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Best Things to do in San Pedro de Atacama

Best Things to do in San Pedro de Atacama


From the Andes Mountains to excessive desert lagoons, these are the perfect issues to do in San Pedro de Atacama. The Atacama Desert was our favourite place to go to in Chile. Located in northern Chile, connecting Bolivia and Argentina in South America, the Atacama Desert is the driest non-polar desert in the world and lots of vacationers make their manner to the city of San Pedro de Atacama to get pleasure from the entire wonderful excursions in 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

The Atacama Desert is the best and dryest non-polar desert in the world. It is thought for its lunar panorama and pure magnificence. With quite a lot of terrains together with salt flats, geysers, and lagoons, Salar de Atacama is likely one of the most hanging locations we now have ever visited.

Tours and journeys could be booked to the desert from San Pedro de Atacama, and whereas visiting this area of Chile, additionally, you will have the prospect to immerse in its tradition as it’s a middle for indigenous communities. The city is a well-liked vacation spot for backpackers and intrepid vacationers who’re in journey, nature, and historical past, and there are a lot of issues to do in the world. Here are some options for issues to do in San Pedro de Atacama.

Where is San Pedro de Atacama

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The Atacama Desert is situated in 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 in the world. (Antarctica is the driest place on earth if you’re questioning) and San Pedro de Atacama is a small city situated in the guts 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, lodges, tour firms, and retailers, it makes for a unbelievable base to see every thing in Salar de Atacama.

Special Offer: Save $100 off your personal Exodus Travels Vacation through the use of the code PLANETD100 while you take a look at. Browse adventures right here.

1. Laguna Chaxa

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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 National Reserve, Chaxa Lagoon is the perfect 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 way of salt lagoons surrounded by layers of colours main to the Andes Mountains. Flamingoes fly from one pool to one other after which slowly saunter in the nonetheless waters with their reflections dazzling in the backdrop of the encompassing volcanoes. From the white salt deposits to the pink hues of the desert, this can be a place you’ll need to pull out your digital camera.

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There are three principal lagoons in Sector Soncor with the Chaxa lagoon being the perfect place to spot 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 no less than an hour having fun with the strolling trails that weave by way of the lagoons. 

2. Visit the Valle de la Luna (Moon Valley)

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The Valle de la Luna is a novel panorama that’s situated simply 13 km (8 miles) exterior of San Pedro de Atacama. It is named 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. Also situated throughout the Los Flamencos National Reserve, this is likely one of the prime locations to go to in the Atacama to view the Mars Valley. With its rocky terrain and strange rock formations. In reality, NASA examined its Mars Rover in the Atacama due to its comparable panorama and local weather.

3. Hike Duna Mayor

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The valley is a superb place to go mountaineering, and there are a number of trails that lead by way of the world. You may also go to the valley at sundown for some lovely views of the encompassing mountains. Hiking Duna Mayor is a superb quick hike to unimaginable vistas. The hike is about 20 minutes out and takes you alongside a slim path overlooking excessive dunes and out-of-this-world rock formations.

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

4. Mirador Lickan-Antai

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There are a number of miradors to watch the sundown in Valle de La Luna and we made certain to pop into all of them for the perfect views. With Exodus Travels we had been spoiled and loved a glass of wine with cheese as we neglected the extraordinary views from Mirador Lickan Antai. This is a stunning cease off the aspect of the highway if you’re biking, self-driving or have employed a information. You 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
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If you’re searching for these photographs 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 much totally different from the Bolivian Salt Flats. See what the salt flats in Bolivia are all about at A Bolivia Salt Flats Tour in Uyuni: Everything You Need to 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 photographs as you do in Bolivia, however that is the place the place you’ll be able to play with scale and scope a bit bit. The path is a brief 15-minute stroll.

6. Sunset from Mirador de Kari Piedra del Coyote

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One of the perfect issues to do in San Pedro de Atacama is to watch the sundown from Mirador de Kari Piedra del Coyote. Located exterior Valle de La Luna, that is the perfect place for sundown since you want to be out of the valley by a sure time. Since you can not keep in the Valle de la Luna after sundown, this mirador has the majority of vacationers watching the solar go down in the Atacama Desert.

