Atacameña Culture & People

The Atacameño people believe the land and waterways are living beings which house the spirits of their ancestors. Furthermore, that the natural wonders of the desert contain an infinite amount of knowledge to be meditated on and learned from. Their praise and dedication to the Pat`ta Hoy`ri or "Mother Earth" is clearly evident in their rich culture and spiritual dimensions.

The name Terrantai means “people of the earth”. In the Pre-columbian era, the first settlement in this region was called Lickan-Antai o Atacameños.

Likancahur (Licancabur) Volcano, elevation: 5,914 meters high, located on the border of Bolivia 45 kilometers from San Pedro de Atacama

View of Moon Valley from the Salt Mountain Range, elevation: 2,500 meters high, located 16 kilometers from San Pedro de Atacama

Miscanti & Meñiques Lagoons, elevation: 4,500 meters high,  located 180 kilometers southwest of San Pedro de Atacama in the direction of Argentina


Tatio Geyers “The grandfather who cries”,  elevation: 4,500 meters high, located 100 kilometers northwest of San Pedro de Atacama

The Atacama Desert, 1853

In 1853, the Chilean government asked German naturalist, Rodulfo Philippi, to execute the first scientific expedition of the Atacama Desert.  In Taltal (Pacific Ocean) Philippi made contact with the Atacameños people that traveled by caravan who then aided him in crossing the desert.  He was the first to describe the high plateaus of the Atacama Desert and its inhabitants to the world.

He describe this fascinating voyage through the desert, and his descriptions reveal a transversal experience that holds the test of time. When we travel, we begin a process of revealing our souls. 

To Travel Is A Dream

For thousands of years the native people walked through the Atacama Desert as a way of inhabiting vast territories, almost without visual references with exception to the tutelary volcanos and mountains.  Perhaps today the experience of walking is seen as a daily act, but at the same time it can inspire meditative experiences. Thoughts stop and inner silences emerge producing sensations of wellbeing and plenitude.  

At Terrantai Lodge we invite our guests to take pleasure in walking through the desert. An act that seems trivial but in practice becomes an unforgettable experience amongst desert landscapes where infinity presents itself to you.