From the Andes Mountains to high desert lagoons, these are the very best things to do in San Pedro de Atacama. The Atacama Desert was our preferred location to check out in Chile. Found in northern Chile, linking Bolivia and Argentina in South America, the Atacama Desert is the driest non-polar desert on the planet and numerous tourists make their method to the town of San Pedro de Atacama to delight in all of the fantastic adventures in this amazing location. We went to the Atacama Desert with Exodus Journeys and found all the highlights with the aid of our reliable guide, Alex.
Things to do in San Pedro de Atacama
The Atacama Desert is the greatest and dryest non-polar desert on the planet. It is understood for its lunar landscape and natural appeal. With a range of surfaces consisting of salt flats, geysers, and lagoons, Salar de Atacama is among the most striking locations we have actually ever gone to.
Tours and journeys can be scheduled to the desert from San Pedro de Atacama, and while visiting this area of Chile, you will likewise have the possibility to immerse in its culture as it is a center for native neighborhoods. The town is a popular location for backpackers and brave tourists who have an interest in experience, nature, and history, and there are numerous things to do in the location. Here are some recommendations for things to do in San Pedro de Atacama.
Where is San Pedro de Atacama
The Atacama Desert lies in the northern half of Chile in between the Pacific Ocean, to the west, and the Andes Mountains, to the east. This 1,000-mile strip of desert, is the greatest non-polar desert plateau on the planet. (Antarctica is the driest put on earth if you are questioning) and San Pedro de Atacama is a town situated in the heart of it near the Bolivian Border. San Pedro de Atacama is where everybody makes a base to do desert adventures and this cool town is a location in its own right. With dining establishments, hotels, trip business, and stores, it produces a wonderful base to see whatever in Salar de Atacama.
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1. Laguna Chaxa
Seeing the flamingoes of Chaxa Lagoon was the very first stop on our trip and it was an excellent one! As part of the Los Flamencos National Reserve, Chaxa Lagoon is the very best location to see flamingoes. 3 types of flamingoes regular the salt swimming pools to feed upon salt water shrimp. The setting is what makes this stop so amazing.
Rocky courses weave through salt lagoons surrounded by layers of colors resulting in the Andes Mountains. Flamingoes fly from one swimming pool to another and after that gradually roam in the still waters with their reflections amazing in the background of the surrounding volcanoes. From the white salt deposits to the pink colors of the desert, this is a location you’ll wish to take out your electronic camera.
There are 3 primary lagoons in Sector Soncor with the Chaxa lagoon being the very best location to find Andean and Chilean Flamingoes. The lagoons lie at a high elevation of 2300 meters (over 7500 feet)
Chaxa Lagoon is 2 hours from San Pedro de Atacama and you’ll invest a minimum of an hour taking pleasure in the strolling routes that weave through the lagoons.
2. Check out the Valle de la Luna (Moon Valley)
The Valle de la Luna is a distinct landscape that lies simply 13 km (8 miles) beyond San Pedro de Atacama. It is called the Moon Valley due to the fact that of its resemblance to the surface area of the moon however it actually looks more like the surface area of Mars with its red rocks and red dunes.
Likewise situated within the Los Flamencos National Reserve, this is among the leading locations to check out in the Atacama to see the Mars Valley. With its rocky surface and uncommon rock developments. In reality, NASA checked its Mars Rover in the Atacama due to the fact that of its comparable landscape and environment.
3. Walking Duna Mayor
The valley is a fantastic location to go hiking, and there are numerous routes that lead through the location. You can likewise check out the valley at sundown for some stunning views of the surrounding mountains. Treking Duna Mayor is an exceptional brief walking to unbelievable vistas. The walking has to do with 20 minutes out and takes you along a narrow path ignoring high dunes and out-of-this-world rock developments.
The most remarkable sight was the Moon Valley Amphitheatre. We had the clearest view of it strolling back along the high trip on the Duna Mayor trek. It advised us a lot of Wilpena Pound in South Australia.
4. Mirador Lickan-Antai
There are numerous miradors to enjoy the sundown in Valle de La Luna and we made certain to pop into all of them for the very best views. With Exodus Journeys we were ruined and taken pleasure in a glass of white wine with cheese as we neglected the amazing views from Mirador Lickan Antai. This is a charming stop off the side of the roadway if you are biking, self-driving or have actually worked with a guide. You can trek out for much better views of the desert landscapes.
