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Best Things to do in San Pedro de Atacama


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. Located in northern Chile, 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 take pleasure in all the superb 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 a wide range of terrains together with salt flats, geysers, and lagoons, Salar de Atacama is among the most hanging locations now we have ever visited.

Tours 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 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 various issues to do in the realm. Here are some ideas 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 in case you are 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, accommodations, tour firms, and outlets, it makes for a implausible base to see all the things 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 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 via 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 encircling 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.

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

Chaxa Lagoon is 2 hours from San Pedro de Atacama and also you’ll spend a minimum of an hour having fun with the strolling trails that weave via 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 known as the Moon Valley due to its similarity to the floor of the moon however is de facto seems to be extra just like the floor of Mars. With its rocky terrain and strange rock formations. In reality, NASA examined its Mars Rover in the Atacama due to its related panorama and local weather.

3. Hike Duna Mayor

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The valley is a good place to go climbing, and there are a number of trails that lead via the realm. You can even go to the valley at sundown for some stunning views of the encircling mountains. Hiking Duna Mayor is a superb quick hike to unbelievable 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 experience 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 very best views. With Exodus Travels we had been spoiled and loved a glass of wine with cheese as we ignored the extraordinary views from Mirador Lickan Antai. This is a beautiful cease off the aspect of the street in case you are 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

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If you’re on the lookout 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 Atacama Desert is much completely different from the Bolivian Salt Flats. 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 a bit of 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 very best 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 very best 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 gorgeous 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 bunch of geothermal springs which might be 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 simply don’t need to miss.

The El Tatio Geysers are a couple of two-hour drive from San Pedro de Atacama. We had been picked up properly 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 sure 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), and so they produce steam and sizzling 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 puzzled 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 instantly to an elevation of over 4000 meters (13,000 ft) to stroll from the picturesque lakes of Miscanti and Miniques.

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Usually, you would wish to trek for days to get to this elevation. The nonetheless deep blue waters are hanging and it’s surprising to be standing at 4000 meters with the 2 excessive volcanoes towering overhead. It was onerous to imagine that the Volcano proper earlier than our eyes was increased 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. Vicuñas

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The lagoons are related by a path of rocks and also you’ll give you 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 not possible 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 super 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 supply stargazing excursions in the realm that you would be able to 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 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 sizzling spot for astronomers to research the skies, and lots of firms from all over the world have scientists learning its darkish skies. San Pedro de Atacama is in style for Astro-tourism and you can not 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 large telescopes at Saturn, Mars, and Pluto. 

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We seemed via 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 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 variety sufficient to provide images of our expertise. This is among the hottest excursions in the Atacama Desert. 

You can even go to the ALMA Observatory, which is situated about 50 kilometers exterior of San Pedro de Atacama. The observatory is dwelling to the most important 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 possibility 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 instantly 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 a minimum of half-hour to an hour to help the area 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 may be a good selection for lunch. Our information known as forward to order conventional stew. The predominant 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 street.

14. San Pedro de Atacama

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Well, this complete 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 outlets. There are a number of accommodations in city and it’s a excellent spot for eating. You can guide any day journey you need from city and it has a cool laid-back vibe that makes it good 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 reveals that showcase the indigenous cultures of the area, together with the Atacamenian, Inca, and Mapuche cultures.
Shopping – This is a implausible city for buying. The artist’s group of Pueblo de Artesanos is an efficient place to choose 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 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 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 obtainable, 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 automotive: If you favor to journey by automotive, you possibly can 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 is suggested to take a 4×4 automobile due to the tough terrain of the Atacama Desert. You can even hire 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 favor 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 potential.

No matter the way you select to get to San Pedro de Atacama, it is crucial to plan your journey in advance and to be ready for the distinctive circumstances 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 ideas for the place to keep in San Pedro de Atacama:

Hotels: San Pedro de Atacama has a wide range of accommodations to select from, starting from price range to luxurious. We stayed at Hotel Diego Del Almagro which has top-of-the-line areas in San Pedro de Atacama. The resort rooms are primary, however you possibly can’t be the placement. Located proper in the middle of town, it was inside strolling distance to all the things. If you’re driving, it has free parking for visitors and a swimming pool. 
Some different in style choices embrace Hotel de Larache, Hotel Atacama, and Hotel Casa de Don Tomas. These accommodations 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 price range, there are a number of hostels in San Pedro de Atacama that supply reasonably priced lodging. Some in style choices embrace Hostal La Casona, Hostal Atacama, and Hostal El Descanso del Viajero. These hostels provide shared dorms and personal rooms, and so they normally have widespread areas, resembling kitchens and dwelling rooms, the place you possibly can socialize with different vacationers.
Camping: If you favor a extra outside expertise, there are a number of campsites in and round San Pedro de Atacama. Some in style choices embrace Camping San Pedro de Atacama, Camping La Duna, and Camping El Molle. These campsites provide primary amenities, resembling bathrooms 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 bunch or need extra space and privateness, you possibly can take into account renting a trip dwelling in San Pedro de Atacama. There are a number of choices obtainable, starting from residences to homes, and you could find trip leases on web sites resembling Airbnb or Vrbo. Renting a trip dwelling could be a good choice if you’d like to have your personal kitchen and dwelling area, and it will also be extra economical in case you are touring with a bunch.

Explore the Salar de Atacama

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The Salar de Atacama is a big salt flat situated in the Atacama Desert. It is the third largest salt flat in the world, and it’s dwelling to a wide range of plant and animal life. The salar is a good place to go for a drive, as there are a number of filth roads that lead via the realm. You can even go to the salt flats on a tour, which is able to take you to among the finest spots for images and sightseeing.

No matter the place you select to keep in San Pedro de Atacama, it is crucial to guide 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 guide your lodging as early as potential to guarantee that you’ve got a spot to keep. It can also be 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 principle vacationer sights.



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