San Pedro de Atacama

Here you’ll find travel reports about San Pedro de Atacama. Discover travel destinations in Chile of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

108 travelers at this place:

  • Day146

    We had originally planned to stay a little while in the north of Chile but a tour of the Bolivian salt flats became available and we took up the opportunity. This meant hot-footing it across to San Pedro de Atacama, a small town 240 kilometres east of Antofagasta and forty minutes from the Bolivian border. The town has a very different look and feel to the rest of Chile, largely because this was once part of Bolivia in the nineteenth century. It still has a nineteenth century feel to it with dirt roads, mud-brick houses and only a few street lights.

    We also noticed the change in altitude, as San Pedro sits at 2403 metres above sea-level. As soon as we got off the bus, we felt that we couldn't breathe as easily, and any physical exertion left us out of breath. So when we got lost trying to find our hostel, we were less than thrilled. Not only had we been travelling all day but we desperately wanted to find our accommodation before we collapsed, as we walked at a snail's pace, carrying our 15kg backpacks. We were also fast running out of time and daylight to get supplies and money for the three-day tour of the Bolivian salt flats the next day.

    We found the correct street of our hostel but trying to find the correct property wasn't so easy. The street seemed to go for miles from one side of town to the other. Normally hiking across town wouldn’t be a problem but with the change in the altitude and lack of sleep, the task seemed to be defeating us. Eventually, we were pointed in the right direction, which meant traversing back through familiar territory to get to our destination. We had changed directions because it appeared that the numbering of the houses were increasing. Who would have guessed that 19a came after 590!

    We had little time to explore San Pedro, although it felt like we had already walked all over the small town. While the town only has a population of about 4000 people, the population swells with tourists who are either about to go on a tour of the salt flats, like us, or have just finished a tour. We knew that we would have very little access to modern comforts, including clean, fresh water so we needed to stock-up. The small shops in San Pedro were no bigger than a broom closet with a small number of items on their selves. Once we had our supplies for our tour, we then needed to mentally prepare ourselves for 3 days without internet! We were also a bit worried about how we might handle a further increase in altitude. We were reassured that the tour guide would be carrying coca leaves, which would assist with altitude sickness. Nevertheless, images of mountaineers being pulled from mountains half-dead ran through our minds. Will the next stop be our last stop?

    Next stop: Salar de Uyuni and Uyuni.

    For video footage, see:
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  • Day61

    After having decided to go to Europcar the next day, we just decided to walk around the town. It was quite pleasant in the evening once the sun had set. The whole place is very touristic. Almost every house is rented to a tour agency and the rest are either restaurants or other tourist related activity shops like bicycle rentals and sandboarding rentals. We went back early and slept again.

  • Day61

    Around 8 am, we reached San Pedro de Atacama. We were quite tired after the night journey. We found a hotel (Hostal Nuevo Amanecer) just opposite the bus terminal for a decent price of 36000 CLP for a twin room. We checked in, freshened up and then went off to sleep.

  • Day61

    We slept soundly for about 6 hours amd woke up around 4 pm. After having a shower, we got ready to go out for some food and to find out about the various tour and car rental options.
    We found a canteen a few meters away from the hostel. They had a full meal with 2 courses of soup and main dish for a very reasonable price of 3600 CLP. They even had a vegetarian option of lentil soup and pesto pasta.
    After having the food, we went to the main street in San Pedro de Atacama about 200 mts away. The main street was a single storey mud brick houses. Every hous had been taken over by different tour agencies. We started asking around for the various tour options and their prices.
    We even went to the Europcar rental (the only car rental agency in Atacama), but they were closed by now. We also tried Wicked Campers but they too were closed.
    With nothing planned for the next day and noy having all the information needed to make a decision, we decided to just walk around the town and try Europcar nexy day morning before making a call.
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  • Day62

