San Pedro de Atacama is a little “touristic” village located north east of Chile, in the desert of Atacama, few dozens miles from Bolivia and the South Lipez desert.
San Pedro is very unique in it’s genre. Very hot at day time, freezing cold at night during winter, it has all sorts of tourism accommodations and services, right in the middle of the desert. The most popular touristic attractions there are day tours (in jeep) to reach dramatic piece of nature, bike rental to ride up to the moon valley or geyser located near-by the village, and star gazing.
Stayed in the Youth hostel, down the main street, cheap and convivial option, not highly recommended from my experience. It has loads of offers of all kind, if you want to stay 3 days or more, dig around. The village is about 3 streets and 6 or 7 blocks. Same for the restaurants, it was decent, they mainly concentrated in the main street of S.P (p.s: don’t get super enthusiasm if you see “peruvian” style Ceviche on a menu, not the same..)
The star gazing is amazing, you have cheap options. Notably, one guy very popular in town, who does it in its home 10min away from S.P. Hostels and agencies sell his tour, it last 2hours for 40’ooo C.P. The guy is super friendly, has two telescopes available, his explanations are clear and entertaining. the Nebula watching was an outstanding moment.
Atacama and Uyuny (South Lipez) have similarities in term of dramatic sceneries, both are a must do, but having done, or expecting to do Uyuni, don’t do all the tours in San Pedro. Rent a bike to watch the sunset in the Moon Valley (20-30min up hill ride from S.P) is fabulous, and personally, the red rocks tour was stunning for me.. not sure what the best time, but our guide went early to the red rocks site (Piedras Rojas) to avoid the crowd. The site was beautiful, the water color might have a bit more contrast later in the day. Anyway, the altiplanic lagoon after was the big moment for me, why, because i never such an intense color on water, a kind of metal blue. It was very precious to see it. The tour finishes by a visit in a Flamingo reserve where you can get as close as 5-6 meters from them.
Living costs are a bit more expensive in San Pedro that most part of Chile, due to its remote location and touristic attractions. Beside of the Moon Valley, most of the site are 30km or more away from S.P, so you need to take a tour, pretty pricy.. 20-40$ per tour more or less, not a thing that you can’t do for long, but some are worthit !!
You have a lot, but a lot of agencies in town, most of them in the main streets, do few, listen to your instincts, look the offer and pick-one.
Check-out this place, you will not encounter very often such an environment in a hand-reach.
Here a few pics 😉