5. Las Tres Marias Valle de La Luna
If you are trying to find those images that catch the Salar de Atacama, a stop at Las Tres Marías is where you’ll see the popular rock developments of the Atacama Desert. The salt flat of the Atacama Desert is far various from the Bolivian Salt Flats. See what the salt flats in Bolivia are everything about at A Bolivia Salt Flats Trip in Uyuni: Whatever You Required to Know
Considering That it is such a dry desert (some locations just see rain every 100 years!) you do not get the glass-like views and trick-of-the-eye images as you perform in Bolivia, however this is the location where you can have fun with scale and scope a bit. The path is a brief 15-minute walk.
6. Sundown from Mirador de Kari Piedra del Coyote
Among the very best things to do in San Pedro de Atacama is to enjoy the sundown from Mirador de Kari Piedra del Coyote. Found outdoors Valle de La Luna, this is the very best location for sundown due to the fact that you require to be out of the valley by a specific time. Considering that you can not remain in the Valle de la Luna after sundown, this mirador has the bulk of travelers viewing the sun decrease in the Atacama Desert.
It is a gorgeous view with the sun developing shadows and depth on the rocky valley flooring as the high mountains sparkle with color surrounding the huge desert.
7. Go To the El Tatio geysers
The El Tatio geysers are a group of geothermal springs that are the greatest geothermal location on the planet. A check out to the geysers occurs at dawn, and while it is an early and cold trip, this is one location in the Atacama Desert that you do not wish to miss out on.
The El Tatio Geysers have to do with a two-hour drive from San Pedro de Atacama. We were gotten well prior to daybreak and hopped in the van for a nap prior to going out in the vigorous air. It was -13 degrees Celcius at the geysers so make certain to layer up with gloves and a hat. The geysers are most active at dawn when the water is at its most popular (and air at its coldest), and they produce steam and warm water that can reach temperature levels of approximately 100 ° C.
It takes about 90 minutes to walk the geysers along the designated stone courses and while not rather as remarkable at the Geysers of Yellowstone, these are the 3rd biggest geothermal locations in the world so they should not be missed out on! Learn more about the Yellowstone Geysers at The Vital Guide to Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone
8. Lagunas Miscanti and Miñiques
Have you ever questioned what it resembled to stroll at high elevations however do not wish to trek for days to arrive? Well, a see to the high-altitude lakes (The Lagunas Altiplanicas) of Miscanti and Miñiques will suffice. We drove straight to an elevation of over 4000 meters (13,000 feet) to stroll from the stunning lakes of Miscanti and Miniques.
Normally, you would require to travel for days to get to this elevation. The still deep blue waters stand out and it is stunning to be standing at 4000 meters with the 2 high volcanoes towering overhead. It was difficult to think that the Volcano right prior to our eyes was greater than Mount Kilimanjaro. The 2 volcanoes that frame the lagoons are (5,622 meters (18,445 feet)) and Cerro Miñiques (5,910 meters (19,390 feet))
9. Spy on Vicuñas
The lagoons are linked by a path of rocks and you’ll have the ability to see wild vicunas wandering the landscape. These animals relate to the llama and el paca households and are now safeguarded. These vicunas are difficult to domesticate so to get their sought-after wool, they round them approximately shave them just as soon as every 3 years.
10. Go stargazing
San Pedro de Atacama lies in a location with extremely little light contamination or rainfall, that makes it a perfect location for stargazing and trips can be scheduled for around $50 to see the night skies all around San Pedro de Atacama. There are numerous business that use stargazing trips in the location that you can schedule in San Pedro de Atacama. Our trip was an include on with Exodus Journeys.
The clear, dry air of the Atacama Desert permits exceptional presence of the stars, worlds, and the Galaxy. Since of the low humidity, high elevation, and low light contamination, it is a location for astronomers to study the skies, and numerous business from worldwide have researchers studying its dark skies. San Pedro de Atacama is popular for Astro-tourism and you can not miss out on doing this trip. I actually didn’t believe I ‘d be satisfied, however I liked listening to the stories of our guide as he mentioned constellations prior to having us check out the enormous telescopes at Saturn, Mars, and Pluto.
We browsed those enormous telescopes at stars and worlds up until the wee hours of the early morning. Our guide was so gung ho that long after other trips left, we remained checking out the night up until 2 am!
