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26 Enjoyable Issues to Do in San Pedro de Atacama, Chile


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San Pedro de Atacama is a small-town oasis surrounded by one of many driest locations on the planet. Individuals come from all over the world to expertise the Atacama Desert, and there are many enjoyable issues to do in San Pedro de Atacama, the gateway to exploring this otherworldly setting.

My husband Charlie and I selected to go to Atacama Desert on our monthlong Chile-Argentina-Uruguay honeymoon. Why? Volcanoes, salty lakes, erupting geysers, big sand dunes, and weird rock formations — to not point out the flamingos, guanacos, and vicuñas!

Straight away, we knew San Pedro de Atacama could be the most effective base for exploring the Atacama Desert in Chile. A small city with a bohemian really feel, sitting at 2,400 meters above sea degree and surrounded by the Andes mountains, San Pedro is stuffed with character (and characters) — a enjoyable place to return after exploring the desert every day!

Listed here are the most effective issues to do in San Pedro de Atacama — gateway to a number of the most visually putting locations in Chile, a rustic that punches above its weight when it comes to pure magnificence.

This publish was printed in February 2024 and was co-written by Adventurous Kate and Hannah Cooper.

A dirt road leading through the Atacama Desert, with purple-blue mountains in the distance, surrounded by bright orange rocky hills covered with green shrubs.
The Atacama Desert is NOT a spot the place you’d need to get caught.

Security in San Pedro de Atacama

Please don’t skip this part, it’s vital!! I’m including in a piece on security in San Pedro de Atacama as a result of I really feel like the risks of the desert are so underplayed.

First off, the Atacama Desert is a high-altitude desert, which is a troublesome in your physique. You’ll be experiencing the consequences of a desert local weather (dry eyes, nostril, lips, and pores and skin) in addition to presumably the consequences of altitude (fatigue, dizziness, complications), particularly in highest-altitude locations just like the El Tatio geysers.

Secondly, you could resolve whether or not to 1) hire a automobile and discover independently, or 2) e-book excursions. Charlie and I rented a automobile, however realizing what I do know now concerning the driving circumstances, reserving excursions is far safer.

There is just one gasoline station within the space — within the city of San Pedro de Atacama — and when you break down, your state of affairs may shortly flip lethal. There isn’t a cellphone sign exterior the city. Many roads are unpaved and in dangerous situation. It’s extremely sizzling throughout the day and fairly chilly at evening. There are security vans patrolling probably the most traversed roads, and so they typically have to save lots of stranded vacationers.

At one level we realized we had a deflating tire that needed to be inflated every morning, and my coronary heart was in my throat till we bought again to Calama Airport safely.

If you happen to’re driving by yourself, verify your tire strain, preserve a full tank of gasoline, and take water and meals with you. Don’t drive by yourself when you’re touring solo. Don’t drive whereas drained. Drive slowly, take no probabilities, and preserve a watch out for wildlife.

A pink, barren desert landscape, with lots of rocks and salty white streaks along the ground.
Valle de la Luna, or Valley of the Moon — good to go to within the late afternoon.

Finest Issues to Do in San Pedro de Atacama

Go to the Valle de la Luna

Valle de la Luna (Moon Valley) is likely one of the hottest points of interest within the Atacama, and I believe it’s an excellent place to go to in your first day in San Pedro de Atacama, because it’s an excellent afternoon vacation spot. The primary actions right here embrace the mysterious Three Marias rocks, an deserted salt mine, and a 40-minute stroll via the colossal dunes.

Valle de la Luna is a straightforward 25-minute drive from San Pedro (which you’ll quickly study is EXTREMELY shut by Atacama requirements). Many vacationers cycle there, though you need to arrive earlier than 11:00 AM. 

As an alternative, I like to recommend arriving within the afternoon when the sunshine is softer, after which hanging round for sundown on the La Piedra del Coyote viewpoint. You should purchase admission tickets through Punto Ticket — you have to to reach at a particular time.

In any other case, you may e-book a Valle de la Luna tour from San Pedro. This tour brings you to the websites listed and concludes with watching the sundown close by.

Looking into a valley of jagged, pointy, sand-colored rocks with faded blue mountains in the distance.
La Piedra del Coyote, simply earlier than sundown.

