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San Pedro de Atacama

In the Chilean desert

sunny 20 °C
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San Pedro de Atacama is located in the Atacama Desert in the North of Chile. It is a very small village and I think there are more tourists then locals there. Almost every building that is not a hostel is a tour agency, a restaurant, a café or a shop.

There are many tours one can do from San Pedro, to hot springs, geysers or lagoons. However, since I had seen all of these things before, I did not want to spend more time and money on these tours. I therefore decided to only take the tour to the Valle de la Luna. This part of the desert has a similar surface to the moon, hence the name. It was a beautiful area and we saw an amazing sunset.
Valle de la Luna tour

Valle de la Luna tour

Valle de la Luna tour - Las Tres Marias

Valle de la Luna tour - Las Tres Marias

Valle de la Luna tour

Valle de la Luna tour

Valle de la Luna tour

Valle de la Luna tour

Sunset in the Valle de la Luna

Sunset in the Valle de la Luna

The next day I rented a bike and went exploring on my own. I rode to the Pukará de Quitor, the ruin of a pre-Inca fortress, where there is also a mirador from which you have amazing views over the whole area.
Around San Pedro de Atacama

Around San Pedro de Atacama

Catarpe valley

Catarpe valley

I cycled on to the valley Catarpe, where I had to cross rivers and ride through sand, not the easiest bike ride I have done… You can imagine what I looked like afterwards, wet, muddy, tired, but luckily not sunburnt. I rode my bike to the Quebrada del Diablo, an impressive canyon, which is really narrow in places, so that it reminded me a little bit too much of the movie 127 Hours which we had just watched in Sucre…
Catarpe valley

Catarpe valley

Quebrada del Diablo

Quebrada del Diablo


After I had cleaned myself up, I went on the Star Tour that night. The tour brings you to an observatory where a guide first explains a lot about the stars, planets, galaxies, constellations etc. Really interesting! Especially since I did not know much at all about the stars. You then get the chance to look through several telescopes, in which can see single stars, groups of stars, galaxies, and even the moon and Saturn! Through one of the telescopes you can (or rather the owner can for you) take a photo of the moon. The last part of the tour you spend inside the house, drinking a hot chocolate (or tea, but who wants that if you can have a really good hot chocolate ;) ) and having your questions answered.
I enjoyed this tour a lot and was happy that I was recommended it because otherwise I would never have heard of it.
Photo of the moon

Photo of the moon

The next day I planned to spend in San Pedro, using the internet, sorting my things out a bit and getting the bus to Arica at night. However, my plans were slightly changed by the fact that the hostel told me in the morning that I was not allowed to stay inside the hostel after check out and that they cannot even store my backpack till the evening. I had never had this in a hostel before, so I was quite surprised and obviously really annoyed. I went then, together with a German who wanted to take the bus to Arica that night too to buy a bus ticket and find somewhere that would store bags. We tried at the bus company, but they said that they do not have facilities for luggage storage. What to do now? We could not carry our backpacks around all day, especially since he wanted to rent a bike that morning. Luckily, the bike rental company agreed to store our backpacks until the night! As I was not allowed to be inside the hostel anymore, I spent the day in the plaza (where luckily they have free wifi in San Pedro) and in a café where they had internet.

Posted by sarahm_lux 12:46 Archived in Chile Tagged san_pedro_de_atacama valle_de_la_luna pukara_de_quitor catarpe

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