The old Chilean town San Pedro de Atacama carries a vivid mixture of ethereal landscapes, ancient cultures, and welcoming locals that attract travelers from all over the world.
Everything you should know about this gem of a place – we’ve gathered in the following paragraphs.
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Where is San Pedro de Atacama located?
Dwelled at about 2.500 m above sea level, in the northern part of Chile, the small mudcap and serene San Pedro de Atacama greets millions of tourists every year.
The village is well-hidden in the driest desert on the planet, far away from the capital.
The good news is there are various ways to travel to this unearthly land.
How to get to San Pedro de Atacama?
The quickest (but surely not the cheapest option) is to take a flight from Santiago de Chile to Aeropuerto El Loa which is about 100 km (62 miles) away from San Pedro de Atacama.
There are 5 flights per days and the most affordable round trip tickets cost about CLP 120.000 (US$ 170).
Once there, you will easily find a couple of companies offering transfer services and the rate is CLP 6.000 (or US$ 10).
The bus trip lasts about 20 hours from Santiago de Chile to San Pedro. There are good service buses with semi-bed seats which makes the whole experience less dreadful.
Check out the following companies online: TurBus, Géminis, and Pullman Bus.
The last option which more and more tourists prefer is to rent a car in the capital and split the trip into two parts – Caldera (870 km) and then continue the next day directly to San Pedro de Atacama (900 kilometers).
The prices vary between $55-100 per day, depends on the season and the company you are booking with.
Where to stay in San Pedro de Atacama?
Even though there is a large choice of accommodations in this northern Chilean village, they could be a bit pricey as San Pedro is an entryway to Atacama’s most magical spots.
Some of the few budget places demand that solo travelers share a room in the busy summer period. Their prices start from $ 15 and go up to $ 30.
Three and four-star hotels (starting from $ 100 for a double room per night) are usually outside the center.
What to do in San Pedro de Atacama?
With this extraordinary landscape around, it is not surprising that this picturesque Chilean village has gained a tourist-hub status!
Hike in the unreal landscape of the Valle de la Luna
Make sure to explore the craters, caves, and other unearthly stone and sand formations in the Valley of the Moon.
This impressive range of color and texture, looking somewhat comparable to the moon surface, is a view you should not miss.
Spend an afternoon in the Laguna Baltinache
To hide from the hustle, this snowy white set of 7 wonderful saltwater lagoons (also known as Hidden lagoons) is a gem in the region we strongly recommend. And do you know that their waters are sometimes even saltier than the Dead Sea?
There are 2 options to visit Laguna Baltinache.
With an organized tour whose duration is about 5.5 hours and costs CLP 25 000 per person.
Go swimming on your own (just don’t forget to pay a small entrance fee in the CONAF house, where there are also toilets and showers to remove the salt).
However, keep in mind that the road is pretty bad so in case you don’t have a 4×4, it is better to go for the first option.
Try paragliding above the Atacama desert
Sneaking between the Andes and the Pacific ocean, Chile has always been considered a heaven for the paragliders.
While being in San Pedro de Atacama, you can try this activity out.
The tour prices vary between CLP 50 000 – 55 000 per person, depends on the company and the starting site you choose.
Walk to Pukará de Quitor
Build in the XII century, Pukará de Quitor (Fort of Quitor) dwells about 3 km away from San Pedro de Atacama.
This pre-Inca construction declared National Monument in 1982, was initially built for defense by the locals, call atacameño people.
Hint: Book your tour for Pukará de Quitor in advance especially in the high season.
Do you want to learn more about San Pedro de Atacama? Don’t hesitate to let us know so in the comment section below – we’ll give our best to help out.