An oasis town of narrow streets and adobe houses, San Pedro de Atacama is an excellent base for desert trips.
Set at an altitude of 2400 metres between the desert and the high altiplano, this town has been an important settlement since pre-Hispanic times, as it was a stop between the trading communities of the coast and the mountains. It then became an important rest stop for traders during the nitrate era, before its present incarnation as a friendly base for travellers.
The Atacama Desert itself, in which San Pedro is located, has been described as a 'perfect' desert as there are areas of it where no rainfall has ever been recorded. It is a strange landscape that stretches over 1200km, a surreal and barren region of volcanoes, salt flats, cacti, moon-like valleys, geysers and remote villages.
There is also a rich archaeological history here, this region was located on traditional trade routes and has thus seen various ancient empires rise and fall. The arid climatic conditions have perfectly preserved a number of archaeological artefacts, ranging from petroglyphs to seven thousand year old mummies.
Also preserved in the desert are a number of eerie ghost towns, dating from the 19th century nitrate boom.
Suggested itineraries featuring San Pedro de Atacama
Our itineraries will give you suggestions for what is possible when you travel in San Pedro de Atacama, and they showcase routes we know work particularly well. Treat them as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists.
Map of San Pedro de Atacama
Places & hotels on the map
Accommodation choices for San Pedro de Atacama
We’ve selected a range of accommodation options for when you visit San Pedro de Atacama. Our choices usually come recommended for their character, facilities and service or location. Our specialists always aim to suggest properties that match your preferences.
Ideas for experiencing San Pedro de Atacama
Our specialists seek out authentic ways to get to know the places that could feature in your trip. These activities reflect some of the experiences they've most enjoyed while visiting San Pedro de Atacama, and which use the best local guides.