Located in northern Chile, El Tatio geysers is one of the highest geysers at 4200m. It's also the third-largest natural geyser in the world.
How to get to El Tatio geysers
El Tatio geysers are located within the Atacama desert and are one of the best yet unknown tours to take within the Atacama desert. All Atacama desert tours start from the town of San Pedro de Atacama. There's no airport in San Pedro de Atacama. The nearest airport is in Calama town about 100 kilometers from San Pedro de Atacama.
The best and cheapest way to move from Calama airport to San Pedro de Atacama is by taking a transfer shuttle or a shared van. The fare is 12000 CLP for one way transfer or 20000 CLP for a round trip (US$16-30). Transfer companies have their desks at Calama airport, on of the oldest and most reputable companies operating the Calama- San Pedro route are Pampa and Transvip. These are also available at Santiago airport. The shuttles/ vans drop you off at your hotel/ hostel/ Airbnb as long as it within San Pedro urban area.
Alternatively, you can also to El Taito by land crossing from Bolivia. Some Uyuni salt flats tours are inclusive of El Taito geyser tours.
How to get to El Tatio geysers from San Pedro Atacama.
El Tatio geysers are an hour's drive from San Pedro. There's no public transport from San Pedro to the geysers, you either book a tour or rent a car and drive yourself to the geysers. The best time to see the geysers is at dawn between 6 am and 8 am. This is when the geysers reach their peak activity. Bearing in mind how cold it is in those morning hours and the roads to El Taito are unpaved (but not impassable) I opted for a tour as opposed to renting a car. If you're an experienced driver and can handle the hour morning drive, rent a car it'll save you some money.
Dressing code: Be sure to layer up it's very cold in El Taito. El Taito is at an upper elevation compared to San Pedro. Spend a few days in San Pedro to acclimatize before heading to El Taito.
There are many El Taito tour operators from San Pedro but they can be quite expensive and charge "touristy prices" especially if you're a foreigner. Ask your hotel/ hostel attendant or Airbnb host for suggestions, they often know relatively cheaper tours.
El Taito geyser tour
Once you arrive at the geyser, pay the $5 entrance fee at the visitor center next to parking before walking to the geysers.
You can spend as much time as you want, most people myself included leave the geysers within two or three hours.
What to do after Visiting El Taito geysers.
The small village of Machuca is a popular stop on your way back to San Pedro. You can spot local wildlife (llamas, vicunas, and viscachas), eat great local bbq, see the Rio Grande river canyon and a picturesque church.