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“Full of Hot Air” over the Atacama Desert


Ben Stasiuk, GM of Goway’s Central and South America inside their balloon

Located at an altitude of 2400 meters (7900 feet) in Chile’s far north, San Pedro de Atacama is one of the country’s hidden wonders. Despite attracting more and more attention each year, the region is still somewhat sleepy compared to other more well-known sites in Chile such as Patagonia, the lakes and wine districts, and Easter Island.

Home to some of the most stunning vistas, the region around San Pedro is a maze of volcanoes, salt lakes, lunar landscapes, and geysers. A kaleidoscope of colour bombards the senses as different layers of sands make up a patchwork palate that crawls up the sides of volcanoes both nearby in Chile, and in distant Bolivia.

Green lakes dot the landscape like emeralds in a crown. These are remnants of once larger lakes now surrounded by huge salt deposits. Visitors have the chance to journey around these “salt lakes” as they return from the high-altitude geysers that spring to life at sunrise. The hot waters burst from the deep at sunrise, warming the chilly morning air and offering amazing photo opportunities. As the sun rises and warms the earth, these pillars of hot water recede back into the earth to slumber until the next morning. They leave behind hot pools that you can soak in while enjoying a cold beer.

While any of these sights could be the highlight of a trip, visitors now have the opportunity to take them all in from above in a hot air balloon – the ultimate way to get a complete view of San Pedro de Atacama and its surrounds.

Hot air ballooning over the Atacama Desert is a once in a lifetime adventure. Take in panoramic views of salt lakes, volcanoes in the distance and the wide expanse of the Atacama Desert. Early risers are rewarded with the calmest, most peaceful conditions in which to take it all in.

Travellers are picked up from their hotel and transferred to the launch site where they will be offered tea and coffee, and given a short pre-flight briefing. Professional pilots and expert crew will keep everyone informed throughout the pre-flight set up. It takes about thirty minutes to inflate the balloon, and once ready, passengers will be invited to climb aboard. A full passenger safety briefing is also given before takeoff.

Then it’s up, up and away as the sun comes up. The flight lasts approximately an hour and the views are spectacular. Upon landing, passengers can celebrate with a delicious champagne breakfast, share memories and enjoy new friendships. The whole experience lasts around three hours and includes a comfortable return to the guest’s hotel.

A morning hot air balloon adventure is the perfect add on to any Atacama Experience.


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