Watch the sundown at La Piedra del Coyote

La Piedra del Coyote (aka Mirador de Kari) is likely one of the finest locations to see the sundown within the Atacama. This is likely one of the hottest photographs of the Atacama, and one that you just’ve probably already seen: an enormous plateau overlooking the Valle de la Luna the place the jagged rocks and the Andes mountains mild up in several colours because the solar sinks into the horizon.

Notice that admission thus far is simply attainable with a Valle de la Luna ticket and should be on the identical day; you may’t go to in any other case. Additionally, you must know that there isn’t actually anyplace snug to sit down right here; there are a couple of cement blocks you may sit on, however they may all be taken, leaving you to select a rock.

As soon as the sundown wraps, the employees will shoo you out. That’s round 8:30 PM in summer time and 5:30 PM in winter. 

A man in a red shirt sand boarding down a dune in the atacama desert, pinkish mountains rising behind him.
Sandboarding within the Valle de la Muerte, the most effective issues to do in San Pedro de Atacama, through Shutterstock.

Go sandboarding within the Valle de la Muerte

Sandboarding in Valle de la Muerte (the Atacama’s Dying Valley) is likely one of the most adventurous issues to do in San Pedro de Atacama! This valley is simply 5 minutes from city and options dunes starting from 40 meters to 200 meters. 

Valle de la Muerte reopened for sandboarding in 2023 after being shut down. Sandboard San Pedro is likely one of the finest tour operators providing tools, guides bilingual in Spanish and English, and transport. They run morning, afternoon, and full-moon sandboarding excursions. 

Notice that this area is typically known as Valle de Marte (Mars Valley). 

Kate and Charlie, in their pink and yellow Patagonia jackets, sitting on a log in the desert, underneath a night sky with a very bright full moon.
Charlie and me wishing we had gone stargazing NOT throughout the full moon!

Go stargazing

Do you know that the Atacama Desert is house to the most effective stargazing on the planet? Significantly! The bone-dry, high-altitude local weather permits distinctive visibility.

Astronomical excursions are the most effective issues to do in San Pedro de Atacama, and permit you to study astronomy and examine celestial objects via a telescope.

Excursions usually value round $40-45 USD and embrace an expert astrophoto, just like the one you see above. Just a few choices value trying out are this stargazing tour with an astronomer (the most cost effective small-group tour), this astronomical and astrophotography tour (with extra emphasis on photographing the celebrities) and the premium “Underneath the Atacama Night time” (with a cultural focus). 

Nevertheless, don’t make the error I did — don’t e-book a visit to the Atacama throughout the full moon when you can assist it! The sunshine from the moon wipes out the celebrities. It was a transparent evening and we have been nonetheless capable of see some stars (in addition to Jupiter and Saturn, each very cool), however an evening with the brand new moon would have been infinitely higher.

Star-gazing may be carried out year-round in San Pedro de Atacama. You must know that clouds are uncommon within the Atacama however tour-canceling cloudy skies are commonest within the months of January and February. The Milky Method is seen throughout the winter months (June, July, and August).

It was once attainable to go to the ALMA Observatory, nevertheless, public visits are presently suspended.

People walking down a dirt road in San Pedro de Atacama, just after sunset, the sky bright blue, and mud buildings on each side of the street.
Strolling Caracoles after sundown.

Discover the city of San Pedro de Atacama

The city of San Pedro de Atacama is as touristy because it comes — however that’s an excellent factor right here! The city has a bohemian, hippie really feel, and jogs my memory a number of locations like Pai, Thailand, and Holbox, Mexico. You’ll discover a smattering of excellent eating places, tons of tour corporations, memento retailers galore, bike rental corporations, and impromptu pan flute jams.

Pedestrian-only Caracoles is the central strolling road in San Pedro, and it’s particularly nice round sundown, when the fierce daytime temperatures drop and everybody comes out to walk. It’s just like the passeggiata in Italy!

Listed here are a couple of of my favourite spots in San Pedro de Atacama:

ChelaCabur — This bar has a enjoyable ambiance, a giant beer checklist, offbeat decor, and nice music. Oddly, I felt at house immediately! Their chelada — a lightweight beer with lime juice, ice, and salt — hits the spot after a day within the desert, changing all of the electrolytes you’ve misplaced.