No mobile phone or video cameras are permitted, however Dave went off on his own to take some night images and the business we opted for was kind sufficient to provide images of our experience. This is among the most popular adventures in the Atacama Desert.
You can likewise check out the ALMA Observatory, which lies about 50 kilometers beyond San Pedro de Atacama. The observatory is house to the biggest selection of radio telescopes on the planet, and
11. Base on the Tropic of Capricorn
There is something unique about crossing among the 5 significant circles of the earth. For instance, when taking a cruise, each guest gets a certificate that they crossed the equator. When going to the Atacama Desert, we had the possibility to base on the Tropic of Capricorn. The Tropic of Capricorn has to do with 60 km from San Pedro de Atacama. It’s a little and brief stop, however extremely cool to stand at the location that is the most southerly latitude where the sun can appear straight overhead at midday. Cool eh?
12. Check out the Town of Tocanao
Besides San Pedro de Atacama, there are a couple of towns in the Atacama Desert. If you wish to do some shopping, the town of Tocanao is an excellent stop. We purchased some fashion jewelry and bags for simply a couple of dollars. Found 38 km from San Pedro de Atacama, many trips will stop here for a minimum of thirty minutes to an hour to support the regional neighborhood. The most noteworthy structure in the town is the belfry which was integrated in 1750.
13. Church of Socaire
Socaire is another drop in the Atacama Desert that is an excellent option for lunch. Our guide called ahead to buy standard stew. The piece de resistance in this town is the Church of Socaire. This rustic church with a thatched roofing system lies in an attractive setting simply off the side of the roadway.
14. Check out the Salar de Tara
The Salar de Tara is a big salt flat situated within the Los Flamencos National Reserve of the Atacama Desert beside beside Piers Rojas (The Red Rocks). It is the 3rd biggest salt flat on the planet, and it is house to a range of plant and animal life. The Salar de Tara is a fantastic location to choose a drive, as there are numerous dirt roadways that lead through the location. You can likewise check out the salt flats on a trip, which will take you to a few of the very best areas for photography and sightseeing. Learn more at: Salar de Tara an Amazing Journey in the Atacama Desert
15. Salar de Talar
Another salt flat in the Atacama is the Salar de Talar. Found at 3900 meters, Salar de Talar is 46 square km that you can see en route to Laguna Miscanti. We didn’t check out the salt flat, however we did stop on the side of the roadway numerous times for views of the valleys listed below. The excellent feature of taking an arranged trip is that our regional guide constantly understood where to stop to see the leading sights of the Atacama Desert.
16. Valle de la Muerte (Death Valley or Mars Valley)
Valle de la Muerte is called so due to the fact that it is among the harshest places in the world. In the previous those animals (and human beings) who attempted to cross died in the unforgiving conditions. No plants, animals or perhaps pests can make it through in Death Valley.
Likewise called Mars Valley, this is a fantastic stop for backpackers or those aiming to check out by themselves. Found simply 2 km from San Pedro de Atacama this is an excellent stop to see the rocky landscape with desert dunes and odd developments offering a taste of that Mars surface that we spoke about previously.
16. Rainbow Valley– Valle del Arcoiris
Throughout the Atacama Desert, the rainbow colors of the landscape are among the most remarkable websites. However there is in fact a location particularly called Rainbow Valley. Valle del Arcoiris has to do with 90 minutes from San Pedro de Atacama which can be scheduled on a day trip. It showcases the layers of colors reminiscent to Rainbow Mountain in Peru. While there you can see the 10,000-year-old petroglyphs of Yerbas Buenas.
17. San Pedro de Atacama
Well, this whole short article has to do with the adventures from San Pedro de Atacama, so let’s stop and speak about this stretching desert town situated in northern Chile. San Pedro de Atacama has that common backpacker ambiance with lots of dining establishments and stores. There are numerous hotels in the area and it is a fantastic location for dining. You can schedule any outing you want from town and it has a cool easygoing ambiance that makes it ideal for relaxing for a couple of days.
There are numerous things to do in San Pedro de Atacama without leaving town.
Meteorite Museum– While walking San Pedro de Atacama, make a stop at the Meteorite Museum which lets you in fact touch stones from out of this world, R. P. Gustavo Le Paige Archaeological Museum– t is devoted to the archaeology and history of the Atacama Desert. The museum has a collection of artifacts and shows that display the native cultures of the area, consisting of the Atacamenian, Inca, and Mapuche cultures. Shopping– This is a wonderful town for shopping. The artist’s neighborhood of Pueblo de Artesanos is an excellent location to get Andean keepsakes from ponchos to blankets.
