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Greatest Issues to do in San Pedro de Atacama, Chile


From the Andes Mountains to excessive desert lagoons, these are the very best issues to do in San Pedro de Atacama. The Atacama Desert was our favourite place to go to in Chile. Situated in northern Chile, connecting Bolivia and Argentina in South America, the Atacama Desert is the driest non-polar desert on this planet and plenty of vacationers make their solution to the city of San Pedro de Atacama to get pleasure from all the superb excursions on this extraordinary vacation spot. We visited the Atacama Desert with Exodus Travels and found all of the highlights with the assistance of our trusty information, Alex.

things to do in san pedro de atacama south america

Issues to do in San Pedro de Atacama

The Atacama Desert is the best and dryest non-polar desert on this planet. It’s recognized for its lunar panorama and pure magnificence. With quite a lot of terrains together with salt flats, geysers, and lagoons, Salar de Atacama is among the most putting locations we’ve ever visited.

Excursions and journeys may be booked to the desert from San Pedro de Atacama, and whereas visiting this area of Chile, additionally, you will have the possibility to immerse in its tradition as it’s a heart for indigenous communities. The city is a well-liked vacation spot for backpackers and intrepid vacationers who’re occupied with journey, nature, and historical past, and there are numerous issues to do within the space. Listed below are some ideas for issues to do in San Pedro de Atacama.

The place is San Pedro de Atacama

where is san pedro de atacama

The Atacama Desert is situated within the northern half of Chile between the Pacific Ocean, to the west, and the Andes Mountains, to the east. This 1,000-mile strip of desert, is the best non-polar desert plateau on this planet. (Antarctica is the driest place on earth in case you are questioning) and San Pedro de Atacama is a small city situated within the coronary heart of it close to the Bolivian Border. San Pedro de Atacama is the place everybody makes a base to do desert excursions and this cool city is a vacation spot in its personal proper. With eating places, resorts, tour firms, and outlets, it makes for a implausible base to see all the pieces in Salar de Atacama.

Particular Supply: Save $100 off your individual Exodus Travels Trip through the use of the code PLANETD100 while you try. Browse adventures right here.

1. Laguna Chaxa

things to do in san pedro de atacama laguna chaxa

Seeing the flamingoes of Chaxa Lagoon was the primary cease on our tour and it was a superb one! As a part of the Los Flamencos Nationwide Reserve, Chaxa Lagoon is the very best place to see flamingoes. Three species of flamingoes frequent the salt swimming pools to feed on brine shrimp. The setting is what makes this cease so extraordinary.

Rocky paths weave by salt lagoons surrounded by layers of colours resulting in the Andes Mountains. Flamingoes fly from one pool to a different after which slowly saunter within the nonetheless waters with their reflections dazzling within the backdrop of the encompassing volcanoes. From the white salt deposits to the pink hues of the desert, it is a place you’ll need to pull out your digicam.

things to do in san pedro de atacama flamingoes

There are three foremost lagoons in Sector Soncor with the Chaxa lagoon being the very best place to identify Andean and Chilean Flamingoes. The lagoons are situated at a excessive elevation of  2300 meters (over 7500 toes)

Chaxa Lagoon is 2 hours from San Pedro de Atacama and also you’ll spend not less than an hour having fun with the strolling trails that weave by the lagoons. 

2. Go to the Valle de la Luna (Moon Valley)

things to do in san pedro de atacama valle de la luna

The Valle de la Luna is a singular panorama that’s situated simply 13 km (8 miles) outdoors of San Pedro de Atacama. It’s referred to as the Moon Valley due to its similarity to the floor of the moon but it surely actually seems extra just like the floor of Mars. Additionally situated inside the Los Flamencos Nationwide Reserve, this is among the prime locations to go to within the Atacama to view the Mars Valley. With its rocky terrain and weird rock formations. Actually, NASA examined its Mars Rover within the Atacama due to its comparable panorama and local weather.

3. Hike Duna Mayor

things to do in san pedro de atacama duna mayor

The valley is a superb place to go mountain climbing, and there are a number of trails that lead by the realm. You may as well go to the valley at sundown for some stunning views of the encompassing mountains. Mountaineering Duna Mayor is a superb brief hike to unimaginable vistas. The hike is about 20 minutes out and takes you alongside a slender path overlooking excessive dunes and out-of-this-world rock formations.

things to do in san pedro de atacama moon valley amphitheatre

Probably the most spectacular sight was the Moon Valley Amphitheatre. We had the clearest view of it strolling again alongside the excessive experience on the Duna Mayor hike. It reminded us a lot of Wilpena Pound in South Australia.

4. Mirador Lickan-Antai

things to do in san pedro de atacama mirador Lickan Antai.

