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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 | All San Pedro de Atacama Tours

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

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

star-4.5
30
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
  • Taking safety measures
From
$26.00
From
$26.00
Taking safety measures

Atacama Desert Stargazing Tour

Atacama Desert Stargazing Tour

star-4
28
Gaze at the sparkling stars of the Atacama Desert with an expert astronomer on a stargazing tour from San Pedro de Atacama. Visit South America’s largest astronomical observatory and gain insight into the secrets of the night sky; stare at stars through a state-of-the-art telescope, discovering glowering planets invisible to the naked eye; and capture photographs of the moon’s crater covered surfaces. Conclude your magical evening with a steaming cup of cocoa as you digest your newfound cosmological knowledge.
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  • 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$44.00
Price varies by group size
From
$44.00
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Atacama Salt Flat and Toconao Town Tour

Atacama Salt Flat and Toconao Town Tour

star-3
1
Knowing the best spots to appreciate Chile’s natural landscape can be tricky. Discover the country’s largest salt flat on a day tour to Salar de Atacama, and visit one of the elevated region’s villages along the way for insight into traditional Chilean culture. Explore the rural terrain with ease, with round-trip transfer from San Pedro, and benefit from insights provided by your local guide.
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  • 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$54.00
From
$54.00

Termas de Puritama

Termas de Puritama

star-5
12
Simplify transportation logistics between San Pedro de Atacama and the Puritama Hot Springs by booking this guided tour to the popular natural attraction. Hotel pickup and drop-off ensure peace of mind as you travel between destinations, letting you relax and fully enjoy the hot springs experience.
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  • 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$90.00
From
$90.00

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

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

star-3
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
  • Taking safety measures
From
$41.03
From
$41.03
Taking safety measures