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How to Spend 3 Days in San Pedro de Atacama

How to Spend 3 Days in San Pedro de Atacama

Three days in San Pedro de Atacama give you chance to explore the surrounding desert in a myriad of ways; see geysers, lunar landscapes, flamingos. You’ll also be able to soak up the town’s atmosphere and learn about its history. Here’s how.

Day 1: Head to Another Planet

San Pedro de Atacama is best-known as a base for adventures wanting to discover the surrounding desert, but the town itself offers plenty to see and do. Spend the morning exploring the historic center; tick off the centuries-old adobe church in the Plaza de Armas, the roof of which is made partially of dried cactus, and the R.P. Gustavo Le Paige Archaeological Museum, which exhibits more than 1,000 artefacts collected by a Belgian priest.

In the afternoon, take a trip to the Valley of the Moon (Valle de la Luna), where lunar landscapes have been shaped by wind and water over millions of years. Tours from San Pedro de Atacama typically also visit Valle de la Muerte (Death Valley) and are timed to coincide with sunset over the desert.

Day 2: Geysers, Hot Springs, and the Stars

Begin your second day bright and early with a pre-dawn tour of El Tatio, one of the biggest geothermal fields in the world. The trip north from San Pedro de Atacama takes around two hours, so letting someone else drive allows you to catch up on sleep in the vehicle. Watch the sunrise as dozens of steaming geysers burst into the air, then take a dip in a geothermal pool. Tours from San Pedro de Atacama typically include breakfast and some also add on a visit to the village of Machuca, where you’ll see grazing llamas and have chance sample goat’s cheese empanadas.

Spend your afternoon soaking in the thermal pools of Puritana Natural Springs; tours tend to include hotel transfers and admission tickets. In the evening, discover why the Atacama Desert is one of the world’s best places for stargazing on a night tour of South America’s largest astronomical observatory. 

Day 3: Salt Flats and Flamingos

Your third day begins with another early start, but it’s more than worth it to see the Atacama Salt Flats, one of the largest salt flats in the world. Highlights of typical full-day tours include seeing flocks of brightly colored flamingos at Chaxa Lagoon, part of Los Flamencos National Park, and exploring the high-altitude lakes of Miscanti and Miñique, which are framed by bright-white mineral deposits and yellow pampa grass. Tours tend to also visit the village of Socaire, where a traditional Chilean lunch made with regional produce is often included, and Toconao, where you can admire a 18th-century whitewashed church, see buildings made from volcanic stone, and browse craft shops for treasures made from alpaca wool and volcanic rock.

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5 Tours and Activities

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Atacama Salt Flat Day Trip from San Pedro de Atacama including Los Flamencos National Reserve and Socaire Village

Atacama Salt Flat Day Trip from San Pedro de Atacama including Los Flamencos National Reserve and Socaire Village

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Discover the natural splendor of the Atacama Salt Flats on a full-day tour from San Pedro de Atacama. Accompanied by a knowledgeable guide, visit the luminescent salt flats of Soncor; observe fabulous flocks of brightly colored flamingos in Los Flamenco National Park; and explore the luscious lagoons of Miscanti and Miniques. Feast upon a traditional Chilean lunch in the charming village of Socaire, and browse the bespoke boutiques of Tocanao for special souvenirs and artisan treasures.
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  • 10 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
US$122.00
From
US$122.00

El Tatio Geysers Tour from San Pedro de Atacama

El Tatio Geysers Tour from San Pedro de Atacama

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77
Discover the unearthly geysers of the world’s driest desert on an early morning tour to El Tatio geyser field from San Pedro de Atacama. Gaze in wonder at over 80 spouting shoots of steam as you watch an enchanting sunrise in the desert. Enjoy a traditional breakfast before concluding with a cultural exploration of the provincial village of Machuca on this engaging excursion.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
US$55.00
From
US$55.00

San Pedro de Atacama: Half day Valle de la Luna, Afternoon Tour

San Pedro de Atacama: Half day Valle de la Luna, Afternoon Tour

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Marvel over the startling topography of Chile’s Valle de la Luna (Valley of the Moon) on this 4-hour afternoon tour from San Pedro de Atacama. Keep your camera close to hand as you journey through the desert, past unique rock formations and mesmerizing multi-hued cliffs. Discover the park’s geological wonders as you peek inside a salt cave, see natural landmarks like the Tres Marias statues, then watch the sunset from the top of the Great Dune.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
US$48.00
Price varies by group size
From
US$48.00
Price varies by group size

Moon Valley Tour from San Pedro de Atacama
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out

Moon Valley Tour from San Pedro de Atacama

star-4
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Discover the otherworldly landscape of the Valle de la Luna (Moon Valley) on an exciting excursion from San Pedro de Atacama. Marvel at sharp peaks, undulating sand dunes and rugged caverns as you journey through one of the driest and most diverse deserts on earth. Explore the area on foot with an interesting and insightful guide, ascending to the top of a vertiginous dune to watch one of the most spectacular sunsets you’ve ever witnessed.
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  • 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
US$44.00
From
US$44.00

San Pedro de Atacama: Half day to El Tatio Geysers, breakfast included

San Pedro de Atacama: Half day to El Tatio Geysers, breakfast included

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5
Marvel over one of Chile’s natural wonders and take a peek at a traditional desert town on this 7-hour tour from San Pedro de Atacama, including hotel pick-up. Make an early start and head straight to the El Tatio Geyser, then stand in awe before the hissing geysers, bubbling mud pools and steaming fumaroles as the sun comes up. After tucking into breakfast (included), journey to the sleepy village of Machuca to admire the mud-brick houses and browse the handicrafts stalls.
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  • 7 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
US$57.00
From
US$57.00


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