Last July, I visited San Pedro de Atacama, Chile on my first trip to South America. I did research on the area before going, but I still had no idea what to expect. On the short drive from the airport in nearby Calama, I was instantly in awe over the landscapes. When we arrived in the little city of San Pedro, I fell in love with the narrow dirt streets packed with people and dogs, cozy restaurants with fires blazing and shops filled with artsy souvenirs.
After further exploration, I found this area in northern Chile was packed with endless nature sites. There are so many natural wonders and unique places to see. Our car even broke down and we missed our flight out, but it didn’t damper the wonderful time we had in this beautiful corner of the world. If I haven’t done a good enough job convincing you yet, here are 10 reasons you must check out San Pedro:
Valle de la Luna. I have to say this was probably what I was most excited about. It’s unlike any place I’ve ever been to, looking similar to the surface of the moon. Visiting at sunset was absolutely magical.
Valle de la Muerte. With its massive dunes and rocks, this is such a cool valley to walk through. If you go far enough back, you’ll find sand boarders gliding down dunes.
San Pedro’s town square. It’s a lovely place to get lunch and people watch (you’ll end up doing a lot of dog watching too). This was my favorite spot in the city and great for a break to sit down.
Geyser del Tatio. The geysers are a stunning site paired with a beautiful mountainous backdrop. There’s also a lot of wildlife in this area. We saw groups of alpacas and a cute lone fox.
Thermal pools. There are a few different spots with thermal pools. So take a dip and enjoy the soothing warm water with a great view to boot.
Lagoons. Get some sun and if you can bear the crisp, cold water, get on in. There’s something relaxing about this quiet and pristine part of northern Chile.
Salt Flats. These stunning expanses are unique sights that can’t be seen just anywhere in the world. They’re a geological masterpiece.
Stargaze. This area features some of the best starry nights I’ve ever seen. On a clear night, you can see an endless amount of stars lighting up the sky. It’s beautiful and romantic. Adobe, a restaurant in the heart of San Pedro, even has an opening in the roof perfect for an evening of great food and a wonderful starry view overhead.
Take a hike. You have endless options when it comes to hiking. Just be prepared for the weather conditions depending on what time of year it is.
Hit the road. No matter what direction you drive, you’ll be surrounded by beautiful mountains, unique rock formations and looming volcanoes. It’s such a perfect part of the world for a road trip.
Have you made it to San Pedro de Atacama or is it on your bucket list?