Roots Café & Bar — This various cafe boasts the most effective espresso on the town. It additionally felt like the best folks on the town occurred to be working right here! Charlie and I every ordered an iced espresso on a sizzling day – adopted swiftly by a second iced espresso. They have been that good.

Emporio Andino — This bakery serves implausible empanadas and so they’re sufficiently big to have one as a meal. So good that we had them for dinner on a number of events! I particularly cherished their caprese empanada with queso mantecoso, tomato, and basil.

Heladería Babalú — Visiting this beloved ice cream store in San Pedro is virtually a ceremony of passage! Right here you’ll find each basic flavors and a few uncommon choices impressed by the native herbs, like “flor del desierto” and “rica-rica.” My favourite was the maracuya (ardour fruit).

A still, bright blue lake in front of some near-purple mountains underneath a clear blue sky in the desert. Lots of small yellow brush-like flowers in the foreground.
Laguna Miscanti within the Atacama Desert

Go to the gorgeous Lagunas Altiplánicas

Sitting at most altitudes of 4,100 meters, the cobalt-blue Lagunas Altiplánicas are individually known as Miscanti and Miñiques. These glowing lakes are linked by a strolling path designed for panorama images and birdwatching, and I used to be impressed by their magnificence.

If you happen to’re planning to go to Lagunas Altiplánicas independently, you have to to purchase timed tickets through the Socaire web site. I strongly suggest shopping for the ticket package deal that features each the Lagunas Altiplánicas and Piedras Rojas, as they’re shut to one another.

Socaire is about an hour’s drive from San Pedro, so issue this into selecting your time slot. You’ll must verify in on the city of Socaire on the best way and gather a paper ticket. Formally, check-in is one hour earlier than your timestamp. We arrived a bit early and it wasn’t a difficulty, however it’s smart to stay to the time slot. 

We had a number of points with the positioning timing out when making an attempt to purchase the tickets. It was like pulling enamel. General, I like to recommend going with a tour for this exercise slightly than going by yourself.

This top-rated tour takes you to Piedras Rojas, the Altiplanic Lagoons, and Salar de Atacama. If you happen to e-book a tour, the doorway charge should be paid individually in Chilean pesos; your guides will gather the charge on the drive. 

One other bonus: the turn-off to the dust street resulting in Lagunas Altiplánicas has a lot of vicuñas, a llama-like creature! We noticed a complete household.

A pink desert landscape with red mountains and a pale blue-green lagoon with a trail marked with rocks on each side of it.
The strolling path at Las Piedras Rojas within the Atacama Desert

Stroll round Las Piedras Rojas 

After leaving the Lagunas Altiplánicas, the Piedras Rojas (Purple Rocks) are a 45-minute drive additional south. Often known as the Aguas Calientes Salt Flat, these rust-colored boulders edge one other high-altitude salt lake. The pale blues and greens of the water with the deep pink and pink hues of the rocks result in an otherworldly ambiance.

There may be a straightforward, principally flat strolling path taking you across the salt lakes. However you must know that you just’re at 3,800 meters above sea degree — anticipate to be a bit out of breath when doing this stroll. Costume warmly, as it will likely be chilly and windy. I used to be sporting a denim jacket, which wasn’t fairly heat sufficient for this space. My Uniqlo extremely mild down jacket would have been a more sensible choice.

The guides mentioned that the strolling path would take round 90 minutes; Charlie and I walked it shortly and did it in 40 minutes.

If you wish to go to Piedras Rojas on a tour, I like to recommend the identical Piedras Rojas, the Altiplanic Lagoons, and Salar de Atacama tour listed above.

Notice: if touring independently, by this time you’ll most likely be prepared for lunch. There are a couple of locations to eat in Socaire.

Kate and Charlie taking a smiling selfie in sunglasses in front of a road sign reading Tropico de Capricornia.
Everybody must get this selfie!

Pose on the Tropic of Capricorn Signal

The Tropic of Capricorn is situated simply south of San Pedro de Atacama, and there’s an Instagram-ready signal marking it! Yow will discover Tropic of Capricorn indicators on both facet of Freeway 23, about 45 minutes’ driving time south of San Pedro de Atacama, simply north of Socaire.

