San Pedro De Atacama is a town in thev Antofagasta province in Chile. Its location, more than six hours from the coast and the city of Antofagasta, is both a curse and a blessing. Residents can never rest easy knowing that the ground beneath and the volcano above are so volatile. But it also creates a diverse landscape of immense beauty. The Licancabur volcano looms over San Pedro, with a frozen lake in its summit crater at 20,000 feet. You will find a lunar landscape zone, lagoons, hot springs, and geysers in the vicinity. There also are some archeological sites. This is a vast place, and if you intend to visit, you will need to get a car for hire in San Pedro De Atacama.
First of all, the Licancabur volcano, part of the Andes Mountains, is almost 20,000 feet high, so this is not a picnic or a walk in the park. You have to get a car for rent in San Pedro De Atacama to reach Licancabur, which is about 18 miles east on the Chile- Bolivia border area. Then you have to ascend to the base camp at 14,000 feet or the intermediate camp that is above 15,000 feet. Visitors can join excursions to the volcano summit from either of these camps. It is a fascinating place, well worth all the trouble. You will find Inca ruins at the summit and a large crater lake which is frozen in the winter.
Apart from the archeological museum, the Church of San Pedro is the only other notable attraction actually inside the town. The rest are all nearby, including the Valley of the Moon in the Cordillera de la Sal. Pink flamingos can be seen at the Chaxas Lagoon in the Salar de Atacama. The El Tatio Geysers blow their tops right on schedule in the Los Andes Cordillera. You must take a dip in the volcanic Puritama hot springs at the Hotel Explora – you can pay an entrance fee if you aren’t staying there. Other must-visit attractions include Death Valley, the Pukará fortress ruins, and the 3,000 year old village of Tulor.
San Pedro is a popular destination in Chile, with more than 25 hotels for travelers with different budgets. The aforementioned Hotel Explora and others such as the Awasi and Tierra Atacama clock in as the high-end luxury hotels. The mid-range accommodations include the Atacamadventure Wellness & Ecolodge and the Hotel Altiplanico. There are many more at the lower end below $100, but do not expect all the comforts of home. You may also opt for cheap hostels like Hostal Candelaria and Hostal Campo Base.
One good thing about being in San Pedro is that both the Bolivian and Argentinean borders are not so far off. Book your car rental in San Pedro De Atacama and plan for cross-border trips to Salta in Argentina or to the border town of Ollague , which is yet another volcano site on the Chile-Bolivia border. If you prefer the Chilean coast, then you can head past Calama towards Tocopilla , and then follow the coast to Antofagasta or go west towards Iquique.
16 September 2019
13°C / 20°C
17 September 2019
15°C / 21°C
18 September 2019
11°C / 25°C
19 September 2019
10°C / 24°C