There are a number of miradors to observe the sundown in Valle de La Luna and we made certain to pop into all of them for the very best views. With Exodus Travels we have been spoiled and loved a glass of wine with cheese as we ignored the extraordinary views from Mirador Lickan Antai. It is a pretty cease off the aspect of the highway in case you are biking, self-driving or have employed a information. You possibly can hike out for higher views of the desert landscapes.

5. Las Tres Marias Valle de La Luna

things to do in san pedro de atacama Las Tres Marías

In case you are searching for these images that seize the Salar de Atacama, a cease at Las Tres Marías is the place you’ll view the well-known rock formations of the Atacama Desert. The salt flat of the Atacama Desert is way completely different from the Bolivian Salt Flats. See what the salt flats in Bolivia are all about at A Bolivia Salt Flats Tour in Uyuni: All the pieces You Must Know

Since it’s such a dry desert (some locations solely see rain each 100 years!) you don’t get the glass-like views and trick-of-the-eye images as you do in Bolivia, however that is the place the place you possibly can play with scale and scope somewhat bit. The path is a brief 15-minute stroll.

6. Sundown from Mirador de Kari Piedra del Coyote

things to do in san pedro de atacama  sunset del coyote

Top-of-the-line issues to do in San Pedro de Atacama is to observe the sundown from Mirador de Kari Piedra del Coyote. Situated outdoors Valle de La Luna, that is the very best place for sundown as a result of it is advisable to be out of the valley by a sure time. Since you can not keep within the Valle de la Luna after sundown, this mirador has the majority of vacationers watching the solar go down within the Atacama Desert.

It’s a stunning view with the solar creating shadows and depth on the rocky valley flooring because the excessive mountains twinkle with colour surrounding the huge desert.

7. Go to the El Tatio geysers

things to do in san pedro de atacama  el tatio geysers

The El Tatio geysers are a gaggle of geothermal springs which might be the best geothermal space on this planet. A go to to the geysers occurs at daybreak, and whereas it’s an early and chilly tour, that is one place within the Atacama Desert that you simply don’t need to miss.

The El Tatio Geysers are a couple of two-hour drive from San Pedro de Atacama. We have been picked up nicely earlier than dawn and hopped within the van for a nap earlier than getting out within the brisk air. It was -13 levels Celcius on the geysers so make sure to layer up with gloves and a hat. The geysers are most lively at daybreak when the water is at its hottest (and air at its coldest), they usually produce steam and sizzling water that may attain temperatures of as much as 100°C.

things to do in san pedro de atacama  panoramic views

It takes about 90 minutes to stroll across the geysers alongside the designated stone paths and whereas not fairly as spectacular on the Geysers of Yellowstone, these are the third largest geothermal areas on earth so they need to not be missed!

8. Lagunas Miscanti and Miñiques

things to do in san pedro de atacama miscanti and miniques lagoons

Have you ever ever puzzled what it was wish to stroll at excessive altitudes however don’t need to hike for days to get there? Effectively, a go to to the high-altitude lakes (The Lagunas Altiplanicas) of Miscanti and Miñiques will do the trick. We drove on to an elevation of over 4000 meters (13,000 toes) to stroll from the picturesque lakes of Miscanti and Miniques.

things to do in san pedro de atacama miscanti

Normally, you would wish to trek for days to get to this elevation. The nonetheless deep blue waters are putting and it’s surprising to be standing at 4000 meters with the 2 excessive volcanoes towering overhead. It was arduous to imagine that the Volcano proper earlier than our eyes was greater than Mount Kilimanjaro. The 2 volcanoes that body the lagoons are (5,622 meters (18,445 ft)) and Cerro Miñiques (5,910 meters (19,390 ft))

9. Spy on Vicuñas

things to do in san pedro de atacama vicunas

The lagoons are related by a path of rocks and also you’ll be capable of see wild vicunas roaming the panorama. These animals are associated to the llama and el paca households and at the moment are protected. These vicunas are inconceivable to cultivate so to get their in-demand wool, they spherical them as much as shave them solely as soon as each three years. 

10. Go stargazing

things to do in san pedro de atacama star gazing

San Pedro de Atacama is situated in an space with little or no mild air pollution or precipitation, which makes it a really perfect place for stargazing and excursions may be booked for round $50 to see the night time skies throughout San Pedro de Atacama. There are a number of firms that provide stargazing excursions within the space you can e book in San Pedro de Atacama. Our tour was an add on with Exodus Travels.

