Destination guide: San Pedro de Atacama, Chile
San Pedro de Atacama is an old village located in northern Chile, 105 kilometers from the city of Calama, in the middle of the Atacama desert. This oasis is the starting point for visiting several attractions, such as the hot El Tatio geysers, Moon Valley and Death Valley (the latter with its dunes, popular with sandboarders), the Atacama Salt Flat (home to beautiful flamingos), the Pukara de Quitor, the Puritama hot springs and the Padre Le Paige Archaeological Museum, as well as others.
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San Pedro de Atacama
They say the high quantities of quartz and copper in the region gives their people positive energy, and the good vibes of northern Chile’s number-one tourist draw, San Pedro de Atacama (elevation 2440m), are sky high. The popularity of this adobe precordillera oasis stems from its position in the heart of some of northern Chile’s most spectacular scenery. A short drive away lies the country’s largest salt flat, its edges crinkled by volcanoes (symmetrical Licancábur, at 5916m, looms closest to the village). Here too are fields of steaming geysers, a host of otherworldly rock formations and weird layer-cake landscapes.
San Pedro itself seems hardly big enough to absorb the hordes of travelers that arrive; it’s little more than a handful of picturesque adobe streets clustering around a pretty tree-lined plaza and postcard-perfect church. However, the last decade has seen a proliferation of guesthouses, restaurants, internet cafés and tour agencies wedging their way into its dusty streets The town has an addictively relaxed atmosphere and an enormous array of tours that can hook travelers for weeks. And at the end of every trip, there’s the comfort of a creamy cappuccino, a posh meal and a soft bed waiting in San Pedro.
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