Discover Adventure in San Pedro de Atacama Chile

| by Jason | 3 Comments » | Chile, South America

San Pedro de Atacama Dirt Streets

Dirt Streets of San Pedro de Atacama

San Pedro de Atacama is an adventure town located in Chile’s Northern Salt Mountains and is an extreme desert environment.  The landscape is very picturesque with snow capped mountains in the distance and desert valleys that glow orange when the sun sets.

Tourists flock to San Pedro to see pink flamingos in the salt flat basin, experience geysers in the geothermal fields, go sand boarding down giant sand dunes and to simply watch sunsets and stargaze in the endless desert.

Sand Boarding in the Atacama Desert

Travel Agency Offering Sand Boarding

Prices are high here, since the entire town has retired from the salt mines and all income stems from tourism.  There is an unlimited number of restaurants and cafés to choose from but no real supermarket.  If you want to prepare your own meal you might find yourself visiting several tiendas to get everything on your list.

San Pedro de Atacama Bars and Restaurants

Expensive Restaurants & Happy Hours

As you stroll down the dusty dirt streets in town be prepared to be offered tours, happy hours, meal specials and sand boarding trips.  The selling practices are very familiar to those found on the streets of  Cuzco and Arequipa.  With so many tour agencies it becomes a bit overwhelming to choose a quality tour.  We booked all our tours through Cactus Expeditions (Cactus Tours) and were highly satisfied.  Ronald was our guide during our Geysers and Cactus tour, and we considered him one of the best guides we have had during our travels.

San Pedro de Atacama Desert Sand Dunes

Aracely Caught in Sand Drifts

San Pedro is small with an old American West charm.  There are no buildings over 2 stories and no paved roads.  Bring lots of sunscreen and a handkerchief or bandanna, sometimes the sand kicks up a lot in the wind.  If you are into extreme adventure seek out Volcano Tour Company for a snow capped summit.

For Budget Travelers

If you are on a budget several campsites are available as well as hostels away from the touristy town center.  The option also exists to venture into the desert visiting Valle de la Muerte (Death Valley) and Valle de la Luna (Moon Valley) by bicycle.   There are roads leading to the sites, but at some point you will have to disembark your bicycle to walk the giant sand dunes.

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Written by Jason

Co-founder of Jason has been traveling, writing, taking photos and creating adventure videos since 2024, when he departed on his first year long travel backpacking journey. Jason is a full-time blogger and social marketing guru trying to find the way. Visit my website

3 Responses to “Discover Adventure in San Pedro de Atacama Chile”

  1. Keith says:

    Good stuff. Nice to read a first-hand account of a place I considered going to.
    .-= Keith´s last blog ..The Sessioners =-.

  2. Great photos. I cannot believe that my visit to San Pedro is already 7 years ago. It looks like that it did not change that much…
    .-=´s last blog ..So, what is flashpacking anyway? =-.

  3. adamasao says:

    Thanks, brings back memories!
    Maybe a good tip – we went in winter (June) and there weren’t many other travellers around, so it was very nice – never got hassled at all by touts and the like – and there was still plenty to see and do.
    It was freezing at night though! – All the better for drinking cerveza and watching futbol with the locals in one of the many pubs with a roaring fire going.

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