According to cachedhealth, San Pedro de Atacama is a tiny Chilean town located east of Antofagasta. It is famous primarily for its location. From here you can get to such incredible natural sights of Chile that will remain in memory for a lifetime. Due to the fact that getting here is not too easy, and even further and even more so, the town is visited more often by tourists from Chile than from other countries. But even so, San Pedro de Atacama remains one of the three most popular tourist destinations in the country (after Torres del Paine and Easter Island).
The most enticing sights that can be reached from San Pedro de Atacama are located on the territory of the huge Los Flamencos National Reserve: these are mountain lakes, Moon Valley, giant salt marshes and flamingo lakes. But even in addition to the park in the San Pedro region, there will be enough places to explore for more than one day. Geysers, prehistoric rock paintings, meteorites, settlements of ancient people, iridescent rocks, volcanoes and incredibly bright stars await travelers here. See healthinclude for Chile travel package.
Translated, “El Teisho” means “grandfather”, and this plateau is among the highest mountain valleys of geysers in the world. Plus, this is the largest geyser plateau in the Southern Hemisphere and the third largest in the world.
How to get to San Pedro de Atacama
Bus service connects San Pedro with Salta and Jujuy (Argentina). Several buses a day go here from Calama, travel time is about 1.5 hours. Travel by bus from Antofagasta – about 4 hours, from Arica – 12 hours. You can also drive from Santiago if you can stand it. The nearest airport is in Calama, where you can fly from the capital.
Chile is well known as a hitchhiker’s paradise. Getting to Calama in this way is easy from almost anywhere in the country; getting to San Pedro is more difficult, but quite possible.
Attractions and attractions of San Pedro de Atacama
The village is curious in itself, although its center is only two small blocks. Main street, Karacoles, pedestrian. And if you don’t find what you’re looking for within three blocks of her in any direction, chances are you won’t find it at all. Look into the small white church of San Pedro, built of adobe – bricks, mixed with straw. The church was built in the 17th century by the Spaniards and is considered the second oldest church in Chile.
In the Archaeological Museum of Gustavo Le Peuge you can see a collection of ceramics and pottery of the indigenous inhabitants of these places. The museum is not particularly large, but its collection contains about 380,000 artifacts from the pre-Columbian era related to the Atakameno culture. The museum is named after the founder, a Jesuit monk, and is run by the Catholic University. And in the northern part of the city, on Tocopilla Street, you can visit the Museum of Meteorites. It was discovered by a meteorite enthusiast and his wife. The museum tour is available in Spanish and English.
The city is located at an altitude of 2400 km, and many tourists here suffer from drowsiness and dizziness. In addition, the sun’s rays are quite harsh here, so precautions will not hurt.
Not far away, three kilometers from the town, is the pre-Columbian fortress of Pucara de Quitor. This is a stone terraced building, which is more than 700 years old, and it is listed as a national monument of the country. And in the south, 6 km from San Pedro de Atacama, is one of the oldest archaeological sites in the country, the settlement of Tulor. The oldest buildings on the territory of 5200 sq. m date from the period between 380 c. BC e. and 200 c. BC e. Here you can see characteristic round houses-huts, and it is better to hurry up with their inspection: Tulor is included in the list of 100 world monuments that are threatened with destruction.
3 things to do in San Pedro de Atacama:
- Buy baskets and ceramics in the style of atakameno in the museum shop.
- Go on an evening stargazing tour (organized by a local SPACE company, with a theoretical lecture, or on your own).
- Attend a two-day festival with dancing and a small parade on the main street. The first day, June 28, is dedicated to St. Peter, and the next day is dedicated to Paul.
About 80 km north of the village is the valley of geysers El Teisho. This is an amazing and almost mystical place in the Andes, at an altitude of more than 430 m above sea level. Translated, “El Teisho” means “grandfather”, and this plateau is among the highest mountain valleys of geysers in the world. Plus, this is the largest geyser plateau in the Southern Hemisphere and the third largest in the world: more than 80 geysers operate on the plateau. The average height reached by the streams beating from them is 75 cm, and the most powerful eruption exceeded 6 m. The most impressive sight of El Teisho is at sunrise, when each geyser is surrounded by a column of steam that forms while the air is still cold. More than 100 thousand tourists come to see this miracle every year.
Near El Teixo, in Puritam, there is a thermal spa that has been known to attack the stone for centuries. Today it is managed by the Explora Hotel. There are outdoor pools with wooden walkways and waterfalls. Saturated with sulfur compounds, water is useful for joint diseases and stress.
A hundred and a half kilometers from San Pedro de Atacama, there is the Miscanti lagoon and the adjacent Miniques lagoon, two mountain lakes at an altitude of 4200 m. The Miniques volcano and Mount Miscanti rise next to them. Heart-shaped Miscanti Lake opens to the traveler’s eye as a perfectly flat surface of deep blue, incredibly calm and lifeless. It is separated from the neighboring lake by an influx of lava that solidified here after the eruption. The lagoon is part of the Los Flamencos National Reserve.
Also on the territory of the reserve, in the Salar de Atacama region, there is a symmetrical stratovolcano Licancabur. The height of this powerful giant is 5920 m. The lower two thirds of the northeastern slope of the volcano belong to Bolivia, and the third part, the peak and the crater, belong to Chile. In a crater about 400 m wide, a lake about 80 m in diameter was formed, which is covered with ice for most of the year. This is one of the highest lakes in the world. Mountain hikers already have something to do in the vicinity of San Pedro: Mount Toko (5604 m) and Lascar volcano (5510 m) are considered the easiest to climb (day route), Pili Mountains (6064 m) and Seirekabur (5971 m) more difficult. But Licancabur is a real challenge for climbers. Although it does not surpass the above in height, it will take at least three days to climb to the top.
Vale del Arcoiris (“Rainbow Valley”) is about an hour from San Pedro. It is named so because of the amazing variety of colors of the local rocks. It is caused by different concentrations of salt in the rock. The panorama of the valley is amazing: a flat terracotta desert, framed by green-white-red mountains, among which there are extremely bizarre forms created by erosion. On the way to the valley, tourists pass a place where you can still see prehistoric petroglyphs depicting llamas, foxes, shamans and flamingos on the rocks.
The meteorological conditions in the Atacama Desert make it an ideal spot for stargazing. At a distance of about 50 km east of the town is the Llano de Chajnantor observatory group, which stands in the mountains of the Atacama Desert, at an altitude of more than 4800 m. Here is ALMA, a powerful radio telescope with a diameter of 12 and 7 m, which allows you to observe millimeter and submillimeter waves. ALMA began operating in 2011 and launched at full capacity in 2013. It is used to study distant galaxies, comets and the formation of new planets. This is an international project involving Europe, the USA, Canada, East Asia and Chile.