It took us a little while, but we recentlyatacama_hiking225 got one of our correspondents into the Atacama Desert region in Chile. This is reportedly the driest spot on Earth, but nevertheless it has become a luxury travel hotspot, home to three upscale hotels and all kinds of well-run excursions with top-notch guides.

Our Emma Fox got the scoop on all three of the hotels and we’ll be posting those reviews as the week goes on. First up though, is a rundown of the kinds of Atacama tours that are available. Naturally there are plenty of hiking and nature watching excursions, but also options to go horseback riding, stargazing, and for the really adventurous—sandboarding.

Excursions in the Atacama Desert will help you decide what you want to do if you make it to this alien landscape, plus it will give you the inside scoop on which providers and guides are the specialists in specific activities.