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About San Pedro de Atacama

Including tips for the best time to visit San Pedro de Atacama

The world’s driest non-polar desert, San Pedro de Atacama attracts nature lovers with its otherworldly landscape of volcanoes, valleys and salt flats. Suited to both hiking and heritage seeking, it’s worth hiring a car to explore the luna dunes of the Rio Grande’s Moon Valley, the El Tatio Geyser and Peidra Rojas – a rocky viewpoint where you can enjoy panoramic views of the region. You’ll also find many natural lagoons, where you can float on the salty waters, mix with tourists and spot flamingos.

As one of Chile’s lesser known tourist destinations, San Pedro de Atacama’s ancient history is not something to pass up. First settled by the Atacamos people around the Puna de Atacama oasis, the Andes town was once a centre of artisan crafts like basketmaking and ceramics. Formerly part of Bolivia and the location of the Battle of the Rio Grande, examples of the region’s military history can be found at the Quito Fort while in modern times, Atacama has been associated with mining. Visit the abandoned 1930s boomtown of Chacabuco Nitrate to see preserved remains of shops and vehicles or spend your afternoons enjoying century-old churches and archeological sites within the town itself.

Compared to Chile’s capital, Santiago, San Pedro de Atacama can be difficult to get to, with the nearest airport approximately 100 kilometers away in Calama. Therefore, it’s worth planning your visit in advance to ensure you make the most of your time.

Tonight

From $52 per night

This weekend

From $104 per night

Next weekend

From $67 per night

Most popular time to visit October-December
Cheapest time to visit January-March
Local currency USD
Language Spanish
Average weekend price $9 per night
Average weekday price $7 per night
Average stay 3 nights

Points of interest in San Pedro de Atacama

Stay near the top sightseeing spots in San Pedro de Atacama

San Pedro de Atacama reviews

What other travelers say about San Pedro de Atacama

2.0

The property was completely unacceptable.

January 29, 2023

The property was completely unacceptable.  The ‘superior’ room was dark and dingy and small with a tiny shower. I don’t see how they could possibly say it is 35 sq meters, as comfortable size was our top criteria (maybe 20 sq meters at best). The pool was green, as it was ‘under repair’, another criteria. I emailed them 2 or 3 times after I booked with questions about the property and received NO reply. They do not speak any English, but at least they could have replied with translation. Yesterday when we were unhappy with the accommodations they translated that we would have to talk to booking.com to get any refund as you handled everything. Now you’re telling us that it is them that refused a refund. WHO is telling the truth here?? We could accept losing the first night, but the other 6 nights is just WRONG! Especially when it could be rebooked. The room and property was NOT as advertised. I have no idea how they rate 8+ out of 10. We use booking.com quite often and are very upset if I were to lose almost $1500.CAD. And according to management we will lose it ALL. This property was NOT as advertised. We couldn’t stay there at all. Lastly, we are seniors and were ripped off.

Dale
Dale Canada
10

We were there for 5 nights if booking again for.

January 22, 2023

We were there for 5 nights if booking again for. Scratch we would at least 7. There are a lot of tours to do & most really good Favourite tour was Piedros Rosa's . Antiplanic lagoons & salar as a must do the breakfast & lunch were superb

Patricia
Patricia United Kingdom
6.0

People seem to love San Pedro but I think it is over rated...

January 9, 2023

People seem to love San Pedro but I think it is over rated & over priced. the tours are exorbitant and then you pay extra for the entry to sites. Tours are tightly controlled and you can’t leave the group. Tour guides have little to no knowledge of geological formations which I found odd, except astrology tours those experts know their stuff. The highlight was definitely the 4 day tour to Salar uyuni and I can’t stress this enough, 1 day in San Pedro and then do the alto Plano tour (uyuni salt flat tour) into Bolivia. You see all the same stuff without all the rules & it is better and works out cheaper.

Rachael
Rachael Australia
8.0

The city has a different charm and is amazing to stay in.

December 28, 2022

The city has a different charm and is amazing to stay in. Choose the correct hotel as per your requirement of comfort. The main issue we faced was sightseeing. One day we rent a self drive - it was a 4 x 4 pick up drive and was terrible to drive. On top of that most of the places we drove to needed an online ticket, which was never informed to us, we didnt get to go in. The next day we booked a tour from one of the main vendors and were thoroughly disappointed. Choose your tour agent wisely. The chilean government needs to step in and rectify the wrongs to boost tourism.

Aditya
Aditya India
2.0

The hostel is a scam.

November 25, 2022

The hostel is a scam. We met several people who arrived and was told that their booking had mysteriously disappeared and that they would be able to move us to another hostel for the same price. Although the other hostel was nice there was no evidence of the hostel on the internet or the price of the hostel. When looking through the reviews it is clear that this has happened to multiple people.

Katie
Katie United Kingdom
8.0

It was strange that a paved highway suddenly turned into...

November 21, 2022

It was strange that a paved highway suddenly turned into dirt roads when you hit town, but that adds to its “quaintness”. The mud brick houses give a great atmosphere. The streets come alive at night and there are many fabulous restaurants- some with hidden outdoor courtyards. Just loved the place. But.. there are areas of dirt and squalor but these can be avoided. Advise you to get a SIM card before you arrive as you’ll never find your hotel.

Dieter & Sue
Dieter & Sue Australia

Popular places to stay in San Pedro de Atacama

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