From Rio we had a few different flights to get us up to San Pedro de Atacama in Chile. People arrive here either from other parts of Chile by bus, by plane via Calama or through Bolivia if coming from the other direction. We opted for a flight from Santiago to Calama and then a shared shuttle from Calama airport to San Pedro de Atacama. It was carefree and seemed to be the most common way people arrived. This is because buses from Santiago are over 12 hours and expensive so if you book a flight ahead of time you can end up paying less than you would for the bus. The shared shuttle bus cost us $25 NZD which is 12,000 peso and was standard across all companies in the airport.
WHAT TO DO:
We stayed in San Pedro for four nights and I think it was maybe one night too long as we were doing the salt flats tour and lots that you can do here is similar to that. It is however a really cute place to stay and the food is great. Perfect spot to start getting used to high altitude as well if you are continuing over onto the salt flats. We stayed at Takha Takha and it was quite ‘flash’ for san pedro. Would recommend staying here because of the pool – it is a really hot dry climate during the day.
I would recommend doing the Moon valley tour, this is a afternoon tour that means you watch the sunset over the moon valley (Valle de Luna). You walk and view parts of the desert as well before hand which is pretty cool. There are lots of different tour companies that offer this all at the same cost but we went with Acamarachi Tours and I would highly recommend them. The guide was great and spoke english and they were also they only company who gave snacks for the sunrise. Cheese, crackers, salami, fruit salad and fruit juice.
WHERE TO EAT:
Sol Inti – We ate here twice and I would highly recommend checking it out. We went for dinner one night and had the set menu for 6,500 peso. This included a salad to start, fish and potato as the main and then a desert (which was not amazing). The second time we went was for lunch and I ordered a creamy pasta – really good but massive portions so consider sharing. The salads from here are also amazing and huge. 130, Tocopilla, San Pedro de Atacama, Antofagasta Region, Chile
Barros Cafe – Had lunch here one day and it is a great spot to check out. Ordered a salmon and avocado salad and it was sooo amazing. Would have been happy to get this at any cafe at home. 130, Tocopilla, San Pedro de Atacama, Antofagasta Region, Chile
Roots cafe and pizza – Good place for breakfast. Have a range of normal breaky options but also a big crepe selection. I had nutella crepes and a mango juice…obviously. Toconao 459-B, San Pedro de Atacama 1410, Chile
Cocineria tchiuchi – Chicken and fries fast food type place. Amazing little place down one of the lanes from the square. You can order 1/4, 1/2 or full rotisserie chickens and also different amounts of fries. Really cheap and really yum! 424-6 calle toconao, San Pedro de Atacama, Chile