There’s nothing else to do right here — however it’s positively value stopping for a fast photograph in your technique to or from the Lagunas Altiplánicos and the Piedras Rojas.

This wasn’t my first time on the Tropic of Capricorn — I additionally drove via it close to Shark Bay in Western Australia.

Several geysers exploding with plumes of white smoke against a desert mountain landscape.
El Tatio geysers, through DepositPhotos

See El Tatio Geysers at daybreak

Located at a sky-high 4,300 meters, El Tatio is the best geyser subject on the earth. These 80 sizzling water and stream eruptions attain heights of 10 meters. However if you wish to see the effervescent explosions in motion for your self, you’ll want to go to VERY early within the morning — simply earlier than dawn.

Sure, which means you’ll want to go away San Pedro de Atacama at about 4:00 AM to get there on time. Because of this, I strongly suggest visiting on a tour slightly than driving there by yourself. The roads are usually not in nice situation and also you don’t need to be driving them at the hours of darkness — plus the altitude right here can result in complications and nausea.

As an alternative, I like to recommend reserving this tour to the El Tatio geysers, on a bus with large home windows. You’ll be picked up round 4:00 AM and might snooze the entire drive there. You’ll go to the village of Machuca and the Rio Putana wetlands afterwards.

You must also know that it’s extraordinarily chilly on the El Tatio geysers earlier than the solar comes up — beneath freezing. Put on your whole warmest garments. It should get higher as soon as the solar comes up.

Nonetheless intent on driving your self? Some guests to San Pedro de Atacama watch for an tour van and tailgate all of them the best way to the geysers. Drivers hate this, however it’s going to enable you to see the place you’re going. Permit two hours for the drive (90 minutes you probably have a 4X4). However when you’re by yourself, you may go to the Puritama Scorching Springs on the best way again (extra on that beneath).

The doorway charge on the El Tatio geysers is 15,000 CLP ($16 USD) in money and should be paid by all guests, no matter tour.

A brown lake with several pale pink flamingos bending their heads into the water, their reflections beneath them.
Lagunas Flamingos — value a fast cease when you’re already within the space.

Cease off at Lagunas Flamingos

The Lagunas Flamingos are situated simply south of Mahuca, on the best way again from El Tatio. These lakes are named for the cotton candy-colored birds who wade within the shallows – go determine!

It’s value stopping for a couple of photographs on the best way again from El Tatio Geysers. Nevertheless, I don’t assume it’s value making a particular journey to those lakes. Follow the Puritama Scorching Springs as an alternative. Which brings us to our subsequent merchandise…

People luxuriating in pools beneath waterfalls in the middle of a canyon in the desert.

Soak within the Puritama Scorching Springs (Termas de Puritama)

Now THIS was my favourite expertise within the Atacama Desert! I really like visiting sizzling springs all over the world, from Iceland to Italy, however the Puritama Scorching Springs may need probably the most distinctive setting of all: a verdant canyon in the midst of the desert. 

It seems like nothing once you arrive — only a parking zone. However hidden from the street is a pathway that slowly descends into the canyon.

Right here you may take pleasure in a series of seven swimming pools, all of them linked with waterfalls. The water is heat, not sizzling, however these swimming pools are absolute PARADISE after spending a couple of days within the driest place on the earth!

There are restrooms and single-sex group altering rooms (no non-public stalls) on the complicated. You’ll must deliver your personal lock if you wish to use the lockers, and there’s no meals or drink. I like to recommend bringing flip-flops for strolling the paths between the swimming pools, and take it slowly on the stroll out of the canyon — the excessive altitude makes uphill climbs additional difficult!

It takes half-hour to drive to the Puritama Scorching Springs from San Pedro. And not using a automobile, you may e-book this tour to take you.

Tickets value 35,000 CLP ($38.50 USD) per grownup and should be bought on-line upfront for both the morning, afternoon, or sundown slot. (Notice that there are mid-day closures between the time slots.) Even when you e-book a tour, you continue to want to purchase admission through this web site. 

A flamingo drinking from a lake, which is reflecting a mountain in it.
Laguna Chaxa, through DepositPhotos

Discover flamingos at Laguna Chaxa

Laguna Chaxa is likely one of the finest spots on the Atacama salt flats for seeing flamingos. This shallow lake is the habitat of Chilean, Andean, and James flamingoes. 

