Pukara de Quitor
Originally constructed by the Atacameño people to defend themselves from the Incas, Pukará de Quitor was then used by the Incas to defend themselves against the invading Spanish in the 16th century. You can follow a pathway up to the hill, from where you have a clear view of the area surrounding San Pedro de Atacama, the Valley of the Moon, and beyond. On top of the hill you’ll find a monument honoring the Atacameño people who were massacred there. There is also a small museum at the site, which provides information on the history of the ruins and artifacts uncovered.
Pukará de Quitor is typically included on guided tours from San Pedro de Atacama that include other top destinations, including the Valley of the Moon, Atacama Salt Lake, Licancabur Volcano, Tulor, and El Tatio geysers. Taking such a tour is an ideal way of seeing multiple attractions in a single day. Visiting with a guide also has the benefit of filling you in one the history of the site and the Incas’ attempt to defend it against the Spanish conquerors.
Things to know before you go
*Pukará de Quitor is a must-visit for those interested in Chile’s pre-Columbian history. *Wear sturdy shoes, as the walk up to the lookout is steep. *There is an entrance fee, which is discounted for students.
How to get there
Pukará de Quitor is just 2.2 miles (3.5 kilometers) northwest of San Pedro de Atacama, and easily accessible on foot, by bike, or by vehicle. San Pedro's small airport has regular flights to Santiago.
When to get there
Due to the heat, it is best to visit Pukará de Quitor early in the morning or in the late afternoon or early evening. If you can time your visit to sunset, you’ll get a great view over the Valley of the Moon.
- Rainbow Valley (Valle del Arcoiris)
- El Tatio Geysers
- Church of San Pedro de Atacama
- Institute of Archaeological Research and R. P. G. Le Page Museum (Instituto de Investigacio
- Tulor Village
- Atacama Desert
- Moon Valley (Valle de la Luna)
- Tebenquiche Lagoon
- Puritama Hot Springs (Termas Baños de Puritama)
- Ojos del Salar
- Los Flamencos National Reserve (Reserva Nacional Los Flamencos)
- Cejar Lagoon (Laguna Cejar)
- Atacama Salt Flats (Salar de Atacama)
- Chaxa Lagoon (Laguna Chaxa)