SAN PEDRO DE ATACAMA
After traveling approximately 2 hours from the airport of Loa (Calama), I had a very pleasant encounter with San Pedro de Atacama, located at 2,407 meters above sea level (for which, I recommend taking lots of water and eating lightly in the first days ).
It is a step back in time, with the comforts of a small town, showing its colonial ancestor; with its narrow streets full of restaurants, small businesses, fairs where the craftsmanship of the different communities is shown and of course how to forget its beautiful adobe church.
At night the atmosphere is cozy restaurants and bars with their stoves. I managed to visit really exotic and interesting places.
Its landscapes, which only the Atacama desert can offer with its orange, red, yellow and ocher colors, vary according to the time of day.
My safety pins are:
Archaeological Tour, it is impressive to be able to transport yourself to the past of the Atacameña or Licán Antai cultures, in Pucará de Quitor you will be able to appreciate the stone constructions. The village of Tulor is the oldest settlement of the Atacameña culture, which was preserved under sand for centuries. Valley of the Moon and Death, near San Pedro, you come across a film landscape, from what I have seen, it is the closest thing to the lunar surface. It is a must-see geological spectacle.
Tatio Gysers Tour, it's worth the trouble to get up at 04:00 a.m., in order to get to this incredible place, which is about 4,000 meters above sea level (the temperature can reach 2 ° below zero) or less). During the trip you will be able to enjoy the sunrise in the Cordillera de los Andes, to access and admire the different fumaroles and pools of boiling water with their indescribable colors in the Tatio. Also, they serve you breakfast in this beautiful landscape !!! On the way back, you make a stop in the town of Machuca with its adobe and straw constructions. (You can try the Llamo ... if you're not vegan !!)
Lagunas antiplánicas, being in the middle of a salar is a unique feeling and being able to observe nature, how it survives in such a hostile environment, together with breathtaking views. You can also admire the wonderful Flamingos, who live in the lagoons that form within the Salar de Atacama. For me to reach Miscanti and Miñiques (4,200 meters above sea level) it was a feeling of peace and tranquility. On the way back we passed through Toconao a pretty town with its beautiful bell tower. If you have the opportunity do not miss the astronomical tour and visit ALMA observatory which is open for those who want to know its facilities on Saturdays and Sunday mornings upon registration.
See the cosmos so clearly, it is a unique experience, in a unique desert !!!