It is a ravishing view with the solar creating shadows and depth on the rocky valley ground because the excessive mountains twinkle with coloration surrounding the huge desert.

7. Visit the El Tatio geysers

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

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

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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 have to not be missed!

8. Lagunas Miscanti and Miñiques

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

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Usually, you would want to trek for days to get to this elevation. The nonetheless deep blue waters are hanging and it’s stunning to be standing at 4000 meters with the 2 excessive volcanoes towering overhead. It was exhausting to imagine that the Volcano proper earlier than our eyes was larger than Mount Kilimanjaro. The two 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

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The lagoons are linked by a path of rocks and also you’ll have the option to see wild vicunas roaming the panorama. These animals are associated to the llama and el paca households and are actually protected. These vicunas are unattainable to cultivate so to get their in-demand wool, they spherical them up to shave them solely as soon as each three years. 

10. Go stargazing

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San Pedro de Atacama is situated in an space with little or no gentle air pollution or precipitation, which makes it a perfect place for stargazing and excursions could be booked for round $50 to see the night time skies throughout San Pedro de Atacama. There are a number of firms that supply stargazing excursions in the world you could ebook 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 celebs, planets, and the Milky Way. Because of the low humidity, excessive altitude, and low gentle air pollution, it’s a scorching spot for astronomers to research the skies, and lots of firms from around the globe have scientists finding out its darkish skies. San Pedro de Atacama is standard for Astro-tourism and you can not miss doing this tour. I actually didn’t suppose I’d be impressed, however I liked 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
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We seemed by way of these large 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 trying 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 photographs and the corporate we went with was form sufficient to provide photographs of our expertise. This is likely one of the hottest excursions in the Atacama Desert. 

You may also go to the ALMA Observatory, which is situated about 50 kilometers exterior of San Pedro de Atacama. The observatory is dwelling to the biggest array of radio telescopes in the world, and

11. Stand on the Tropic of Capricorn

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There is one thing 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 prospect to stand on the Tropic of Capricorn. The Tropic of Capricorn is about 60 km from San Pedro de Atacama. It’s a small and quick cease, however very cool to stand on the place that’s the most southerly latitude the place the solar can seem straight overhead at excessive midday. Cool eh?

12. Visit the Village of Tocanao

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Besides San Pedro de Atacama, there are a number of villages in the Atacama Desert. If you need to do some buying, the village of Tocanao is an efficient cease. We purchased some jewellery and luggage for only a few {dollars}. Located 38 km from San Pedro de Atacama, most excursions will cease right here for no less than half-hour to an hour to assist the local people. The most notable constructing in the village is the bell tower which was constructed in 1750.

13. Church of Socaire

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Socaire is one other cease in the Atacama Desert that could be a sensible choice for lunch. Our information referred to as forward to order conventional stew. The principal attraction in 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. Explore the Salar de Tara

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The Salar de Tara is a big salt flat situated throughout the Los Flamencos National Reserve of the Atacama Desert subsequent to subsequent to Piers Rojas (the Red Rocks). It is the third largest salt flat in the world, and it’s dwelling 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 way of the world. You may also go to the salt flats on a tour, which can take you to a few of the greatest spots for pictures and sightseeing. Read extra at: Salar de Tara an Extraordinary Trip in the Atacama Desert

15. Valle de la Muerte (Death Valley or Mars Valley)

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Valle de la Muerte is known as so as a result of it is likely one of the harshest places on the planet. In the previous these animals (and people) who dared to cross perished in the unforgiving situations. No crops, animals and even bugs can survive in Death Valley.

Also generally known as Mars Valley, this can be a nice cease for backpackers or these trying to discover on their very own. Located simply 2 km from San Pedro de Atacama this can be 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

Throughout the Atacama Desert, the rainbow colours of the panorama are one of the spectacular websites. But 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 could be booked on a day tour. It showcases the layers of colours reminiscent to Rainbow Mountain in Peru. While there you’ll be able to see the ten,000-year-old petroglyphs of Yerbas Buenas. 

17. San Pedro de Atacama

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Well, this whole article is in regards to the excursions from San Pedro de Atacama, so let’s cease and speak about this sprawling desert city situated in northern Chile. San Pedro de Atacama has that typical backpacker vibe with loads of eating places and retailers. There are a number of lodges in city and it’s a great spot for eating. You can ebook any day journey you need from city and it has a cool laid-back vibe that makes it excellent for chilling out for a number of days.