It takes 1 hour and 40 minutes to drive to the Chaxa Lagoon from San Pedro. As soon as you allow the primary street it switches to gravel, like most of the roads within the area, however it is drivable in an everyday automobile. 

I believe Laguna Chaxa is finest visited on the best way again from Lagunas Altiplánicas and Piedras Rojas, because it’s a straightforward detour from that important street. This Atacama Salt Flat and Piedras Rojas tour is a full day trip and stops in any respect three.  

Two people floating in a bright blue salty lake in the desert.
Floating in Laguna Cejar is an Atacama should! By way of Shutterstock.

Float in salty Laguna Cejar

Laguna Cejar is one other a part of the Atacama salt flats the place you’ll see flamingos. Plus, you’ll have the possibility to drift within the saline-loaded waters — this lake is saltier than the Useless Sea!

Cejar Lagoon is the primary cease on the quick strolling path. Nevertheless, the lake you’ll truly swim in is Laguna Piedra. (Just about all locals seek advice from each lakes as Laguna Cejar, which could be a bit complicated.)

It’s chilly once you first enter the water, however you’ll quickly heat up. Swimming is capped at 20 minutes for security causes, after which you’ll must bathe the salt off earlier than leaving.

Lagunas Cejar and Piedra are a straightforward 25-minute drive from San Pedro. You should purchase an entry ticket for 20,000 CLP ($22 USD) on-line.

However like all issues on this a part of the world, random closures can occur. Sadly Laguna Cejar occurred to be closed when Charlie and I confirmed up. Oh properly — subsequent time!

Wish to do it on a tour? This top-rated tour to Laguna Cejar, Ojos del Salar, and Laguna Tebinquinche is on the market. Admission to the lagoons is payable in money to the information, and the outing features a picnic.

A yellow wooden platform leading over a salt-streaked sandy landscape and a blue still lagoon.
Tebinquinche Lagoon nearly trying pink, through DepositPhotos

Catch sundown at Laguna Tebinquinche

The Atacama Desert is fascinating from a organic perspective — and Laguna Tebinquinche comprises a novel microbial ecosystem that isn’t discovered anyplace else on the planet. And it’s one other visually spellbinding vacation spot.

Touching the water and salt deposits is forbidden, however you may take pleasure in views of the layers from the footpath. Vacationers should go away earlier than sundown, however you must keep so long as attainable to benefit from the superb mild and coloration adjustments.

It’s a 20-minute drive from Laguna Cejar with a cease on the two sinkholes often known as Ojos del Salar (Eyes of the Salt Flats). The aforementioned tour to Laguna Cejar finishes off at Laguna Tebinquinche. 

Ancient rock art -- you can see the outlines of llama-like guanacos, painted on the sandstone
Visiting the Yerbas Buenas petroglyphs is likely one of the extra uncommon issues to do in San Pedro de Atacama, through DepositPhotos.

Try the Yerbas Buenas petroglyphs

Yerbas Buenas is a good place to study concerning the human historical past of San Pedro and the encircling space. This space is wealthy with petroglyphs from 10,000 years in the past.

This rock artwork depicts animals of the Atacama, together with vicuñas and Andean foxes.

It’s a 50-minute drive from San Pedro de Atacama to the Yerbas Buenas petroglyph. This six-hour tour to Valle del Arcoíris, the Atacama’s Rainbow Valley, features a cease on the best way again. And like all place that includes historic artwork, it’s good to have a information clarify it to you.

A man climbing a mountain in the Atacama Desert, with views of mountains underneath a bright blue sky around him.
For the actually adventurous, Cerro Toco is a wild climb! By way of Shutterstock.

Climb Cerro Toco

If you happen to’re bodily match, acclimated to the altitude, and up for a problem, climbing a dormant volcano within the Andes mountains is likely one of the most adventurous issues to do in San Pedro de Atacama.

Cerro Toco reaches 5,604 meters and is likely one of the prime locations for spectacular desert views (in a area that appears to have spectacular views round each nook!).

You’ll must e-book a guided Cerro Toco summit trek with a certificated high-mountain information. Correct trekking gear is necessary, and remember the fact that the excessive altitude makes this far harder than if it have been at a decrease elevation. Don’t even consider doing this when you’re not accustomed to climbing in altitude.

