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El Tatio Geysers Tour

Travel with geology-trained local guide to the 3rd largest geysers in the world! This El Tatio Geyser tour offers some of the most incredible views. Watch the sunrise at the geysers while enjoying breakfast.

4.91 out of 5 based on 11 customer ratings
(11 customer reviews)
USD $61.00USD $580.00

Per Person
Type of Tour


Experience One of the Most Beautiful Spectacles in San Pedro de Atacama

Take an early morning journey to observe the geysers when they are the most active. On this El Tatio Gerysers tour your local guide will show you the incredible geysers and you’ll be able to enjoy the sun rise while indulging in a warm breakfast. Additionally, you’ll get a chance to take a dip in a natural hot spring. Afterwards, we drive you through little village called Machuca, where you can get a sense of the indigenous culture of the area.

Tour Info

Duration: 8 hours
Start Location: Pick up from hotel or hostel
End Location: Arrival back at the center of town at 1:00 pm
Pick-up Time: 4:30 – 5:40 am

What’s Included

  • Transport to and from hotel to the geysers
  • Breakfast of yogurt, juice, eggs, jam, cheese, ham,  chocolate milk, tea, coca tea, coffee

What to Bring

  • $10,000 Chilean Pesos cash for the park entrance fee
  • Heavy winter clothing including warm gloves and a hat
  • Swimming suite and a towel

Important Notes

  • Please note that in order to reserve this tour, we need to pay the operator immediately, so all bookings are final. If you have any questions before booking please email us at
  • The price does not include entrance to the park. This is at the request of the local guides – they prefer that customers bring their own cash for this fee, instead of being responsible for bringing sufficient cash for the group
  • This excursion to the Altiplano is at more than 4,000 meters. For this reason it’s recommended to remain hydrated.
  • Avoid alcoholic drinks the night before this trip, as it will cause sickness at the high altitude and you may not be able to join the tour.
  • If you commonly suffer from altitude sickness we recommend taking this tour a few days into your visit to Atacama in order to acclimate.
  • This excursion is not recommended for people who suffer from high blood pressure or heart deceases.
  • Pregnant women and children younger than 4 years old should also skip this tour.

Rules & Regulations:

  • In the geyser field visitors are allowed to walk only on authorized trails. To prevent accidents, it is important to respect trail limits.
  • This guide offers regular tours for groups of up to 15 people. Your reservation admits you to be a part of one of these groups. If you are interested in organizing a private tour for yourself or for a group, please contact us.


Tatio Geysers

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Tatio Geysers -22.278824, -67.999142

Geology of Hot Springs and Geysers

Hot springs emit water ranging in temperature from around 30 to 104 degrees C, and they can be found in two geologic settings. In the first instance, they occur where warm bedrock heats deep groundwater that flows up to the surface. The water carries the heat as it rises. The hot springs form in locations where faults or fractures allow a high-permeability passage for the water or where the water first passed through deep crust before emitting from the Earth’s surface. In the second circumstance in which hot springs occur, heated groundwater dissolves minerals from rock in geothermal regions where volcanism takes place currently or in the recent past. In this situation, magma or very hot rock resides close to the surface. In this second instance, the minerals serve a healing and refreshing purpose. Natural springs of geothermal water may appear brightly tinted in green, blue or orange hues due to thermophyllic bacteria that flourish in hot water and metabolize the sulphur containing minerals dissolved in groundwater.

There are several distinctive characteristics of geothermal regions and geologic features that form as a result of the eruption of hot water. Where soils are rich in volcanic ash and clay, hot water that rises to the surface often maintains a viscous slurry that fills bubbling mud pots. Steam that rises through this slurry often causes it to splatter. Also, colorful mounds may form near natural springs as the geothermal waters spill, cool and the dissolved minerals in the water precipitate.

On more rare occasions, geothermal water erupts from the ground as a geyser, which is a fountain of steam and hot water that bursts from the Earth’s surface episodically from a vent in the ground. Beneath a geyser, groundwater sinks into and fills a network of irregular fractures in hot rock. Heat transfers from the rock to the groundwater and makes the water’s temperature rise. The boiling point of water increases with the increasing pressure, and so the hot groundwater at great depth remains in liquid form even though its temperature is greater than the boiling point of water at Earth’s surface. As the extremely heated water rises through the network of passages to the surface, the pressure decreases until the water transforms into steam. The expansion of particles causes the water higher up to spill out of hole at the ground surface. After the spillage, the weight of the overlying water decreases rapidly. A sudden drop in pressure causes the super-hot water at depth to turn into steam instantly, and this steam quickly rises, ejecting all the water and steam above it out of the conduit in a geyser eruption. Once the conduit empties, the eruption ceases, and the conduit fills once again with water that gradually heats up, starting the eruptive cycle all over again.

