The 10 Best Things to Do in San Pedro de Atacama, Chile

March 1, 2018 Augustus Redeker

Looking for an unusual and beautiful landscape? Sandstone canyons, flamingo-dotted salt flats, steaming geysers, hot springs, volcanic peaks and alien-looking rock formations are on offer all around San Pedro de Atacama. Hiking, biking and horseback riding are the preferred means of exploration. Death Valley here is surprisingly great for picnics.
Restaurants in San Pedro de Atacama

1. Piedras Rojas

San Pedro de Atacama 1410000, Chile +56 9 6673 5372
Excellent
86%
Good
10%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 1 reviews

Piedras Rojas

Reviewed By Lutchmee M - SOUTH AFRICA

This place is so beautiful Gorgeous place. We went it snowed the night before. It was bitterly cold and windy. Truly a hidden gem Must visit

2. Salar de Tara

San Pedro de Atacama, Chile
Excellent
82%
Good
13%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 2 reviews

Salar de Tara

Reviewed By Erin M - Greenbelt, Maryland

We did this tour (and all of our tours) with Cosmo Andino. And now that we've done it, I've got a few tips for a good experience.
First, you absolutely need a great tour company with great vehicles and great drivers. (I highly recommend Cosmo Andino.) When they say that you are driving "off-road", it is not the American definition of off-roading. They don't mean a dirt or gravel road. They literally mean that there is no road. You just drive off into the open desert that has no tire tracks. You cannot do this on your own.
Second, this is a HIGH altitude tour. We got up to 4800m (15,000ft)! I strongly recommend that you do a different high altitude tour before this to get acclimated. We were hurting on our first high altitude tour, but then we did much better on this one. I can't imagine what we would have felt like if this was our first high altitude tour.
Third, the sun is serious here. (Did I mention the altitude?) I am a woman in my thirties with lots of thick hair, and my scalp got burned through my hair! (Like, my whole scalp, not just an area that was exposed by a part.) Everyone should wear a hat. Luckily, it's a bit chilly up there, so you'll probably be wearing pants and long-sleeves and won't need much sunscreen except on your face and hands.
Fourth, bring binoculars if you have them. We saw lots of wildlife (vicunas, flamingos, llamas, birds) and it's great to see them up close.
Fifth, drink water! It's really really helps to start hydrated. Once you get the headache, there's no getting rid of it until you come back down to lower altitudes.
This was my second favorite tour. I know it can be pricey, but it's so worth it!

3. Lagunas Miscanti y Miniques

Caracoles 174b, San Pedro de Atacama 1410000, Chile +56 9 5641 9319
Excellent
81%
Good
15%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 4 reviews

Lagunas Miscanti y Miniques

Reviewed By Mia2727 - Calgary

We did a tour today. It’s over 300 kms round trip. The highest elevation is 4300 so you have to pace yourself. The lakes are pristine and the colours of the Mountains wonderful. We were fortunate to see a small herd of vicuña with babies. Well worth the trip. Our group was 14 a mix of languages. We ate lunch at 2:30 in a small town Tocanao. It was ordinary.

4. Salar de Aguas Calientes

San Pedro de Atacama, Chile
Excellent
86%
Good
13%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 289 reviews

Salar de Aguas Calientes

Reviewed By authored - Springfield, Virginia

These Salt flats are quite a drive from San Pedro de Atacama, but are worth it. You will find plenty of flamingoes in the lagoons. The walk through the flats is on a flat path with water bubbling all around you. There is a small entrance fee and there are restrooms.

5. Lagunas Baltinache

Ruta 23 | Los Pantanos, San Pedro de Atacama, Chile
Excellent
83%
Good
14%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
0%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 120 reviews

Lagunas Baltinache

Reviewed By TravellingOrange - London, United Kingdom

This was a good evening and not a long drive from San Pedro (less than an hour).
There are 7 lakes, 2 of which you can swim in. The last lake is a 10 minute walk from the first and requires good footwear as the salt is very sharp.
Gets extremely busy before 6pm.
Entrance is free after 6.30 however it can be cold once the sun goes down if there's a breeze! I ended up having a pool to myself!

6. Lascar Volcano

San Pedro de Atacama 1240000, Chile
Excellent
80%
Good
17%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 301 reviews

Lascar Volcano

Reviewed By Ja V - Santiago, Chile

Climb a volcano is always a good idea, and atacama have alot, Lascar is one , and the last activity was the last year, so you can feel the energy !!

7. Laguna Tebinquinche

San Pedro de Atacama, Chile
Excellent
74%
Good
20%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 1 reviews

Laguna Tebinquinche

Reviewed By Hriad - London, United Kingdom

Hi
This laguna is included in a tour called laguna cejar, there will be 3 stops cejar tebinquiche and dos ojos. I like it because u end the day at tebinquiche with the sunset. For drone pilot beware that u cant fly everywhere in Chile they are strict because of some places with flamingos but for this tour u will be able to use it. Price is reasonnable but entree fees are equal to price tour! Welcome to Chile ! If u habe questions regarding drones, Chile, Bolivia and Peru follow me on instagram @yh_travellers and i will answer ur questions enjoy

8. Valle de la Luna - Valle de la Muerte

San Pedro de Atacama, Chile
Excellent
69%
Good
24%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 6 reviews

Valle de la Luna - Valle de la Muerte

Reviewed By Carolyn B - Boston, Massachusetts

We had a guide who was very knowledgeable about geology and that helped make this a very interesting excursion. The sand dunes and the rock formations are unusual and we loved walking through the narrow canyon formed by water many years ago. Very cool place to visit - very moderate exertion.

9. Geyser del Tatio

174a Caracoles, San Pedro de Atacama 1410000, Chile +56 9 6673 5372
Excellent
72%
Good
20%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 6 reviews

Geyser del Tatio

Reviewed By Sharon C - London

The geysers are absolutely worth getting up early and braving the cold up there, and the journey back down the mountain has spectacular scenery that you can't see on the drive up in the dark. But do go prepared for how freezing cold it is up there until you are warmed by the sun. In March it was bitterly cold, -2C. But absolutely worth it!

10. Mirador de Kari, Piedra del Coyote

Valle al norte del Valle de la luna, Cordillera de Los Andes, Cordillera de la Sal y la Cordillera de Domeyko., San Pedro de Atacama, Chile
Excellent
65%
Good
26%
Satisfactory
7%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 1 reviews

Mirador de Kari, Piedra del Coyote

Reviewed By VG1302 - Melbourne, Australia

We visited this site on our way to the Valley of the moon late in the afternoon. The landscape was unique in that it had many different colours of sands and some unique rock formations. The deposition of various layers of minerals and ash from the surrounding volcanoes in the region for over thousands of years were both spectacular and incredible. There are excellent photo opportunities here with big vertical drops in the background. This site is worth a quick visit before a stop by at Moon Valley.
Tips
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1. Carry a broad-brimmed hat.
2. Wear sturdy shoes.
3. Keep sun-block and sunglasses handy.

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