Heavy rain in Antofagasta region
Tourism in San Pedro de Atacama is restricted by floods
The rains have caused the blockage of several routes leading to many of the region’s tourist attractions.
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Due to strong rains affecting the San Pedro de Atacama district, tourism in the zone is operating at a reduced level.
Economy Minister Pablo Longueira, who has visited the area, said: “the Government is taking all necessary measures so that tourist activity does not suffer, and so that the number of people visiting San Pedro de Atacama is maintained during this difficult time. We are putting special emphasis on this because our country has had record tourism figures this year, and we know how important it is for tourism businesses in the affected zone.”
The minister added that he would be meeting with tourism companies in the area to evaluate the damage and prepare a work plan once the bad weather front has passed.
Current access and operation
Access to the village of Toconao, which was flooded as the River Loa burst its banks, is possible via Ruta 23CH from San Pedro, but only in the event of an emergency and with extreme care.
Roads to the El Tatio Geysers and the Puritama hot springs are closed due to their current conditions.
CONAF, the Chilean forestry service, reports that Reserva Nacional Los Flamencos is closed but that it will be assessed on a daily basis until it is ready to be re-opened.
Access routes to Valle de la Luna and Valle de la Muerte are also closed.
There is no road access to villages such as Talabre.
At the border crossings, Hito Cajón and Jama are open on a limited timetable; Sico is closed; and Ollagüe is open to 4x4 vehicles driven with care.
The historic village of San Pedro de Atacama is functioning as normal with full access for tourists.