Experience – Atacama, Chile: El Tatio Geyser
- Address: Geysers Del Tatio B-245, Antofagasta, Calama, Antofagasta, Chile. (Google Maps)
- Hours: Monday – Sunday, 9am – 5:30pm
- Recommended Time: 2 – 4 hours
- How to Arrive: By car
- Distance from Atacama: 79 km / 49 miles
- Ideal Month(s): All Year
El Tatio is a geyser field located in the Andes Mountains of northern Chile at 4,320 metres (14,170 ft) above sea level. The name “El Tatio”, which could signifies “oven” or “grandfather,” is the third-largest geyser field in the world and the largest in the Southern Hemisphere.
El Tatio is a geothermal field with many geysers and hot springs. These hot springs eventually form the Rio Salado, a major tributary of the Rio Loa, and a major source of arsenic pollution in the river.
The field one of the most visited tourist destinations in northern Chile. It was prospected over the last century for the potential of geothermal power production, but development efforts were discontinued after a major incident in 2009 in which drilling well blew out, creating a steam column.
Tours arrive with visitors in the early morning to see the geysers shoot steam into the air, a sight most clearly visible between 6 and 7 a.m. A certain amount of caution is necessary for visitors, as numerous burn injuries and some fatalities have occurred at El Tatio.