The clear, dry air of the Atacama Desert permits for wonderful visibility of the celebrities, planets, and the Milky Means. Due to the low humidity, excessive altitude, and low mild air pollution, it’s a sizzling spot for astronomers to review the skies, and plenty of firms from world wide have scientists finding out its darkish skies. San Pedro de Atacama is common for Astro-tourism and you can not miss doing this tour. I actually didn’t suppose I’d be impressed, however I cherished listening to the tales of our information as he identified constellations earlier than having us look into the huge telescopes at Saturn, Mars, and Pluto. 

night skies

We appeared by these huge telescopes at stars and planets till the wee hours of the morning. Our information was so gung ho that lengthy after different excursions left, we stayed wanting into the night time till 2 am!

No cell telephones or cameras are allowed, however Dave went off on his personal to take some night time images and the corporate we went with was sort sufficient to provide images of our expertise. This is among the hottest excursions within the Atacama Desert. 

You may as well go to the ALMA Observatory, which is situated about 50 kilometers outdoors of San Pedro de Atacama. The observatory is residence to the biggest array of radio telescopes on this planet, and

11. Stand on the Tropic of Capricorn

things to do in san pedro de atacama  tropic of capricorn

There’s something particular about crossing one of many 5 main circles of the earth. For instance, when taking a cruise, every passenger will get a certificates that they crossed the equator. When visiting the Atacama Desert, we had the possibility to face on the Tropic of Capricorn. The Tropic of Capricorn is about 60 km from San Pedro de Atacama. It’s a small and brief cease, however very cool to face on the place that’s the most southerly latitude the place the solar can seem instantly overhead at excessive midday. Cool eh?

12. Go to the Village of Tocanao

things to do in san pedro de atacama tocanao

Moreover San Pedro de Atacama, there are a couple of villages within the Atacama Desert. If you wish to do some purchasing, the village of Tocanao is an efficient cease. We purchased some jewellery and baggage for only a few {dollars}. Situated 38 km from San Pedro de Atacama, most excursions will cease right here for not less than half-hour to an hour to assist the area people. Probably the most notable constructing within the village is the bell tower which was in-built 1750.

13. Church of Socaire

things to do in san pedro de atacama socaire

Socaire is one other cease within the Atacama Desert that could be a good selection for lunch. Our information referred to as forward to order conventional stew. The primary attraction on this city is the Church of Socaire. This rustic church with a thatched roof is situated in a picturesque setting simply off the aspect of the highway.

14. Discover the Salar de Tara

things to do in san pedro de atacama salar de tara

The Salar de Tara is a big salt flat situated inside the Los Flamencos Nationwide Reserve of the Atacama Desert subsequent to subsequent to Piers Rojas (the Crimson Rocks). It’s the third largest salt flat on this planet, and it’s residence to quite a lot of plant and animal life. The Salar de Tara is a superb place to go for a drive, as there are a number of grime roads that lead by the realm. You may as well go to the salt flats on a tour, which is able to take you to among the finest spots for pictures and sightseeing. Learn extra at: Salar de Tara an Extraordinary Journey within the Atacama Desert

15. Valle de la Muerte (Loss of life Valley or Mars Valley)

san pedro de atacama sand dunes

Valle de la Muerte is known as so as a result of it is among the harshest areas on the planet. Previously these animals (and people) who dared to cross perished within the unforgiving situations. No crops, animals and even bugs can survive in Loss of life Valley.

Also called Mars Valley, it is a nice cease for backpackers or these trying to discover on their very own. Situated simply 2 km from San Pedro de Atacama it is a good cease to see the rocky panorama with desert dunes and unusual formations giving a style of that Mars terrain that we talked about earlier.

16. Rainbow Valley – Valle del Arcoiris

All through the Atacama Desert, the rainbow colours of the panorama are one of the spectacular websites. However there may be truly a spot particularly referred to as Rainbow Valley. Valle del Arcoiris is about 90 minutes from San Pedro de Atacama which may be booked on a day tour. It showcases the layers of colours reminiscent to Rainbow Mountain in Peru. Whereas there you possibly can see the ten,000-year-old petroglyphs of Yerbas Buenas. 

17. San Pedro de Atacama

things to do in san pedro de atacama

Effectively, this whole article is concerning the excursions from San Pedro de Atacama, so let’s cease and discuss this sprawling desert city situated in northern Chile. San Pedro de Atacama has that typical backpacker vibe with loads of eating places and outlets. There are a number of resorts on the town and it’s a great spot for eating. You possibly can e book any day journey you need from city and it has a cool laid-back vibe that makes it good for chilling out for a couple of days.

There are a number of issues to do in San Pedro de Atacama with out leaving city.

  • Meteorite Museum – Whereas strolling round San Pedro de Atacama, make a cease on the Meteorite Museum which helps you to truly contact stones from out of this world,
  • R. P. Gustavo Le Paige Archaeological Museum – t is devoted to the archaeology and historical past of the Atacama Desert. The museum has a group of artifacts and displays that showcase the indigenous cultures of the area, together with the Atacamenian, Inca, and Mapuche cultures.
  • Procuring – It is a implausible city for purchasing. The artist’s neighborhood of Pueblo de Artesanos is an efficient place to select up Andean souvenirs from ponchos to blankets.

