Finest Issues to do in San Pedro de Atacama, Chile

From the Andes Mountains to excessive desert lagoons, these are the most effective 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 the earth and plenty of vacationers make their strategy to the city of San Pedro de Atacama to take pleasure in the entire 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 the earth. It’s identified 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 now we have 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 excited by 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 the earth. (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, motels, tour corporations, and retailers, it makes for a implausible base to see every little thing in Salar de Atacama.

Particular Supply: Save $100 off your individual Exodus Travels Vacation through the use of the code PLANETD100 while you take a look at. Browse adventures 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 great one! As a part of the Los Flamencos Nationwide Reserve, Chaxa Lagoon is the most effective 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 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 digital camera.

things to do in san pedro de atacama flamingoes

There are three foremost lagoons in Sector Soncor with the Chaxa lagoon being the most effective 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 no less than an hour having fun with the strolling trails that weave by way of 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 appears extra just like the floor of Mars with its pink rocks and pink dunes.

Additionally situated throughout 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. In actual fact, 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 mountaineering, and there are a number of trails that lead by way of the realm. You can even go to the valley at sundown for some lovely views of the encompassing mountains. Mountain climbing Duna Mayor is a wonderful quick 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

Essentially the most spectacular sight was the Moon Valley Amphitheatre. We had the clearest view of it strolling again alongside the excessive journey 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 most effective 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 street in case you are biking, self-driving or have employed a information. You may 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 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: The whole lot You Have 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 images as you do in Bolivia, however that is the place the place you’ll be able to play with scale and scope a bit of 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

Probably the greatest 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 most effective place for sundown as a result of you should be out of the valley by a sure time. Since you can’t 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 lovely view with the solar creating shadows and depth on the rocky valley ground 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 can be the best geothermal space on the earth. 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 remember 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 scorching 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 have to not be missed! Learn extra concerning the Yellowstone Geysers at The Important Information to Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone

8. Lagunas Miscanti and Miñiques

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

Have you ever ever questioned what it was prefer to stroll at excessive altitudes however don’t need to hike for days to get there? Properly, 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 want to trek for days to get to this elevation. The nonetheless deep blue waters are putting and it’s stunning to be standing at 4000 meters with the 2 excessive volcanoes towering overhead. It was exhausting to consider 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 have the ability to 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 an excellent place for stargazing and excursions may be booked for round $50 to see the evening skies throughout San Pedro de Atacama. There are a number of corporations that provide stargazing excursions within the space that you could guide in San Pedro de Atacama. Our tour was an add on with Exodus Travels.

The clear, dry air of the Atacama Desert permits for glorious visibility of the celebrities, planets, and the Milky Manner. Due to the low humidity, excessive altitude, and low mild air pollution, it’s a scorching spot for astronomers to review the skies, and plenty of corporations from all over the world have scientists learning its darkish skies. San Pedro de Atacama is standard for Astro-tourism and you can’t miss doing this tour. I actually didn’t assume 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 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 evening till 2 am!

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

You can even go to the ALMA Observatory, which is situated about 50 kilometers outdoors of San Pedro de Atacama. The observatory is dwelling to the most important array of radio telescopes on the earth, 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 quick cease, however very cool to face on the place that’s the most southerly latitude the place the solar can seem immediately overhead at excessive midday. Cool eh?

12. Go to the Village of Tocanao

things to do in san pedro de atacama tocanao

In addition to San Pedro de Atacama, there are just a few villages within the Atacama Desert. If you wish to do some buying, the village of Tocanao is an effective 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 no less than half-hour to an hour to help the local people. Essentially 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 may be a sensible choice 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 street.

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 throughout the Los Flamencos Nationwide Reserve of the Atacama Desert subsequent to subsequent to Piers Rojas (The Purple Rocks). It’s the third largest salt flat on the earth, 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 realm. You can even go to the salt flats on a tour, which can take you to a number of the greatest spots for images and sightseeing. Learn extra at: Salar de Tara an Extraordinary Journey within the Atacama Desert

15. Salar de Talar

One other salt flat within the Atacama is the Salar de Talar. Situated at 3900 meters, Salar de Talar is 46 sq. km that you could view on the best way to Laguna Miscanti. We didn’t go to the salt flat, however we did cease on the aspect of the street a number of instances for views of the valleys under. The beauty of taking an organized tour is that our native information at all times knew the place to cease to see the highest sights of the Atacama Desert.

