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San Pedro de Atacama

Travel Guide South America Chile San Pedro de Atacama

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Introduction

San Pedro's small church...

San Pedro's small church...

© All Rights Reserved dbo

San Pedro de Atacama is a town in northern Chile and is one of the main hubs to visit the extraordinary beauty of the surrouding landscapes. It's a real tourist town, with all the amenities one desires (or not, depending on your taste!): luxurious hotels, small scale hostels, restaurants and a cold beer after a day in the desert.

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Sights and Activities

San Pedro itself hardly has to offer anything, although it's nice narrow streets with adobe structures and a nice church (Iglesia San Pedro) are a few small highlights. One exception is the Museo Gustavo Le Paige.

Still, the oasis village has most of its attraction elsewhere, starting outside the build-up area:

  • El Tatio Geyser;
  • Valley of the Moon (Valle de la Luna);
  • Laguna Chaxa, the biggest saltlake in the country, with numerous flamingos, including the Andean, James and Chilean species (three out of a total of five!);
  • Volcanoes like symmetrical Licancábur (5,916 metres high), clearly visible from town;
  • Altiplano in the Andes mountains;
  • Atacama Desert - the driest in the world and also one of the most scenic;
  • Termas de Puritama, volcanic hot springs en route to El Tatio Geyser.
Sunrise at the Geysers del Tatio...

Sunrise at the Geysers del Tatio...

© All Rights Reserved dbo

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Climate

It's located at more than 2,400 metres above sea level and although nights are generally cool to cold, days (even in winter) can still be hot during the afternoon. Temperatures rise quickly during the first hours of the day. Summers last from December to February when temperatures are usually between 25 °C and 30 °C, winters from June to August with around 18 °C to 24 °C. Nights during winter can plummit to -10 °C! Rain is almost absent, it's one of the driest towns in the world!

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Getting There

By Plane

El Loa International Airport near Calama is the nearest airport, where there are shuttle services to/from San Pedro de Atacama.
LAN Chile flies to/from Santiago, Antofagasta, La Serena and Iquique. Sky Airline flies to/from the places mentioned above plus Lima, Salta and Arica.

By Car

San Pedro is reached by well maintained tarmac roads from other Chilean cities, like Calama which is a few hours away. Roads to Argentina are also paved, but to Bolivia they are just partly paved, after which roads are rough and not recommended to travel with your own wheels.

By Bus

There are regular buses to Calama and overnight buses to Santiago (20-24 hours).
Arica and Antofagasta are among other places with (multiple) daily connections.
On Tuesday, Friday and Sunday, there are buses to Salta and Jujuy in Argentina, leaving at 11:30am and taking around 12 hours to complete the journey over the Paso de Jama in the Andes. The road is also completely paved.

Tour operators also offers multiple-day trips to Uyuni in Bolivia, visiting the Altiplano, Salar de Uyuni and lakes like Laguan Colorada.

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Getting Around

By Car

There are a few taxis, but they are pretty useless.

By Public Transport

Within the town, there is no need to take any transport other than your legs or bike.

By Foot

San Pedro itself is easily explored on foot in 30 minutes. If you go outside town, be sure to take other modes of transport.

Valley of the Moon 2

Valley of the Moon 2

© All Rights Reserved Taffski

By Bike

Bikes are for rent to explore the region.

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Drink

Most of the establishments mentioned above, have bars as well.

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Sleep

Budget

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
Hostal IquisaCalle Puripica 172Guesthouse76
Hostal SolorVolcan Tatio 737 Poblacion LicancaburGuesthouse-
Incahuasi B&BEl Carmen 132Guesthouse79
Rent a House San PedroDomingo Atienza 3a San Pedro de AtacamaApartment78
Hostal Laskar CaburLas Parinas 478GUESTHOUSE79
Hostal Campo BaseToconao 535Hostel87
Puripica HostelGuadalupe 446HOSTEL74
Hostal CandelariaCalle Candelaria 170Guesthouse79
Hostal Sumaj JallpaVolcán el Tatio 703Guesthouse80
Hostal VilamaLascar 346Hostel-
Hostal RuralCentro, Calle Calama 257HOSTEL84
Viento del NortePasaje Vilama 432-BGUESTHOUSE76
Backpackers San PedroPortal del Inca #486, CondeduqueHOSTEL78
Hostal MillantuAduana s/n Villa Alto MiradorGUESTHOUSE-
La Casa del Sol NacienteTocopilla 310HOTEL-
Towanda HostelIgnacio Carrera Pinto no633HOSTEL-
juriques hostalCalle Toconao EsquinaGuesthouse76
IncanorthSan Jose 443HOSTEL-
Hostal Tuyasto28 De Agosto 535HOSTEL86
Sol Atacama HostelIgnacio Carrera Pinto 664GUESTHOUSE76
Hostal Quinta AdelaToconao 624GUESTHOUSE-
Hostal MamutLas Parinas 471Apartment-
Mamatierra HostelPachamama 615HOSTEL84
Hostal TikaisyIgnacio Carrera Pinto 692HOSTEL-
hostallarucatoconao 513Hostel-
Hostal MasairiLos Tamarugos 147GUESTHOUSE-
Hotel PachamamaDomingo Atienza 352 San Pedro de AtacamaHOTEL-
Hostal TalarPachamama 657HOSTEL-
Hostal Atacama Tatai'sLas Parinas 471HOSTEL-
Cabañas Zamora de SolorCerro MIscanti 19APARTMENT-
Hostal Harickunturtocopilla 8f-aHOTEL-
Hostal LickanaCaracoles 140HOTEL-

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Keep Connected

Internet

There are cybercafes in every major and midsize city and at all tourist destinations. Some libraries are in a program called Biblioredes, with free computers and Internet. Wifi is getting more and more common. They're usually in metro stations, airports, malls, cafes, public buildings and several public spaces. Check for the ones that say gratis - for free. McDonald's and Starbucks are chains which almost always have free wifi.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The country calling code to Chile is: 56. To make an international call from Chile, the code is: 00. Emergency phone numbers include 131 (Ambulance), 132 (Fire) and 133 (Police).

Public phones located on streets are very likely to be tampered or vandalized, so it's better to use a phone located inside a commerce or a station. Prepaid cards for mobile phones and public phones are sold at most newspaper kiosks, supermarkets, gas stations, pharmacies and phone dealers. Mobile GSM networks are ubiquitous in all major cities and most of the territory of central and southern Chile. A basic prepaid cellular phone usually costs about 15,000 pesos, most frequently charged with 10,000 pesos worth of prepaid minutes. No ID is required to buy a prepaid phone. GSM SIM cards from ENTEL, Movistar or Claro are usually available for 5,000 pesos, but without credit, so you'll need to buy some prepaid minutes to be able to call. Money can be charged into a cellphone from some pharmacies (Ahumada, Cruz Verde and Salco Brand) on the counter and in cash, or by using a credit card through an automated service operator, with directions in Spanish or English.

Post

Correos de Chile is the national postal service, and although relatively slow it is reliable with post offices throughout the country. On the website you can find more information about prices to send letters, postcards and parcels, both domestically as well as internationally. Post offices are generally open Monday to Friday from 9:00am to 6:00pm and Saturday until 2:00pm, although there are sometimes longer opening hours in the bigger central post offices and shorter ones in small places. Ask around. If you want to send packages internationally, you might consider companies like DHL, TNT or UPS, which are fast, reliable and usually competitively priced as well.

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Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: -22.9198835
  • Longitude: -68.2098959

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This is version 15. Last edited at 9:12 on Feb 11, 14 by Utrecht. 7 articles link to this page.

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