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, the Atacama Desert is the driest non-polar desert on the planet and plenty of vacationers make their solution to the city of San Pedro de Atacama to take pleasure in all the wonderful 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.

Issues to do in San Pedro de Atacama

The Atacama Desert is the best and dryest non-polar desert on the planet. It’s identified for its lunar panorama and pure magnificence. With a wide range of terrains together with salt flats, geysers, and lagoons, Salar de Atacama is without doubt one of the most placing locations we’ve ever visited.

Excursions 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 heart for indigenous communities. The city is a well-liked vacation spot for backpackers and intrepid vacationers who’re curious about journey, nature, and historical past, and there are various issues to do within the space. Listed here are some ideas for issues to do in San Pedro de Atacama.

The place 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 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, accommodations, tour corporations, and outlets, it makes for a unbelievable base to see the whole lot in Salar de Atacama.

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

1. Laguna Chaxa

Seeing the flamingoes of Chaxa Lagoon was the primary cease on our tour and it was a very good 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 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 wish to pull out your digital camera.

There are three important 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 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 by the lagoons. 

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

The Valle de la Luna is a singular panorama that’s situated simply 13 km (8 miles) exterior of San Pedro de Atacama. It’s referred to as the Moon Valley due to its similarity to the floor of the moon however is de facto appears extra just like the floor of Mars. 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

The valley is a superb place to go climbing, and there are a number of trails that lead by the world. It’s also possible to go to the valley at sundown for some stunning views of the encompassing mountains. Mountain climbing Duna Mayor is a wonderful brief hike to unbelievable 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.

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

There are a number of miradors to look at the sundown in Valle de La Luna and we made positive 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 missed the extraordinary views from Mirador Lickan Antai. It is a beautiful cease off the aspect of the highway in case you are biking, self-driving or have employed a information. You’ll be able to hike out for higher views of the desert landscapes.

5. Las Tres Marias Valle de La Luna

If you’re 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 Atacama Desert is way totally 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 bit. The path is a brief 15-minute stroll

6. Sundown from Mirador de Kari Piedra del Coyote

Among the best issues to do in San Pedro de Atacama is to look at the sundown from Mirador de Kari Piedra del Coyote. Situated exterior 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 stunning view with the solar creating shadows and depth on the rocky valley ground because the excessive mountains twinkle with shade surrounding the huge desert.

5. Go to the El Tatio geysers

The El Tatio geysers are a bunch of geothermal springs which might be the best geothermal space on the 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 wish to miss.

The El Tatio Geysers are a few two-hour drive from San Pedro de Atacama. We have been picked up effectively 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 you should definitely 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 sizzling water that may attain temperatures of as much as 100°C.

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!

6. Lagunas Miscanti and Miñiques

Have you ever ever questioned what it was wish to stroll at excessive altitudes however don’t wish to hike for days to get there? Nicely, 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 ft) to stroll from the picturesque lakes of Miscanti and Miniques.

Often, you would want to trek for days to get to this elevation. The nonetheless deep blue waters are placing and it’s surprising 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 increased 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))

7. Vicuñas

The lagoons are related by a path of rocks and also you’ll be capable 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 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. 

8. Go stargazing

San Pedro de Atacama is situated in an space with little or no mild air pollution or precipitation, which makes it a super 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 corporations that provide stargazing excursions within the space which you could 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 glorious visibility of the celebs, planets, and the Milky Approach. 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 corporations from around the globe have scientists learning its darkish skies. San Pedro de Atacama is widespread for Astro-tourism and you can’t miss doing this tour. I actually didn’t suppose I’d be impressed, however I beloved 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. 

We appeared by 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 type sufficient to produce images of our expertise. This is without doubt one of the hottest excursions within the Atacama Desert. 

It’s also possible to go to the ALMA Observatory, which is situated about 50 kilometers exterior of San Pedro de Atacama. The observatory is residence to the biggest array of radio telescopes on the planet, and

9. Stand on the 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 prospect 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 immediately overhead at excessive midday. Cool eh?

10. Go to the Village of Tocanao

Apart from San Pedro de Atacama, there are a couple of villages within the Atacama Desert. If you wish to do some procuring, 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 a minimum of 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.

11. Church of 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 principle 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.

12. San Pedro de Atacama

Nicely, 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 accommodations on the town and it’s a excellent place for eating. You’ll be able to 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

You’ll be able to go to the Meteorite Museum which helps you to really contact stones from out of this world,

R. P. Gustavo Le Paige Archaeological Museum

Whereas strolling round San Pedro de Atacama, make a cease on the R. P. Gustavo Le Paige Archaeological Museum. It’s 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. The museum is a superb place to study concerning the historical past of the Atacama Desert and the indigenous communities which have lived within the space for hundreds of years.

Buying

It is a unbelievable city for procuring. The artist’s neighborhood 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

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 few 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 the Terminal Alameda in Santiago, and tickets could be bought on-line or on the terminal.

By automotive: If you happen to choose to journey by automotive, 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. It’s also possible to hire a automotive in Santiago or Calama, and there are a number of automotive rental corporations that function within the area. Take a look at automotive rental costs right here.

By tour: If you happen to choose 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 often embrace transportation, lodging, and actions, and they’re a very good possibility for vacationers who wish to see as a lot of the area as potential.

Irrespective 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 circumstances of the Atacama Desert. The city has a dry, arid local weather, and you will need to convey loads of water and solar safety with you while you go to.

The place to Keep 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 accomodations. Listed here are some ideas for the place to remain in San Pedro de Atacama:

  1. Lodges: San Pedro de Atacama has a wide range of accommodations to select from, starting from price range to luxurious. We stayed at Lodge 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. Situated proper within the heart of town, it was inside strolling distance to the whole lot. If you’re driving, it has free parking for company and a swimming pool. 
    • Another widespread choices embrace Lodge de Larache, Lodge Atacama, and Lodge Casa de Don Tomas. These accommodations 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: If you’re touring on a price range, there are a number of hostels in San Pedro de Atacama that provide inexpensive lodging. Some widespread 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, equivalent to kitchens and residing rooms, the place you possibly can socialize with different vacationers.
  3. Tenting: If you happen to choose a extra out of doors expertise, there are a number of campsites in and round San Pedro de Atacama. Some widespread choices embrace Tenting San Pedro de Atacama, Tenting La Duna, and Tenting El Molle. These campsites provide primary services, equivalent to bogs and showers, and they’re a very good possibility for vacationers who wish to be near nature.
  4. Renting a trip residence: If you’re touring with a bunch or need extra space and privateness, you possibly can take into account renting a trip residence in San Pedro de Atacama. There are a number of choices accessible, starting from residences to homes, and you will discover trip leases on web sites equivalent to Airbnb or Vrbo. Renting a trip residence generally is a good possibility if you wish to have your individual kitchen and residing area, and it will also be extra economical in case you are touring with a bunch.

Explore the Salar de Atacama

The Salar de Atacama is a big salt flat situated within the Atacama Desert. It’s the third largest salt flat on the planet, and it’s residence to a wide range of plant and animal life. The salar is a superb place to go for a drive, as there are a number of grime roads that lead by the world. It’s also possible to go to the salt flats on a tour, which can take you to a few of the finest spots for images and sightseeing.

Irrespective of the place you select to remain in San Pedro de Atacama, you will need to e book your lodging prematurely, particularly in the course of 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 potential to make sure that you might have a spot to remain. It is usually 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.



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