Methods to Get to San Pedro de Atacama

how to get to san pedro de atacama

By air: The closest airport to San Pedro de Atacama is the El Loa Airport, which is situated within the metropolis of Calama. The airport is served by a number of main airways, together with LATAM and Sky Airline, and there are flights to and from Santiago in addition to different cities within the area. From the airport, you possibly can take a taxi or a bus to San Pedro de Atacama, which is a couple of 45-minute drive from the airport.

By bus: There are a number of bus firms that function common service to San Pedro de Atacama from main cities in Chile. The bus journey from Santiago to San Pedro de Atacama takes about 23 hours, and there are a number of completely different courses of service out there, together with semi-cama (semi-bed), cama (mattress), and VIP. The buses depart from the Terminal Alameda in Santiago, and tickets may be bought on-line or on the terminal.

By automobile: For those who choose to journey by automobile, you possibly can drive to San Pedro de Atacama from Santiago or different cities within the area. The drive from Santiago to San Pedro de Atacama takes about 22 hours, and it is strongly recommended to take a 4×4 automobile because of the tough terrain of the Atacama Desert. You may as well lease a automobile in Santiago or Calama, and there are a number of automobile rental firms that function within the area. Try automobile rental costs right here.

By tour: For those who choose to journey with a guided tour, there are a number of firms that provide excursions to San Pedro de Atacama from Santiago and different cities in Chile. The excursions often embrace transportation, lodging, and actions, and they’re a superb possibility for vacationers who need to see as a lot of the area as doable.

Regardless of the way you select to get to San Pedro de Atacama, you will need to plan your journey prematurely and to be ready for the distinctive situations of the Atacama Desert. The city has a dry, arid local weather, and you will need to deliver loads of water and solar safety with you while you go to.

The place to Keep in San Pedro de Atacama

where to stay in san pedro de atacama

San Pedro de Atacama is the primary hub to discover the Atacama Desert of Chile. There are a number of choices for lodging. Listed below are some ideas for the place to remain in San Pedro de Atacama:

  1. Inns: San Pedro de Atacama has quite a lot of resorts to select from, starting from finances to luxurious. We stayed at Resort Diego Del Almagro which has probably the greatest areas in San Pedro de Atacama. The lodge rooms are primary, however you possibly can’t be the placement. Situated proper within the heart of the town, it was inside strolling distance to all the pieces. In case you are driving, it has free parking for friends and a swimming pool. 
    • Another common choices embrace Resort de Larache, Resort Atacama, and Resort Casa de Don Tomas. These resorts provide a spread of facilities, together with swimming pools, eating places, and spas, and they’re situated within the heart of the city, close to the primary sq. and the primary vacationer points of interest.
  2. Hostels: In case you are touring on a finances, there are a number of hostels in San Pedro de Atacama that provide reasonably priced lodging. Some common choices embrace Hostal La Casona, Hostal Atacama, and Hostal El Descanso del Viajero. These hostels provide shared dorms and personal rooms, they usually often have frequent areas, comparable to kitchens and dwelling rooms, the place you possibly can socialize with different vacationers.
  3. Tenting: For those who choose a extra outside expertise, there are a number of campsites in and round San Pedro de Atacama. Some common choices embrace Tenting San Pedro de Atacama, Tenting La Duna, and Tenting El Molle. These campsites provide primary amenities, comparable to bogs and showers, and they’re a superb possibility for vacationers who need to be near nature.
  4. Renting a trip residence: In case you are touring with a gaggle or need more room and privateness, you possibly can contemplate renting a trip residence in San Pedro de Atacama. There are a number of choices out there, starting from residences to homes, and you could find trip leases on web sites comparable to Airbnb or Vrbo. Renting a trip residence is usually a good possibility if you wish to have your individual kitchen and dwelling house, and it will also be extra economical in case you are touring with a gaggle.
things to do in san pedro de atacama south america

Regardless of the place you select to remain in San Pedro de Atacama, you will need to e book your lodging prematurely, particularly throughout the excessive season, which runs from November to March. The city can get very busy throughout this time, and it’s best to e book your lodging as early as doable to make sure that you’ve got a spot to remain. Additionally it is a good suggestion to analysis the placement of your lodging, as some locations could also be farther from the middle of the city or the primary vacationer points of interest.

From its unimaginable salt flat to rolling desert dunes, San Pedro de Atacama is among the finest locations to go to in South America. Whenever you go to Chile, make sure that it’s added to your itinerary. It’s a visit that can create reminiscences to final a lifetime.

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