Our adventures in Northern Chile began in February 2017 in San Pedro de Atacama, a town located in the driest desert on Earth, the Atacama Desert. To be completely honest, I wasn’t really sure what I was expecting from San Pedro, but I would have to say our short stay of only 4 days in San Pedro would probably be in my top 3 destinations on our Latin American backpacking adventure. It was completely different to anywhere I’d ever been, there was so much more to see than just sand (although there was a lot of that too,) and the town itself was rich in indigenous history.
We managed to pack a lot into our 4 days in San Pedro. I did 2 free walking tours with Tours 4 Tips, the “San Pedro origins” tour where we learn about the history of the town, and the “San Pedro today” tour (my particular favourite) where I learnt about life today for the locals. I really enjoyed learning about the Licanantay people who are indigenous to the land, and the history of how people decided to settle on and thrive off the land of the driest desert on Earth. I’d definitely recommend doing these to anyone visiting San Pedro.
While we were there we did 3 organised tours. The first was a $15USD to the Valley of the Moon and the Death Valley. These are probably the two biggest tourist attraction in the Atacama Desert, but they’re awesome to see, and even though you could hire a bike and visit them without booking a tour (it would also take longer), the free champagne made it all the more worth it.
With almost no humidity and minimal light pollution, San Pedro is one of the best places in the world to do a star gazing tour. We were lucky enough to do one on our last night, after the first two we tried to do were cancelled because it was too cloudy, and it was great. Darcy even managed to snap an awesome picture of the moon through the telescope.
Finally, we booked a tour to a bunch of different lakes and lagoons, because we wanted to experience more of the vast landscapes of the Atacama Desert. Although I’m not the biggest fan of tours where you just drive around for most of the day and jump out at each attraction, the places we visited were stunning and our guide was really knowledgeable about each destination, so I’m glad we did it.