San Pedro de Atacama Highlights
After being recommended to go up to San Pedro de Atacama by almost everyone, we decided to alter our plans to make the big mission North to see what all the fuss was about. With a small pit stop in La Serena followed by a 16 hour bus ride and a flight to get us back to Santiago, our budget was looking well and truly pushed if not broken. But apparently it's a place not to be missed, sometimes you have to give allowances for those special sites. As a girl told me on the road, I don't want to regret not going somewhere just because money was the issue (obviously within reason – I'm looking at you Easter Island) and looking back it was the best decision we made.
We decided that this time around we wouldn't book a hostel in advance, we would just rock on up and find a good hostel and boy was this the wrong decision. After walking for what felt like miles, we were tired, sore and just over it. We actually ended up settling for a crappy hostel, whilst sitting on the bed, I turned to Ryan and realise I really just can’t stay here. So while slightly stealing their internet (REBEL) we found out that there was a place right NEXT door – seriously!!! So we said sorry to the owner and took a run for it next door and yes just the place we were after – La Casa Ecoexplor. The owner was welcoming and went out of her way to make us feel like a part of the family.
Our highlights of San Pedro de Atacama
Lagunas Altiplánicas and Piedra Rojas tour
If you have the budget for a tour this is the one to pick, it was our favourite activity we did in San Pedro. You can easily book your tour in town the day or two before, just make sure you shop around as the prices vary but the tours don't much. Thankfully when we went in low season so our tour only cost us $35,000 pesos ($75 nzd). Note: This price does not include entrance to the parks, which is $5,500 pesos, paid in cash to the park ranges.
Read all our about the tour in full here.
View the sunset looking over the unbelievable moon-like scene of Valle de la Luna – Moon Valley. You also get to dart through Valle de la Muerte rocky salt caves and see some amazing landscapes on the way. Note this is a very popular tour, even in low season there was people everywhere.
See all the magic of this place here.
Hit the streets by bike and take on the sites yourself. You can hire the bikes anywhere in the main centre from as little as $3000 peso for a half day but be aware of a bumpy ride, my butt hurt so much the next day I could hardly sit!
This town is sooo quaint, it is enjoyable just wondering around the city. From kids playing soccer, to the market selling handmade jerseys to , It's just great to take it all in. If you're too tired to walk, take a seat in the square or get a cup of coffee and have a good people watching session.
Things to note
Even though San Pedro de Atacama is a desert it gets freezing at night especially in low season so remember to bring your winter warmers.
Water water and more water, keep your liquids up, you are in the desert after all.
The same goes for sunblock and lip balm, the desert sun dries out your skin so kept reapplying.