1. San Pedro de Atacama

A quaint Chilean town in the Atacama Desert, San Pedro de Atacama is populated by mudbrick buildings no taller than two stories. Steaming geysers, massive salt flats, and otherworldly rock formations can be found less than two hours away from San Pedro.

Upon reaching San Pedro, the imposing Licancabur Volcano, towering over the town at 5900m, immediately dominates one’s view. In the late afternoon, the town radiates a warm hue, the result of the setting sun casting its glow on adobe buildings and the surrounding Atacama Desert. As night falls, the blush across the town gives way to the thousands of stars which completely consume the landscape.

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The picturesque Licancabur Volcano looms over the town of San Pedro de Atacama at sunset.

The most popular attractions around San Pedro de Atacama are the surreal and otherworldly landscapes in the Atacama Desert, most of which are found within Los Flamencos National Reserve. The natural destinations around San Pedro de Atacama are best visited with tours organised by local agencies, removing the trouble of planning transport to and from remote locations. I recommend exploring the available options in town when you arrive at San Pedro de Atacama. This is cheaper and more flexible than booking in advance. One particular exception is the stargazing tour organised by Time Travel Atacama, which I would recommend reserving prior to your arrival. The two tours were organised by Terra Extreme, a travel agency which I can recommend as being safe and professional.

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Barren desert roads cut through the Atacama Desert, leading to and from various natural attractions surrounding San Pedro.

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