Atacama Desert


Atacama Desert

This week long adventure to the Chilean Altiplano makes the most of the spectacular northern desert.

Well known for its numerous volcanic peaks, separated by extensive flat plains and rift canyons, the Atacama Desert offers up a wide-range of different activities. This program takes advantage of the variety of landscapes to provide a challenging circuit that draws on an array of different skills and strengths. In particular, the program focuses on participants´ leadership abilities to maximize the different strengths and weakness of team members to achieve its goals.

Atacama Info Session:  Early October

Activities and Risks

Participants do a multi-element trek in the driest region of the world, including backpacking, rock climbing, mountain biking, and a summit attempt of a 17,000-ft. mountain.  Other activities include tent camping, navigation and route finding. Risks include high altitude, falling rocks, sunburn/heatstroke, hypothermia, and multi-day exposure.


Participants need a moderate level of training and conditioning for this venture. The program includes several hard days of trekking, as well as a day’s ascent of one of the volcanoes in the region. Participants must thus be in good physical shape to fully appreciate the program. However, the breadth of activities and their design will make it possible for everyone, regardless of physical shape to participate in some way. The program does not require any previous experience in canyoning or rock climbing, but if participants wish to participate in the mountain biking segment, they should be comfortable riding a bicycle.

Costs and Equipment

Land fee covers all land costs (from Calama): transportation, professional fees, park entrance, lodging (1st and last night on hotel/lodge), meals, on–site cooking team, guides, vehicle back-up, tents, meeting/cooking tent, utensils, mattress, radios, GPS, maps, bikes, mountaineering gear, airport transportation, hotel, meals, all technical workshops.

Expedition cost does not include: Extra nights of accommodation not specified on itinerary or dinner in San Pedro on May 20th (Day 1).

partner organization



  • Participant fee:  $3,900 (land cost)
  • Number of seats per venture: 36

Atacama Multisport
Students describe what they learned on the Wharton Leadership Venture as they participated in a multi-element trek in the Atacama Desert located in Chile.