314 kilometers from Antofagasta lies San Pedro, the land of the indigenous atacameños or kunzas, an ancient culture that developed around a fertile oasis. Hundreds of years later, the town is a bustling international tourist center.
This desert, the driest in the world, contains numerous attractions that have turned San Pedro town into a hot spot for travelers from all over the world. On its dirt streets one can see hundreds of tourists with a mix of languages and experiences from the various journeys that can be taken through the desert geography.
San Pedro de Atacama offers a large variety of places to stay, from budget rooms to sophisticated boutique hotels. The variety of restaurants allows for choosing between various options, from small inns with typical Chilean cuisine to fusion restaurants on Caracoles Street. At night it is also the place to relax with a drink or eat a meal of Patasca, which is prepared with peeled corn, beef or lamb and a stew. San Pedro de Atacama is also well-known for its nightlife.
This road, the main street of San Pedro, is the starting point for those looking for tours of the diverse sectors of the area. There are several tourist offices, bicycle and sandboard rental stations, and the international milieu blends with the atacameña community. The community itself takes on the task of safeguarding their own natural and architectural wealth.
A visit to the Church of San Pedro is a must.. Although it has required various repairs, its walls date back to 1744, and ever since, it has been the center for the main festivities. The Museum of Father Le Paige is another important spot, where you can learn more about the rich heritage of the “Acameños”, the pre-Columbian culture.
This post is also available in Spanish