Nayara Alto Atacama | Exploring An Alien Landscape From the Lap of Luxury

Nayara Alto Atacama | Exploring An Alien Landscape From the Lap of Luxury

The Atacama Desert is one of the most remote and strange places on Earth, with conditions so unique they are studied to provide insight into the possibility of life on other planets. 

And in the heart of this desert, far from clouds, human settlement, and light pollution, lies the oasis of Nayara Alto Atacama, a luxurious retreat meant to capture the strange contradictions of distance and connection, of otherworldly beauty and internal peace, of ancient legends and modern luxury. 

The natural landscape is stark and striking, yet hides a vibrant and resilient ecosystem that has thrived without rain for hundreds of years and remained unchanged for almost 15 million. The  surroundings may be  rugged and dry, but in our oasis, you’’ll find a culinary experience, amenities, spa, and wellness offerings to rival any on earth. Above and around you, the sky and land seem alien, like they could not possibly exist on the ocean and forest planet we know so well, and yet upon leaving you’ll feel more connected to our planet and the greater world around you.

We invite you to step into this journey of mirages, secrets, and cosmic beauty with us, and explore Nayara Alto Atacama. 


An Oasis In the Heart of the Northern Chile’s Atacama

Every journey starts with a warm welcome for guests, who can enter what will be their desert sanctuary for the following days: the rooms of our “Ayllu” (village). There are a total of 42 rooms divided into three categories — Quitor, Catarpe, and Tilo — and each one offers its own unique interpretation of Andean mountain living. Surrounded by native Andean vegetation and fruit trees, and accented with elegant decoration, design, and amenities that blend with the natural landscapes, the first glance at Nayara Alto Atacama is easily etched in your memory.


A Closer Look at Nayara Alto Atacama

Outside the rooms await natural, culinary, and wellness experiences that, together, lead to a heightened state of excitement and renewal throughout your stay. Before you set out for adventure on guided tours by experts, it’s worth taking some time to simply immerse yourself in your surroundings. The hotel’s corral of llamas pays homage to a typical Ayllu tradition of animal husbandry, the astronomical observation platform offers a spot to marvel at the tapestry of stars offered by the Atacama sky, and all throughout the resort you can find cool oases like pools and shady alcoves integrated into the ruggedly beautiful terrain. 

Once you’ve gotten your bearings, the adventures of the Atacama desert await. You can immerse yourself in local culture and history on journeys through Rainbow Valley, or guided tours to the architectural sites of ancient Atacamenian villages. You can embark on contemplative journeys to true wonders of the desert, like the Atacama Salt Flats, the Tatio Geysers, the cacti forests, and the lagoons of the High Plateau, to name just a few. And for those seeking to conquer the rugged terrain, there are more rigorous excursions like the Jauna Trek and Cactus hike, as well as the combination hiking-biking treks through Vilama and Devil’s Throat. 

Whatever your adventure, at the end of these captivating excursions, the path to relaxation and absolute wellness awaits at the Puri Spa, which uses ancient elements as the basis for its treatments: fire, water, earth, and air. Designed with ancient tenets of well-being in mind, the spa uses sounds, aromas, and artisanal organic products from the area to generate an atmosphere of relaxation and self-connection, guiding you toward the complete renewal that only the desert can offer.


Our Perspective on Cuisine

Having delighted the sense of sight, and improved your health, it is the turn of taste. The Nayara Alto Atacama culinary offering is made up of the flavors typical of northern Chile, created from three main ingredients: corn, flour, and meat. But simple building blocks can make way for an eye-opening experience. Just as the architecture of the hotel dialogues with the environment, our kitchen does the same. Much of the vegetables and herbs that are used in our dishes come from our Andean Garden, and on the menu are meals that draw from local traditional ingredients —  Peruvian corn, potato, pork, meat, and onion, among others. These are flavors you may have enjoyed before, but when they are locally grown and prepared by chefs who build upon and evolve the traditional preparations, the result is a dining experience that can’t be missed. 


The Perfect Pairing

As the cherry on top of the experience, or rather the grape, visitors will discover everything about one of the most emblematic traditions and industries of Chile: winemaking. Through pairings created by expert sommeliers from Bar Ckelar, the wide variety of flavors and sensations of Andean cuisine are revealed and accented by the best wines from the region (and to some, the entire world). Our tastings are the perfect invitation to enter our enviable cellar, and you can enjoy local varietals and vintages throughout your stay. 

An oasis under the stars of one of the driest deserts in the world awaits you in Nayara Alto Atacama, and the true beauty of your adventure is just getting started.


A Journey Through Chile’s Atacama Desert | Beyond San Pedro de Atacama

In Chile, the Atacama Desert is the place believed to be the driest nonpolar desert in the world. Nestled on the Pacific coast of Chile, between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes mountains, this arid region rises to 4,678 m above sea level, and in the heart of this rugged landscape, you can also find incredible beauty, with skies of the purest azure and unreal panoramas of stars unclouded by moisture or light.

Here, turquoise lagoons against a backdrop of snow-capped peaks rub shoulders with vast expanses covered with paja brava, an endemic herbaceous plant, and the life adapted to live here are some of the strangest and most fascinating on earth. 

To reach the true heart of the world’s driest desert, you depart from the village of San Pedro de Atacama into the sparsely populated Desierto de Atacama. From there, you can head to the Altiplano and reach the largest salar (saline deposit) in Chile, which unfolds at the foot of the majestic volcanoes Licancabur (5,916 m) and Lascar (5,592 m). 

Other stops on your journey include the Chaxa Lagoon, where pink flamingos have taken up residence. The scene captivates at sunrise when the sky catches fire and their image is reflected in the mirrors of water lined with saline concretions of brilliant white.


