San Pedro de Atacama

Get to know the landscapes of San Pedro de Atacama 

If you go to the north of Chile, you cannot miss San Pedro de Atacama, a town you will love. 

San Pedro de Atacama is a town located in the province of El Loa in the Antofagasta Region, 2,450 meters above sea level. 

Every year it receives hundreds of national and international tourists who seek to know the town that is characterized by its dirt streets and adobe houses.

Visit the Atacama Desert and in the Antofagasta Region you will find this magical place. 

It is worth touring its streets and surroundings! Plan your excursions with the tourist agencies and stay in the hotels in San Pedro de Atacama. 

Destinations to fall in love with

  • Church of San Pedro de Atacama

Located next to the Plaza San Pedro de Atacama. Every tourist who visits this place, takes a picture with this ancient church built in the seventeenth century. 

It is the most important architectural attraction of the town. In 1951 it was declared a Historic Monument. 

The church preserves an Andean style and is made of adobe. Its façade has a lime and colored earth finish. 

Every June 29th there is a celebration with typical dances to celebrate its patron saint, San Pedro. This is an ideal date to visit San Pedro de Atacama and learn a little more about its history. 

  • Death Valley (Valle de La Muerte)

Located in the Cordillera de La Sal is the Valle de La Muerte or Valle de Marte (only 2 kilometers from San Pedro de Atacama). 

Tourists who go to this place go sandboarding on the 150 meter high dunes. 

Why is it called this way? Human and animal bones have been found there, so it was believed that those who crossed the valley did not come out alive. 

  • Cejar Lagoon (Laguna Cejar)

A lagoon is very close to San Pedro de Atacama, its location is only 20 kilometers away. Its saline waters allow tourists to float involuntarily. 

The lagoon is an attraction for visitors, since most of those who arrive there bathe in the lagoon. 

To go to this place it is ideal to arrive in the afternoon and contemplate the sunset with the beautiful natural scenery that surrounds it. 

If you plan to go, you should bring your bathing suit and good footwear to cover your feet from the sharp stones on the shore. This way you avoid causing any injury to the sole of your foot. 

  • Valley of the Moon (Valle de La Luna)

Thirteen kilometers from San Pedro de Atacama is Valle de La Luna, specifically in the Los Flamencos National Reserve in the Domeyko Mountain Range. In 1982 it was declared a nature sanctuary. 

This place is attractive to tourists because of its dunes, valleys, salt hills, rock formations and sand. It has that name because of its beautiful landscapes very similar to the moon. 

If you go there you will be able to witness its geological forms and its rock sculptures and sand dunes. Many tourists go to the «mirador Cari» or Coyote Stone (piedra del Coyote), known by many for the beautiful view of the Moon Valley. 

  • Atacama Salt Flat

A wonderful natural landscape at 2,300 meters above sea level. It is the largest salt flat in the country and the third largest in the world. Its impressive geology and archaeological remains make it an unmissable place for tourists. 

Its richness in flora and wildlife are really impressive. Being there and walking along the trails that cross the salt flat allows you to dimension its immensity. 

  • Tara Salt Flat (Salar de Tara)

The Salar de Tara is located at more than 4 thousand meters above sea level. Like the Salar de Atacama is a destination you can not miss. 

The salt flat is very close to the border between Chile, Argentina and Bolivia. On your way you will come across the Cathedral of Tara, a huge rocky figure and the Monjes de Pacana, giant stones that mimic the silhouette of a monk. 

You are likely to see vicuñas, flamingos, foxes, llamas and domestic guanacos. The latter belong to some of the settlers who inhabit the sector. 

  • Miñiques Lagoon

Located 28 kilometers southeast of the Asian town Socaire is the Miñiques Lagoon.

A hidden treasure among volcanoes. It is one of the altiplanic lagoons along with the Miscanti lagoon (Laguna Miscanti). 

Miscanti and Miñiques lagoons have crystal clear waters, which if you are lucky to know, you can see the blue of the sky reflected on their surfaces. 

Here you will see foxes, flamingos and vicuñas. Very close by are the Piedras Rojas, another fascinating wonder of nature.   

  • Tatio Geyser (Geysers del Tatio)

These are located 90 kilometers from San Pedro de Atacama, at 4 thousand meters above sea level. In the early morning, the temperature drops, and can reach -20°C. 

To go to the Tatio Geysers you must go very early, around 6 or 7 in the morning to witness the spectacle of the geysers that expel water and steam from the depths of the earth, reaching 10 meters high. 

There are thermal pools where it is possible to bathe. If you go to the Tatio Geysers it is advisable to bring a bathing suit, warm clothes, sunscreen and plenty of water. 

Located 28 kilometers north of San Pedro de Atacama, are the Puritama Hot Springs with thermal waters. There are 8 pools with waters between 28° and 31° C, ideal for bathing and relieving discomfort caused by rheumatic diseases, fatigue and stress. 

Its waters contain sodium, boron and magnesium, minerals that revitalize and strengthen your body. Ideal for a relaxing panorama, 

To get to the hot springs you can take a private car tour. They are open from Monday to Sunday from 09:30 to 17:00 hours. 

These are some of the most visited places by tourists when they go to San Pedro de Atacama. We hope your stay will be pleasant and unforgettable. 

Plan your panoramas and organize the days you are going to be there. To visit these places, you should spend at least 3 days in San Pedro de Atacama and consider the altitude sickness, which affects many tourists who visit these places for the first time. 

How to avoid altitude sickness? 

Most of the destinations described above are above 2,000 meters above sea level. 

When planning your excursions, it is vital that you climb gradually. If you wish to visit the Tatio Geysers (which are above 4,000 meters above sea level), take a few days beforehand to get there. 

To prevent negative effects due to lack of oxygen, it is important to:

  • Hydrate yourself sufficiently.
  • Eat a bland diet.
  • Drink coca tea or chew a coca leaf. 
  • Avoid alcohol consumption and smoking. 

Without a doubt, San Pedro de Atacama and its surroundings are going to be an unforgettable experience. If you plan and organize your excursions you will be able to enjoy nature and its magnificent beauty.

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