The Latin America Travel Experts

020 7263 3000

The Valley of the Moon

The Valley of the Moon is quite close to San Pedro, and is a beautiful evening excursion. The landscape is made up of mountains, valleys, sand dunes and rock formations, and the colours change from golds to reds as the sun sets. You can walk up the sand dunes to enjoy the best views.

The Atacama Salt Lake

The Atacama Salt Lake is formed by water flowing down from the mountains evaporating, leaving salt crystals on the desert floor. The giant chunks of salt extend into the distance, creating a beautiful landscape as the earth and sky merge. The best time to visit is sunset, with beautiful colours, and flamingos silhouetted against the sky.

The El Tatio Geysers

The El Tatio Geysers are the largest geyser field in the southern hemisphere, and at 4,300 metres above sea level, some of the highest in the world. The geysers are best seen in the early morning light, when the water and steam jets create an incredible sight. However, this involves a very early start at 4am from San Pedro, as the geysers are a 90-minute bumpy drive away. There are also vicuñas in the area.

The Sky at Night

Northern Chile is one of the best places in the world for star gazing due to the climatic conditions, and the Atacama Large Millimetre Array (ALMA) is currently being constructed close to San Pedro, jointly by Europe, Japan, North America and Chile. When completed, this will be one of the most powerful radio telescopes in the world. The Atacama Desert is cloudless for almost all the year, and athough you cannot visit the ALMA site, there are some amateur astronomy tours in the desert around San Pedro, which can be booked locally. On these, you can view the galaxies through reasonably powerful optical telescopes. It gets very cold at night, so bring warm clothes!

Archaeological Sites

There are several interesting archaeological sites close to San Pedro. Tulor, dating from about 800BC, is the earliest example of habitation in area, with circular adobe structures visible. Pukara de Quitor is a partially restored 12th century fortress, set above the San Pedro River. It was used in the defence of the area from attacking Spanish forces in 1540.