How to Get to San Pedro de Atacama
By air: The nearby airport to San Pedro de Atacama is the El Loa Airport, which lies in the city of Calama. The airport is served by numerous significant airline companies, consisting of LATAM and Sky Airlines, and there are flights to and from Santiago in addition to other cities in the area. From the airport, you can take a taxi or a bus to San Pedro de Atacama, which has to do with a 45-minute drive from the airport.
By bus: There are numerous bus business that run routine service to San Pedro de Atacama from significant cities in Chile. The bus journey from Santiago to San Pedro de Atacama takes about 23 hours, and there are numerous various classes of service offered, consisting of semi-cama (semi-bed), cama (bed), and VIP. The buses leave from Terminal Alameda in Santiago, and tickets can be bought online or at the terminal.
By vehicle: If you choose to take a trip by vehicle, you can drive to San Pedro de Atacama from Santiago or other 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 car due to the rough surface of the Atacama Desert. You can likewise lease a vehicle in Santiago or Calama, and there are numerous vehicle rental business that run in the area. Have a look at vehicle leasing rates here.
By trip: If you choose to take a trip with a directed trip, there are numerous business that use trips to San Pedro de Atacama from Santiago and other cities in Chile. The trips typically consist of transport, lodging, and activities, and they are an excellent alternative for tourists who wish to view as much of the area as possible.
No matter how you pick to get to San Pedro de Atacama, it is necessary to prepare your journey beforehand and to be gotten ready for the special conditions of the Atacama Desert. The town has a dry, dry environment so stock up on water and make certain to wear light-weight clothes that will safeguard you from the sun and heat. Oh, and be prepared to be covered in sand. There is a great deal of sand.
Where to Remain In San Pedro de Atacama
San Pedro de Atacama is the primary center to check out the Atacama Desert of Chile. There are numerous alternatives for lodgings. Here are some recommendations for where to remain in San Pedro de Atacama:
Hotels: San Pedro de Atacama has a range of hotels to pick from, varying from spending plan to high-end. We remained at Hotel Diego Del Almagro which has among the very best places in San Pedro de Atacama. The hotel spaces are standard, however you can’t be the area. Found right in the center of the city, it was within strolling range to whatever. If you are driving, it has complimentary parking for visitors and a pool. Some other popular alternatives consist of Hotel de Larache, Hotel Atacama, and Hotel Casa de Don Tomas. These hotels use a variety of features, consisting of swimming pools, dining establishments, and health spas, and they lie in the center of the town, near the primary square and the primary traveler destinations. Hostels: If you are taking a trip on a spending plan, there are numerous hostels in San Pedro de Atacama that use inexpensive lodging. Some popular alternatives consist of Hostal La Casona, Hostal Atacama, and Hostal El Descanso del Viajero. These hostels use shared dormitories and personal spaces, and they typically have typical locations, such as kitchen areas and living spaces, where you can fraternize other tourists. Outdoor camping: If you choose a more outside experience, there are numerous camping areas around San Pedro de Atacama. Popular alternatives consist of Outdoor camping San Pedro de Atacama, Outdoor Camping La Duna, and Outdoor Camping El Molle. These camping areas use standard centers, such as toilets and showers, and they are an excellent alternative for tourists who wish to be close to nature. Leasing a villa: If you are taking a trip with a group or desire more area and personal privacy, you can think about leasing a villa in San Pedro de Atacama. There are numerous alternatives offered, varying from houses to homes, and you can discover trip leasings on Vrbo. Leasing a villa can be an excellent alternative if you wish to have your own kitchen area and living area, and it can likewise be more affordable if you are taking a trip with a group.
No matter where you pick to remain in San Pedro de Atacama, it is necessary to schedule your lodging beforehand, particularly throughout the high season, which ranges from November to March. The town can get extremely hectic throughout this time, and it is best to schedule your lodging as early as possible to guarantee that you belong to remain. It is likewise an excellent concept to look into the area of your lodging, as some locations might be further from the center of the town or the primary traveler destinations.
From its unbelievable salt flat to rolling desert dunes, San Pedro de Atacama is among the very best locations to check out in South America. When you go to Chile, make certain it is contributed to your travel plan. It’s a journey that will develop memories to last a life time.