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Cacti of Chile


Discovering the living deserts of South America

12 Days – 11 Nights


Starts in Santiago de Chile – Ends in Calama.


Tour runs on request – Prices based on group size.


Chile’s unusual, ribbon-like shape -4,300 kilometres (2,700 mi) long and on average 175 kilometres (109 mi) wide- has given it a hugely varied climate, ranging from the world’s driest desert -the Atacama- in the north, through a Mediterranean climate in the centre, to a snow-prone Alpine climate in the south, with glaciers, fjords and lakes.


The Pacific coastline of northern Chile, and the surrounding desert host an incredible diversity of cacti species, totally adapted to live in these extreme weather conditions. Several genera are present here, with beautiful examples of Eulychnia, Eriosyce, Neoporteria and others. But Chile is well known by most cacti enthusiasts for one particular cacti genus, which is restricted to this country: the Copiapoas. These wonderful plants thrive mostly along the Pacific coastline of the Atacama and Antofagasta regions, and some of them are highly restricted to very few hidden valleys, which we will explore along our journey.


Our Chilean cacti expeditions are schedulled to run during the peak of cacti blooming season, and we make sure to spend enough time in the field to enjoy watching as many cacti as possible, but also to discover Chile’s unique flora and fauna, making frequent stops to take pictures of the breathtaking lanscapes, and to watch birds, mammals and places.

Our itinerary in a Nutshell


Our journey starts in Santiago de Chile where you will be welcomed by your Trogon Tours’ leader. It is from here that we will start our overland journey to the northern part of Chile. Day 1 and 2 are to be spent in the surroundings of Santiago, Los Andes and Los Vilos, searching for such species as Echinopsis chilensis, Neoporteria curvispina, Neoporteria subgibosa, and Cumulopuntia berteri. On day 3 we will enter one of the most cacti rich areas of the country, known as “Norte Chico,” and we will explore the area between Los Vilos and La Serena until day 5. This is where the greatest diversity of Neoportera spp can be found, with species such as N. jussieu, N. simulans and others. On day 6, we start exploring the kingdom of the Copiapoas, as we enter the Atacama Region, where we will spend today and day 7. It is here where we start finding a great diversity of these endemic cacti genus, and we expect to see such species as C. calderana, C. cinerascens, C. serpentisulcata and C. marginata among others. Other genera like Eriosyce and Eulychnia are well represented here too, and we will see some good examples of these too. We will spend days 8 and 9 thoroughly exploring the coastal desert of the Antofagasta region, visiting unique cacti locations, where we expect to find some of the rarest Copiapoas -such as C. krainziana, C. rupestris and C. haseltoniana- and some dwarf species, like C. lauii. We will finally explore the legendary Atacama Desert, as we will spend days 10 and 11 in and around San Pedro de Atacama. Photo opportunities here will be incredible, and the desert in this area is home to some spectacular cacti, such as Oreocereus leucotrichus, Trichocereus atacamensis, and Soherensia uebelmanniana. On day 12 we will drive to the nearby city of Calama to take our flight to Santiago, and connect with our return flight home.

Some of the highlights


Around 65 species of Chilean cacti. The Atacama Desert. Unique photo opportunities for fauna, flora and landscapes.

Best Time to Go


This tour is possible throughout the southern hemisphere spring and summer, but blooming season is at its best in January and February.


Sobre los Tours

Todos los tours son guiados por mi y los servicios provistos por Trogon Tours

About the Tours

All tours are guided by me and services are provided by Trogon Tours..