Go to Museo de Meteorito

Inspecting meteorites collected from the desert is likely one of the most sudden issues to do in San Pedro de Atacama within the night earlier than dinner. Museo de Meteorito comprises achondrites, chondrites, mesosiderites, and pallasites.

An audio tour is on the market in a number of languages. On the finish, you’ll have a hands-on demo for detecting meteorites from common rocks.

The Meteorite Museum is open Tuesday via Sunday, 6:00-9:00 PM. Money-only admission is 5,000 CLP ($5.50 USD).

A few hot air balloons sailing over the sandy Atacama Desert, a few oases in the photo.
Some of the costly issues to do in San Pedro de Atacama? Scorching air balloon journey! By way of Shutterstock.

Journey a Scorching Air Balloon

Are you a baller? You possibly can’t get far more baller than driving a sizzling air balloon over the Atacama Desert! And it’s arduous to think about a greater view than from the sky.

Sure, it’s costly — however I’d file this underneath “as soon as in a lifetime” journey experiences.

Yow will discover and e-book sizzling air balloon flights in San Pedro de Atacama right here, and so they happen within the early morning between September and Might. 

A valley in the desert covered with patches of red, orange, green, and white.
Valle del Arcoíris, or Rainbow Valley, through DepositPhotos.

Off the Crushed Path close to San Pedro de Atacama

Listed here are a couple of extra locations in San Pedro de Atacama value visiting:

Salar de Tara — Situated throughout the Los Flamencos Nationwide Reserve in Northern Chile, this phenomenal salt flat borders each Bolivia and Argentina. Moreover flamingoes, you’ll see sand-carved “cathedrals.”

Laguna Baltinache — Extra salty lakes, you say? Why not! Not lots of people go to the Hidden Lagoons of Baltinache, preferring Lagunas Cejar and Piedra, which makes them a beautiful escape.. Swimming is permitted in two of the seven. 

Valle del Arcoíris — The Atacama’s “Rainbow Valley” comprises stripey mountains and rock formations shaped by wind erosion. It’s the primary cease on this six-hour tour to Valle del Arcoíris adopted by Yerbas Buenas. 

People hanging out on the edge of a rocky cliff in the desert, getting ready to watch the sunset.
Sundown-watchers preparing at La Piedra del Coyote close to San Pedro.

How A lot Time to Spend in San Pedro de Atacama

I believe three days in San Pedro de Atacama is the right period of time. If you happen to arrive noon on the primary day, that’s tremendous — you continue to have time for the Valle de la Luna, sundown at La Piedra del Coyote, and even some stargazing.

A four- or five-day itinerary would offer you sufficient time to do every part on this checklist.

There are a couple of factors of consideration into what number of days to spend in San Pedro de Atacama. To start with, it’s in the midst of nowhere, so that you’ll most likely must plan flights on both facet, and second, the high-altitude desert atmosphere may be robust to get used to.

Make sure to take it simple and slowly improve your elevation. Most guides suggest beginning simply with the Valle de la Luna and saving El Tatio geysers to your final day as a result of it’s at a a lot increased altitude.

Lastly — due to our crusty noses, dry lips, and some complications, Charlie and I have been relieved to go away the desert after three days. Our subsequent vacation spot was Puerto Varas within the lush, inexperienced Los Lagos area and it felt like paradise!

Five guanacos, llama-like animals, hanging out on a hillside covered with yellow desert flowers.
Seeing this household of vicuñas was one of many highlights of my go to!

The best way to get to San Pedro de Atacama

The closest airport to San Pedro de Atacama is within the metropolis of Calama. El Loa Airport in Calama has a number of flights to Santiago every day, which take about two hours. From Calama it’s a one-hour drive to San Pedro.

There are a number of kiosks on the arrivals terminal promoting bus transfers to San Pedro. A single fare is 15,000 CLP ($16.50 USD). If you happen to’re touring throughout the peak journey months (November via March), I like to recommend you pre-book a shared switch.

You can too hire a automobile in Calama and drive to San Pedro de Atacama, as we did.

Not up for flying? There’s a bus to San Pedro de Atacama from Santiago, however it takes a whopping 22 hours! Chile is a looooong nation.

