About San Pedro and its surroundings
San Pedro de Atacama – with its millenia old culture, fascinating history and its scenic position between the majestic Andes to the east, the beautiful Salt Mountain Range to the west and the Atacama Salt Flat to the south – has risen to a world tourism destination over the last decade.
Travellers from all over the world come to explore the breathtaking landscapes and ancient archeological sites that surround this little oasis in the Atacama desert.
Being located in the Precordillera (premontory) at the foot of the volcanoes of the Andes, life in the oasis unfolds around 2400 m.a.s.l. (7900ft) and is characterized by a unique mix of typical Chilean lifestyle and the millenia old Andean cultures of the Tiwanaku, Aymara and Incas.
Two rivers – San Pedro and Vilama – that are being fed from srpings in the mountains bring San Pedro the necessary water. Addiontally, every year between December and March the Bolivian winter (or highland winter) blesses the village with several afternoons of rain and impressive thunderstorms that often result in limitations of the turistic services in the area.
Popular excursions around San Pedro inlcude half-day or whole-day trips to the Geysers del Tatio, the Moon and Mars Valley, the Highland Lagoons, Hot Springs, Rainbow Valley and Salt Flats.
In addition to these standard (and sadly often quite massive) tours there is a variety of other activities that will leave the participant with a deeper and longerlasting impression and a completer understanding of the place, its pecularities and its culture and history:
Apart from the excursions by car tourists can explore the surroundings by bike, hiking or on a horse; within a day one can climb 5.600m high volcanoes, see the sunrise over the mountain ranges in a hot air balloon or get to know the local wineyards that produce organic altitude wine; archaeological tours offer an insight into the history of the Atacameñan land and its people and a handful of restaurants offer local dishes that have tradition in the patrimonial alimentation of the region.
If you are still in the process of planning your trip to San Pedro allow for more than just 2 or 3 days to be able to explore the many facets of this fascinating place that – with its 10.000year old history – sets the natural beauties of its surroundings into an enthralling historical context.