Tips for Adjusting to the Altitude

San Pedro rests at 2,407 meters, which is just over the threshold for altitude sickness. At high altitudes, the air pressure drops, and with each breath you take, there is less oxygen than at sea level entering your blood. The effect of this reduced blood oxygen level varies depending on the person, but people commonly report symptoms of dizziness, nausea, shortness of breath, headaches, tiredness and loss of appetite. Fittingly, altitude sickness has been described as being like a very bad hangover. Some people also have trouble sleeping at high altitude, due to “periodic breathing” (your body alternating between deep and shallow breaths). Your breathing might even pause completely, making you wake up with a gasp. This is called an “apnoea,” and you needn’t worry too much about it.

Your body will naturally adapt to the lower oxygen level by making more blood cells to carry oxygen around, and by taking deeper, more frequent breaths. Acclimatization typically takes three to five days, after which time you should stop feeling the effects of altitude.

The best defense against altitude sickness is a gradual ascent. If you start feeling altitude sickness the best thing to do is to descend. But if your itinerary doesn’t allow for that, stay where you are. In other words, if you start feeling any symptoms of altitude sickness, don’t climb any higher. Drinking water before and during your travel can also help. Dehydration is one of the main causes of altitude sickness. You will naturally breathe more frequently at a high altitude to get more oxygen into your blood, but because the air is also dry you will lose more water from exhaling than you’re gaining from breathing in. Aim for 2-3 liters of water a day before you travel to pre- hydrate your body. Keep this going once you’re at the high altitude. You can also ask your doctor about altitude sickness remedies. Some doctors will prescribe Diamox / Acetazolamide, which you should start taking a couple of days before arriving at altitude and continue for 48 hours after arrival. One alternative to Diamox is Exedrin Migraine, which just treats the headache side of altitude sickness. When you arrive in Atacama, eat a high-carb, low protein diet, avoid alcohol and coffee, and drink coca tea, for which you can buy the leaves in many San Pedro convenience stores. However, most people only feel the effects of altitude very mildly, so you shouldn’t let concerns about altitude ruin your upcoming trip.

History of the Atacama Desert

Humans have inhabited the Atacama desert for over 10,000 years, but the first organized tribes began to roam the region as hunter-gatherers about 7,000 years ago. The Loa River, the main water source of the desert, sustained agricultural and llama-herding villages dispersed along it and around San Pedro de Atacama from around 900 BC. Around Lake Titicaca, the Tiwanaku culture rose to prominence, and its influence is reflected today in local textile iconography. As this group collapsed, the Atacamenos dominated the desert beginning in 1000 BC through developing a system to transport goods from the coast to the Andean highland. Then, the Inca Empire absorbed this group in the 15th century.

The origin of the desert’s title, “Atacama,” remains a topic of debate. Some attribute the name to the Tacama duck, which is indigenous to northern Chile and the Peruvian coast and flaunts a black and white coat. Others trace its etymology to the indigenous Kunza language, which has a word, “Atchamar,” meaning “head of the country.” It is how the Atacamenos referred to their land.

Tales of gold somewhere south of the Incan Empire drew the first Europeans to the Atacama desert. Spanish conquistador Diego de Almagro first set food in the region, and the invasion of the Spanish led to the downfall of the Incas and Atacamenos, who resisted the European rule. The Atacamenos were massacred in large numbers before signing an agreement to remain subjects of the Spanish later in the 15th century.

Chile claimed the Atacama desert as part of its territory as a result of the War of the Pacific (1879-1883), and it labeled the indigenous groups in the area as Chilean nationals. Tribes were torn apart as the national borders between Chile, Peru and Bolivia broke ties. Many of the Atacamenos engaged in silver nitrate and copper mining in the 19th century, but the silver nitrate industry collapsed in the early 20th century and it resulted in an economic crisis. In 1933, the Chilean government finally recognized the Atacamenos as one of the nine indigenous groups in Chile. However, the state never fairly redistributed the tribe’s ancestral land, which they view as sacred.

Recently, tourism has created a new economic opportunity for the indigenous groups and other peoples in Atacama. Cultural tourism provides a viable source of income for locals in small villages that practice llama herding or mining, and some find they no longer need to migrate to larger cities like Calama to support themselves and their families.

