make San Pedro your base. There are no other towns around.

Fortunately, you can do this on a budget by staying in one of their excellent hostels for only 15 per night. The summer holiday season in Chile is from December to late February, so make sure to book in advance to guarantee a room.

Things you must do in San Pedro

Image by Jonathan Emmanuel Flores Tarello (Flickr/Creative Commons)
Image by Jonathan Emmanuel Flores Tarello (Flickr/Creative Commons)

#1 Stargazing 

In San Pedro, you can start off by visiting the Meteorite Museum, where you can touch meteorites over a billion years old. They also offer budget-friendly stargazing tours. Most of them won’t cost more than $25 and thereafter you won’t need to go one as all you have to do is go outside and look at the evening skies.

#2 Valley of the Moon (Valle de la Luna)

Moon valley tours are pretty cheap at 10-15, but a more economical option is to rent mountain bikes and explore the park on your own. Six hours is enough time to visit everything inside the park and it’s also only 6km away from San Pedro.

#3 El Salar de Atacama 

The largest salt flat in Chile is located in the Atacama desert, and its surreal natural scenery makes it a huge nesting ground for the Andean flamingos. A half-day tour costs around 55.

If you want to stargaze on a budget, they why not save money by staying in a hostel? Check our availability today and stay in a well-equipped room for only €15 per night. Book your holiday today and look towards the stars…

*Header image by Alessandro Caproni (Flickr/Creative Commons)