Deeper Into the Deserts of Northern Chile

Via a road that seems to stretch up to the sky and the horizon all at once, we reach the 4,000 m altitude and venture deeper into the remote desert, where the air grows thin enough that it takes time to adjust.  To alleviate the symptoms of this mountain lightheadedness, we use an ancestral remedy, offering an infusion of coca leaves used since ancient times to help with the elevation adjustment. And just in time to appreciate Piedras Rojas, and its emerald lake set with red rocks, a color related to the oxidation of iron.

The road trip continues, a few hundred meters higher, to the Miscanti and Miñiques lagoons, which reveal another striking picture. Overlooked by the two eponymous volcanoes with sparkling eternal snows, and circular lagoons with deep blue contrast in the middle of the pajonales, these grass meadows are the gathering place of a host of protected fauna (vicuñas, guanacos, Darwin ñandus) that stop by between their grand journeys through the near-martian Landscape.


Through the Moon Valley and the Valley of Death

But as we return from the heart of Atacama, we continue our circuit through the desert, passing the majestic Valley of the Moon, and a little further, Death Valley. With its canyons, pointed ridges, ravines, and its “big dune” beaten by the wind, the desert plunges into an unreal panorama. It is even more noticeable at sunset, when its ochre tones ignite as far as the eye can see and the moon invites itself into the scenery.

In the desert, the enchantment does not die out at nightfall. And in fact, most animal life becomes active as the sun goes down, against a starlit backdrop like no other. Drought, altitude, and absence of light pollution make the sky of Atacama one of the purest in the world, and while you can observe the stars with the help of telescopes, even with the naked eye, the spectacle is already breathtaking. 

After your journey through the rugged landscape, stopping to appreciate the stars above is best done while sipping pisco in one of the deckchairs of Nayara Alto Atacama, the only hotel in the region to have a 360-degree observatory in the middle of nature.

You can watch for hours without getting tired, and if your night drags on into the morning, or you wake before dawn, you’ll catch the final spectacle of your journey — the geysers of the Tatio. The vision of these craters spewing columns of white steam up to several meters high reminds you why exactly this land is studied as the precursor to planetary travel. When you’re here in Atacama, it’s impossible to avoid the impression of having indeed landed on another planet.


A Gift from Another World | Atacama Stargazing

Hand in hand with visiting the alien landscape of the Atacama desert is the opportunity to view the galaxies above us like nowhere else on Earth, thanks to a unique climate and conditions. 

But what truly sets us apart from other destinations is our unrivaled stargazing experience, complete with our private observatory and an in-house astronomer to guide your cosmic exploration.

Unlike all other resorts in San Pedro de Atacama, our sanctuary stands in the untamed heart of the desert, not in the town. Here, the stark absence of light pollution accentuates the brightness of the stars against the dark sky, and the soaring altitude of 2400 meters above sea level forges the most exquisite conditions for celestial observation. 

And Atacama’s moniker — the driest desert in the world — hides another benefit, with over 200 cloudless nights a year, ensuring a partial or entirely clear sky every evening. But what truly captivates the hearts of stargazers at this gorgeous destination is the unobstructed panorama of the spectacular southern sky, a celestial wonder often hidden from viewers in the Northern Hemisphere.

Julianna Baraby @thediscoveryof


Otherworldly In More Ways Than One

Yet, the allure of this region extends beyond its nocturnal splendor. The Atacama Desert, with its uncanny resemblance to Mars, plays an instrumental role in NASA’s preparation for interplanetary missions. In addition to its excellent conditions for astronomical observatories, the austere, rocky landscapes, and comparable soil chemistry render the Atacama desert a terrestrial doppelgänger for the Red Planet.

The Atacama Desert is a testament to the Earth’s endurance, having withstood extreme aridity for an estimated 10 to 15 million years and potentially even longer. Life here is a testament to resilience, with microbial life thriving beneath the surface or within rocks, shielded from the relentless ultraviolet radiation of months of clear sunshine. 

If life does exist or has ever thrived on Mars, the planet’s harsh surface conditions would likely compel it to seek refuge underground — just like in the Atacama. Therefore, our desert haven serves not just as a window to the cosmos, and a refuge for threatened species, but also as a stepping stone toward uncharted planetary frontiers

That feeling of connection to something far greater runs through every aspect of life in Atacama. The local indigenous population’s ancestral worldview imbues the starry sky with spiritual significance, and they maintain that the earth reflects the sky and vice versa, underscoring our origins from stardust. This notion traces its roots back to the legend of an ancestral star, older than our sun, that gave rise to the chemical elements forming our solar system and ourselves.

And when you step into the luxurious retreat in the heart of this alien world, these twin sensations — the remote feeling of being thousands of miles from the stresses of daily life, and yet connected to something greater — combine to truly create a sense of magic and rejuvenation.


We Invite You to Join Us

In sum, the Nayara Alto Atacama isn’t just a retreat — it’s a gateway to the cosmos, a testament to life’s resilience in extreme conditions, and a place to be far away from the nearest problems, and close to the grand truth of the stars that surround us. Whether you’re a stargazing enthusiast, a lover of local culture, an adventurer keen on exploring the extremes of human life, or seeking to shift your perspective, Nayara Alto Atacama is a destination that promises an unforgettable experience and endless discoveries.

So we invite you to join us in the Atacama Desert, our little piece of another world nestled between the Pacific Ocean, Southern Peru, and the northern third of Chile. Here, in the oldest desert in South America and one of the driest places on earth, you may just find a new perspective on the world around you.

Learn more at on social media @NayaraAltoAtacama or call our reservations team at +56 (2) 2912 3900 (Chile local call) or +1 844-865-2002 (US toll-free)