Sure, South America‘s superlative-inducing desert – the driest, the oldest in the world – is all about rugged adventure, with days of crunching across salt lakes and night’s spent wide-eyed beneath a spectre of stars. But that doesn’t mean you can’t try to outdress it. Time to show that show-off how it’s done…
Chill out on the flight over with a Chilean novel. Isabel Allende’s first book, The House of the Spirits, nabbed Best Novel of the Year in Chile in 1982, so it’s a local classic.
Do you need to wear Gucci in the desert? Probably not. Are these the chicest hiking boots we’ve ever seen? Absolutely. Our advice: invest in footwear that you’ll actually wear again and park the Merrells safely at home (sorry).
A packable pouch like this one is ideal for carrying a book to the pool or your water bottle and room key to yoga class. Feeling zen just looking at it…
A bright bottle will remind you to keep sipping that H20, which is your best bet at battling the Atacama’s heat and altitude.
Here’s a multi-purpose accessory: use a bandana to tie up your hair, or wrap it around your neck to shield your skin from the sand.
You’ll get a lot of mileage out of a kaftan or a maxi dress – it works as a pool cover-up, a comfy garb for meditation, plus you can dress it up with strappy sandals and jewellery for dinner. You’re welcome.
Even the desert gets cool at night, so lots of light layers are key for late-night stargazing.
If you’re heading to the Valle de la Luna to watch the sun set and the valley’s titular moon rise, you’ll appreciate the extra warmth from this cosy cotton top.
Match the region’s terracotta-coloured Cordillera de la Sal (Salt Mountains) with swimwear in an earthy tone. Plus, Haight is a Brazilian label, so you’ll arrive with some pre-prepped South American flair.
Technically, the colourful jacquard trim on this head-topper is from Ecuador, but we think it’ll still fly in Chile.
Extreme climates mean extreme bad-times for your skin. So, this hydrating cleanser is packed with calendula and oat leaf to give your complexion sweet relief from the Atacama’s dry humour.
And speaking of hydration, an oil sunscreen protects from the rays while also nourishing your skin. Plus, you can spritz it into your hair to shield your tresses, too.
The desert is a place of discovery – just don’t forget the adventures once home. Bring a journal to keep track of every moment, each constellation you spied – and every last Chilean wine you guzzled.
Continue your adventures by unpacking our boutique hotels in South America.