  1. Rated 5 out of 5

    (verified owner):

    A highly recommend a visit to Tatio Geysers. You get picked up super early (~5AM) in order to see the geysers in action in the early morning, but it is well worth it. It was dark on the drive to the geysers, so I slept in the comfortable van on the way. Our guide was very knowledgeable about the history of the geysers, spoke in both English and Spanish, and was beyond respectful of the natural habitat, showing us where we could and could not walk in order to help prevent new geysers from forming. Our guide and driver prepared a delicious scrambled egg breakfast! We then visited a local village, where people tried various cuisines, and a wetland before heading back to town. We were back by midday and in time for an afternoon Calama flight.

  2. Rated 5 out of 5


    Our guide for this tour was wonderful. Due to poor weather conditions, there was tons of fog around the geysers, so our guide took us to the areas with only the best views and allowed us to stop and visit other places on the way back since the geysers were kind of hard to see. We also had a delicious breakfast of fresh bread, cheese, eggs, hot chocolate, coffee and more! We saw many animals and our guide taught us a lot about them, as well as the geysers and other natural highlights. You can also try llama meat at a local village that raises them. I recommend bringing very warm clothes as well as a bathing suit and towel for the hot springs – it’s a must to take a dip in them!

  3. Rated 5 out of 5


    Our guide really knew how to make the best of a less-than-ideal situation. The weather wasn’t great to see the geysers, so our guide made the decision to give us a more abbreviated tour of them before moving on to spend more time at stops with incredible views on the way back. It was definitely a good idea on her part. Some tours were still spending plenty of time just wandering around in the low visibility, which seemed significantly less intriguing

  4. Rated 5 out of 5


    I was highly recommend this tour! It is very cold so be prepared for that. I would tel everyone to swim in the hot springs!! Our tour guide was amazing and really took us to the best places.

  5. Rated 5 out of 5


    Good tour. The guide was great! The breakfast provided was better than expected with scrambled eggs, ham, bread, jelly, and coffee/tea/hot chocolate. We did not have great weather conditions as it was super foggy so the geysers could not be seen very well. The hot springs were very fun to swim in especially with it being around well below freezing conditions (though, not as much fun getting out). Overall would recommend this tour.

  6. Rated 5 out of 5

    (verified owner):

    This tour made the best of the weather situation. Due to a lot of fog in the area, we had low visibility which made the geysers rather unimpressive. But, because our guide was so knowledgeable and experienced, she made the most out of the situation! She took us to other fascinating places along the way and on the way down to make up for low visibility at the geysers. We were informed of many different wild animals, landmarks and even got to stop in a small village where they were serving llama meat. I would recommend this tour!

  7. Rated 5 out of 5


    This tour was awesome! The guide was very knowledgeable and the geysers are beautiful. Make sure to bring warm clothes because it’s really cold and consider bringing a snack like chocolate for the altitude!

  8. Rated 5 out of 5

    (verified owner):

    Great tour! It is truly cold, so make sure to dress warmly! Spectacular views. The natural springs are not included in the tour anymore, they have been closed early 2017. Still a highly recommended tour!

  9. Rated 4 out of 5

    (verified owner):

    We had a great tour to the Geysers. There was an uphill road that was very icy but our driver did an amazing job persevering and finally getting us up and over after multiple tries. Many buses/cars didn’t make it and it would have been terrible if we had to return to San Pedro. Our guide was knowledgeable and handled all aspects of the tour with ease. The scenery is stunning. Would recommend!

  10. Rated 5 out of 5


    Absolutely loved this tour. There was a driver and a tour guide so the tour guide was able to provide a lot of information and focus all of his attention on us (the group). The tour guide immediately introduced himself, smiled, and provided a friendly atmosphere. He was very nice and spoke in Spanish but also repeated everything in English for our group. He kept us updated with what was next on our itinerary, how much time we had, and what we should look out for or pay attention to. Along the ride to different destinations, the tour guide also had the driver make some stops to point some cool things present only in Chile/San Pedro de Atacama. The tour guide kept the trip organized, fun and exciting for the whole group. Also, very responsible and smooth driving was provided. The geysers were definitely a sight worth seeing. Although it was a bit cold, I really enjoyed getting there before sunrise to watch and experience the geysers as the sun came out and shined on the beautiful scenery.

  11. Rated 5 out of 5

    (verified owner):

    This tour was fantastic! Even though it was cold, the breakfast and coffee provided by the operator warmed us right up! Our guide was fantastic and the landscapes were stunning.

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What Happens After I Book?

After you book your experience, you will receive a confirmation email from us confirming that your payment went through. You will then be connected directly to the tour operator, in case you have any further questions. We are also happy to answer any questions about the tour, or travel in general in your country of destination.

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