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

Meteorite Museum – While 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.
Shopping – This is a unbelievable city for buying. The artist’s group of Pueblo de Artesanos is an efficient place to decide up Andean souvenirs from ponchos to blankets.

How to Get to San Pedro de Atacama

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By air: The nearest airport to San Pedro de Atacama is the El Loa Airport, which is situated in the town 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 in the area. From the airport, you’ll be able to take a taxi or a bus to San Pedro de Atacama, which is a few 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 totally 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 could be bought on-line or on the terminal.

By automotive: If you like to journey by automotive, you’ll be able to drive to San Pedro de Atacama from Santiago or different cities in the area. The drive from Santiago to San Pedro de Atacama takes about 22 hours, and it’s endorsed to take a 4×4 car due to the tough terrain of the Atacama Desert. You may also lease a automotive in Santiago or Calama, and there are a number of automotive rental firms that function in the area. Check out automotive rental costs right here.

By tour: If you like to journey with a guided tour, there are a number of firms that supply excursions to San Pedro de Atacama from Santiago and different cities in Chile. The excursions normally embrace transportation, lodging, and actions, and they’re a superb choice for vacationers who need to see as a lot of the area as doable.

No matter the way you select to get to San Pedro de Atacama, it can be crucial to plan your journey in advance and to be ready for the distinctive situations of the Atacama Desert. The city has a dry, arid local weather, and it’s important to deliver loads of water and solar safety with you while you go to.

Where to Stay in San Pedro de Atacama

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San Pedro de Atacama is the principle hub to discover the Atacama Desert of Chile. There are a number of choices for lodging. Here are some options for the place to keep in San Pedro de Atacama:

Hotels: San Pedro de Atacama has quite a lot of lodges to select from, starting from finances to luxurious. We stayed at Hotel Diego Del Almagro which has probably the greatest places in San Pedro de Atacama. The lodge rooms are primary, however you’ll be able to’t be the situation. Located proper in the middle of the town, it was inside strolling distance to every thing. If you’re driving, it has free parking for company and a swimming pool. 

Some different standard choices embrace Hotel de Larache, Hotel Atacama, and Hotel Casa de Don Tomas. These lodges provide a spread of facilities, together with swimming pools, eating places, and spas, and they’re situated in the middle of the city, close to the principle sq. and the principle vacationer sights.

Hostels: If you’re touring on a finances, there are a number of hostels in San Pedro de Atacama that supply reasonably priced lodging. Some standard choices embrace Hostal La Casona, Hostal Atacama, and Hostal El Descanso del Viajero. These hostels provide shared dorms and personal rooms, they usually normally have widespread areas, corresponding to kitchens and dwelling rooms, the place you’ll be able to socialize with different vacationers.
Camping: If you like a extra out of doors expertise, there are a number of campsites in and round San Pedro de Atacama. Some standard choices embrace Camping San Pedro de Atacama, Camping La Duna, and Camping El Molle. These campsites provide primary amenities, corresponding to bogs and showers, and they’re a superb choice for vacationers who need to be shut to nature.
Renting a trip dwelling: If you’re touring with a gaggle or need extra space and privateness, you’ll be able to contemplate renting a trip dwelling in San Pedro de Atacama. There are a number of choices out there, starting from flats to homes, and yow will discover trip leases on web sites corresponding to Airbnb or Vrbo. Renting a trip dwelling generally is a good choice if you’d like to have your personal kitchen and dwelling area, and it may also be extra economical if you’re touring with a gaggle.

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No matter the place you select to keep in San Pedro de Atacama, it can be crucial to ebook your lodging in advance, 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 ebook your lodging as early as doable to guarantee that you’ve a spot to keep. It can also be a good suggestion to analysis the situation of your lodging, as some locations could also be farther from the middle of the city or the principle vacationer sights.

From its unimaginable salt flat to rolling desert dunes, San Pedro de Atacama is likely one of the greatest locations to go to in South America. When you go to Chile, make certain it’s added to your itinerary. It’s a visit that may create recollections to final a lifetime.



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