You can too have a look at touring to or from San Pedro by bus from different South American locations. Excursions of the Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia typically end in San Pedro de Atacama, and there are buses from town of Salta, Argentina, that take 10 hours.

Recorrido and Busbud are the most effective locations to scope out routes and fares.

A hotel's courtyard with tables and chairs surrounding an adobe building.
I loved my keep at Casa Lickana in San Pedro.

The place to Keep in San Pedro de Atacama

San Pedro de Atacama is a comparatively small city. I like to recommend staying near Caracoles, the primary strolling road on the town, which is house to a lot of eating places, retailers, bars, and tour corporations. All the things is shut by once you keep close to Caracoles.

For that purpose, I chosen the top-rated motels in San Pedro which are near Caracoles:

Prime-Rated Luxurious Resort in San Pedro de Atacama: If you happen to’re joyful to splash out, you’ll recognize the distinctive Resort Desertica for its pool. Abode rooms are tricked out with pure supplies and have swanky non-public loos. 

Prime-Rated Mid-range Resort in San Pedro de Atacama: Casa Lickana B&B is the place I stayed and I’m joyful to suggest it based mostly on location, safety, and worth for cash! The rooms aren’t enormous, however they’ve non-public out of doors patios, and breakfast is included (together with sizzling dishes like scrambled eggs). The employees are beautiful and sort, although you shouldn’t anticipate any of them to know any English (which isn’t uncommon in Chile).

Prime-Rated Price range Resort in San Pedro de Atacama: La Casa del Pueblo Hostal is a fuss-free price range choice that gives economical double rooms and household rooms with both a personal or shared rest room. Breakfast is included within the value and rental bikes can be found.

Discover offers on locations to remain in San Pedro de Atacama right here.

A dirt road leading downward into a rocky canyon, with a rushing river and a surprising amount of vegetation surrounding it.
Descending into the canyon to go to the Puritama Scorching Springs.

Finest Time to Go to San Pedro de Atacama

It’s attainable to go to San Pedro at any time of 12 months. It’s warmest throughout summer time: that’s December, January, and February within the southern hemisphere! October, November, and March are finest for first rate climate, fewer crowds, and decrease lodging charges.

A really quick however fairly intense wet season happens in February. It brings a heavy onset of rainfall for per week or so close to city. Nevertheless, most components of the Atacama have by no means seen a drop of rain. (EVER! Significantly! How does life exist right here?!)

The winter months of June, July, and August are bone-chillingly chilly at evening, though they’ve the perk of clear skies and minimal crowds. That is additionally when you may see the Milky Method within the Atacama Desert.

Mornings, evenings, and nights within the Atacama are all the time chilly, however temperatures in San Pedro are blisteringly sizzling throughout the early afternoon. Sure vacationer spots are topic to colder/windier daytime circumstances always of the 12 months, like El Tatio earlier than daybreak, the place temperatures are sometimes beneath freezing. Bundle up!

Kate standing in front of a calm lake in the desert, wearing black satin cargo pants, a denim jacket, and a small hot pink pill-shaped purse hanging on her shoulder.
Me at Laguna Miniques within the Atacama Desert!

Is San Pedro de Atacama Price It?

Okay, I’ll be trustworthy with you — San Pedro de Atacama was value it for me personally, however I don’t assume it’s for everybody. The atmosphere is visually spectacular, however visiting this space entails a number of lengthy distance drives on tough roads to “simply have a look at issues,” as my husband put it.

The Puritama Scorching Springs and stargazing tour have been far more interactive, however he was proper — apart from these issues, there was a number of “drive two hours to a factor, take a photograph, and there’s nothing else to do there, so you allow.” That, on prime of the dryness, peeling lips, and altitude fatigue.

San Pedro is kind of a far distance from every part else in Chile, so when you’re not 100% set on visiting, you might need to contemplate whether or not your restricted time in Chile could be higher spent climbing in Patagonia, exploring cities within the Lakes area, or having fun with artwork and tradition in Valparaíso.

However when you love deserts, uncommon landscapes, images, and star-gazing, I believe you’ll love the Atacama! This actually is a particular a part of the world, and I’m so glad I bought to expertise it.

Extra on South America:

Have you ever been to San Pedro de Atacama? Share away!