    We woke up around 8 am, got ready and then changed our hostel to Hostel Hara. It was 2000 CLP cheaper at 34000 CLP per night amd had excellent wifi. The room too was bigger and generally, it had much better space and facilities. Plus they had breakfast also included in the price. After that, we went to the Europcar office to enquire about the car rental. They didn't have any vehicles till Sunday (3rd Dec) except one for 1 day for 1st Dec. We were to be in San Pedro de Atacama till 4th Dec, so we decided to plan what to do over breakfast.
    We had the option to rent a car on 1 and 4 Dec and do the tours on 2 and 3 Dec and half of 30 Nov OR book tours for tge full duration. We figured it would be a bit complicated with multiple rentals and refilling every time etc. So we decided to go for the tours for all the days. That would cost us 160000 CLP per head for all the days after all the discounts etc that we had negotiated with the cheapest tour operator. We decided to go the Towanda tours and book the tours so we could start right from the afternoon with one of the half day tours.
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  • Day63

    From the main square, we walked over to the canyon with the freshwater just behind the village. Our bus was waiting there to take us back to San Pedro de Atacama.
    We were back in Atacama at about 6 pm. There we tried a drink called Mote con huesillo (It is a non-alcoholic beverage consisting of a sweet clear nectar like liquid made with dried peaches (huesillo) cooked in sugar, water and cinnamon, and then once cooled mixed with fresh cooked husked wheat (mote)). It was very refreshing. We went for dinner after that and slept early.Read more

  • Day64

    We woke up at 7 am and got ready for the 7:30 am pickup. The plan for the day was to go to the Rainbow Valley and the Hierbas Buenas petroglyphs in the morning and the Moon Valley in the evening on 2 different tours.
    We started the day by going to the Death Valley (Valle de la Muerte) to pick up some of our group mates from a hotel there. The valley has some amazing formations.

  • Day62

    Before we finalize the tours, we decided to check the Wickedcampers as well for the price and the option of renting it for the North Argentina leg of the trip. Their location was as hep as expected. Tge vans were as cool as expected. The prices were on the higher side when including all the taxes and charges but quite reasonable if we slept in the vans and reduce the charges we would save on the hostel stays. We decided to try it out for a week for the Argentina part of the trip so we assess if we could use it for longer periods in Patagonia in the South. The cost would be about 550000 CLP for 7 days. All the vans could be converted to have tables behind to sit or remove the table and convert it to a bed for 2. The rental included 3 thick mattresses, a water sink in the back, a stove to cook also in the back and utencils and cutlery for 2 people and 2 foldable chairs and a table to sit out. Perfect for the 2 of us. They also waived off the 4% service charges and the cleaning charges of 25000 CLP. On top of that, they had a scheme going on that if we take a almost naked picture with the van in some exotic location, we would get further 20000 CLP discount.
    We booked them for a week starting from 5th Dec to 11th Dec for the North Argentina leg of the trip.
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  • Day64

    We were back in San Pedro de Atacama by 1:30 pm. We went to the Wickedcampers office to book the van for the Argentina part of the trip. After that we had about two hours before the afternoon tour to the Moon Valley, so we went to find the French bakery we had been told about to have our lunch.
    The bakery turned out to be a damp squib. Much noise about nothing. They didn't have much to eat besides a few empanadas and breads. We had empanadas with juice. The food was nothing special and quite expensive and the waitresses were very insistant about their tips. Not a place worth going at all.Read more

  • Day65

    We reached back in San Pedro de Atacama by about 4 pm. The lunch was included in our tour today so the guide took us to a nice restaurant in the town. The food was nice and we enjoyed conversing with our companionship since the morning. It was a lovely end to a great day.
    We walked back from the restaurant to our hostel, but not before trying out some local flavors at the ice-cream shop. 😉😉

You might also know this place by the following names:

San Pedro de Atacama, Σαν Πέδρο ντε Ατακάμα, サンペドロ・デ・アタカマ, 산페드로데아타카마, San Pedro de Atakama, Сан-Педро-де-Атакама, 聖佩德羅德阿塔卡馬

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