Northern Chile is home to the world’s most arid desert, the Atacama, with fascinating salt flats, hot springs, and geysers. At its heart is San Pedro de Atacama, a charming low-key town that has maintained its authentic village atmosphere while becoming the starting point for travelers exploring the region. From San Pedro, you can explore the Tatio geysers, the otherworldly Valle de la Luna (Valley of the Moon), the salt flats of Salar de Atacama, and Laguna Chaxa, home of flamingos and other birds. The desert literally sparkles at night, with some of the clearest skies on earth. With 300 clear nights a year and little air pollution, the Atacama desert is a center for astronomy and home to a number of observatories, many offering stargazing tours.