16. Valle de la Muerte (Dying Valley or Mars Valley)

san pedro de atacama sand dunes

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

Often known as 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 vital spectacular websites. However there’s really 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’ll be able to see the ten,000-year-old petroglyphs of Yerbas Buenas. 

17. San Pedro de Atacama

things to do in san pedro de atacama

Properly, this whole article is concerning 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 motels on the town and it’s a excellent place for eating. You may guide any day journey you want from city and it has a cool laid-back vibe that makes it excellent for chilling out for just a few 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 really 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 set of artifacts and displays that showcase the indigenous cultures of the area, together with the Atacamenian, Inca, and Mapuche cultures.
  • Buying – It is a implausible city for buying. The artist’s group of Pueblo de Artesanos is an effective place to choose up Andean souvenirs from ponchos to blankets.

The way 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 Airways, and there are flights to and from Santiago in addition to different cities within the area. From the airport, you’ll be able to 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 corporations 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 lessons of service accessible, together with semi-cama (semi-bed), cama (mattress), and VIP. The buses depart from Terminal Alameda in Santiago, and tickets may be bought on-line or on the terminal.

By automobile: If you happen to favor to journey by automobile, you’ll be able to 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 car as a result of tough terrain of the Atacama Desert. You can even hire a automobile in Santiago or Calama, and there are a number of automobile rental corporations that function within the area. Try automobile rental costs right here.

By tour: If you happen to favor to journey with a guided tour, there are a number of corporations that provide excursions to San Pedro de Atacama from Santiago and different cities in Chile. The excursions normally embody transportation, lodging, and actions, and they’re a great choice for vacationers who need to see as a lot of the area as attainable.

Regardless of the way you select to get to San Pedro de Atacama, it is very important plan your journey upfront and to be ready for the distinctive situations of the Atacama Desert. The city has a dry, arid local weather so refill on water and ensure to decorate in light-weight clothes that may defend you from the solar and warmth. Oh, and be ready to be lined in sand. There’s a number of sand.

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. Motels: San Pedro de Atacama has quite a lot of motels to select from, starting from price range to luxurious. We stayed at Resort Diego Del Almagro which has top-of-the-line areas in San Pedro de Atacama. The resort rooms are primary, however you’ll be able to’t be the placement. Situated proper within the heart of the town, it was inside strolling distance to every little thing. In case you are driving, it has free parking for company and a swimming pool. 
    • Another standard choices embody Resort de Larache, Resort Atacama, and Resort Casa de Don Tomas. These motels 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 sights.
  2. Hostels: In case you are touring on a price range, there are a number of hostels in San Pedro de Atacama that provide inexpensive lodging.
    • Some standard choices embody Hostal La Casona, Hostal Atacama, and Hostal El Descanso del Viajero. These hostels provide shared dorms and personal rooms, they usually normally have frequent areas, corresponding to kitchens and dwelling rooms, the place you’ll be able to socialize with different vacationers.
  3. Tenting: If you happen to favor a extra out of doors expertise, there are a number of campsites in and round San Pedro de Atacama.
    • Well-liked choices embody Tenting San Pedro de Atacama, Tenting La Duna, and Tenting El Molle. These campsites provide primary services, corresponding to bogs and showers, and they’re a great choice for vacationers who need to be near nature.
  4. Renting a trip dwelling: In case you are touring with a gaggle or need more room and privateness, you’ll be able to take into account renting a trip dwelling in San Pedro de Atacama. There are a number of choices accessible, starting from flats to homes, and you’ll find trip leases on Vrbo. Renting a trip dwelling generally is a good choice if you wish to have your individual kitchen and dwelling house, and it may 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, it is very important guide your lodging upfront, particularly through the excessive season, which runs from November to March. The city can get very busy throughout this time, and it’s best to guide your lodging as early as attainable to make sure that you have 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 sights.

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