San Pedro de Atacama is a small town in the north of Chile with a relaxed atmosphere. Take your time to enjoy the great activities around and explore the stunning landscape.
We stayed 5 nights at Backpackers San Pedro Hostel. It is located few minutes from the center, in a quiet area. Beds are ok and the Showers a bit tricky, you need to be lucky to get a hot shower. On the other hand, there is a good kitchen and helpful staff.
Our rating for Backpackers San Pedro Hostel is 7 out of 10.
On our first night in town we went to a nice local restaurant. While waiting near the table for our food, we suddenly saw some things around started shaking. We felt like someone is slowly pushing our chairs. First we thought that maybe we’re imagining all this, maybe it’s because of the long bus ride we just had. But when we saw everyone else looking around like we did, we realized we’re experiencing an earthquake! We were a bit nervous, but after a few seconds, it stopped, electricity was gone, and we sat there in the dark.
Apparently, it was a powerful 8.2-magnitude earthquake!
The epicenter of the earthquake was around northwest of Iquique. This earthquake was followed by a few weaker aftershocks at the same nights and on the night after. It was a bit scary, but also very weird. This earthquake felt like we are all floating on a boat, like water are moving beneath us, and not like the usual strong shakes you imagine when you think about an earthquake. When we left the restaurant, it was completely dark outside, you could see the stars so clearly! Just looking at the sky from this desert town when there’s no electricity around, it was really beautiful.
We spent our time in San Pedro de Atacama doing some day trips and enjoyed them very much. There are a lot of agencies in the town centre, so make sure to check out prices for a while before deciding where to organize your activities.
First we signed up for an astronomical tour at night. We took a bus for a short ride to Alain’s house near town. Alain is a French astronomer who adores the sky and the Atacama desert area. He gave has a short interesting lecture about the stars, with a lot of humor and useful facts. Then we started star gazing, using his huge telescopes. It was magical. At the end, all the group went inside Alain’s house, and we had some time for questions while drinking hot chocolate. I felt like I’ve learnt a lot from this evening.
Our second trip around San Pedro de Atacama was an afternoon tour to the Moon Valley (‘Valle de la Luna’). We stopped in few beautiful places for a walk to great viewpoints and enjoyed the special landscape.
Watching the sunset with all the rocks and the volcanoes in the background, while the colors are magically changing, it was unforgettable.
For our last trip around we wanted to visit the famous geysers. We were picked up from our hostel in the middle of the night, and we started our ride towards ’Geyser del Tatio’. After a few hours ride we arrived at sunrise time and waited to see clearly the geysers. It was extremely cold outside, which is usual around this area. Actually, as colder as is gets outside, you have a better chance to see the impressive geysers.
It was a surreal experience! We walked around all the geysers and had a really close look at them. We had a nice breakfast and then we went for a short swim at a hot natural pool nearby. We had a few more stops on our way back to San Pedro. It was a wonderful tour.
San Pedro de Atacama was a big surprise for us. We didn’t know the desert landscape can be so beautiful. Not everyday you get to see such a stunning scenery, like in ‘Valle de la Luna’, and be witness to a pretty rare phenomenon, like watching the geysers in ‘Geyser del Tatio’. Don’t miss this great town!