If it’s time for you to wander off into the desert and marvel at the beauty of creation, then you need to get to San Pedro de Atacama. Infinite night skies, geysers and ancient cultures are all gathered around this ancient watering hole.
Located in the arid Atacama Desert, at high altitude, you can expect lots of hot sun and cool wind. Nights can be quite chilly, too. The salt flats, mysterious geological formations and astounding landscapes (volcanoes included) are enough to wow even the most jaded of travelers. That’s before you even see a vicuña (a cousin of the llama) or flamingo!
There is evidence of human settlement in the area, dating back more than 10,000 years. First, ancient hunter-gatherers dominated the landscape, while later, agricultural people lived here. By the 5th century, the Atacama people lived in the oasis, eventually being conquered by the Incas (15th century) and later the Spanish (16th century). Officially declared part of Bolivia in 1824, the region would become a part of Chile in 1883 after a regional war took place.
While San Pedro de Atacama was completely off the beaten path for tourists up until 40 years ago, now you can find a great variety of activities and experiences, including a lively and well-developed culinary scene. You can find delicious meals covering a broad range of styles, and eat, surrounded with adventurers from around the world. The museum in town is not to be missed, either, and certainly one should take in the local arts and crafts market, which is brimming with beautiful mementos to take home.
Legend has it, that if you sit out at night, curled up next to a cozy fire, wrapped in a blanket, under the eternal gaze of the milky way, then you can hear the local volcanoes, calling to each other, calling to you. Let it lure you in – you won’t regret it.