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willow San Pedro de Atacama - A travel report by willow
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San Pedro de Atacama,  Chile - flag Chile -  Antofagasta
3811 readers

willow's travel reports

Dust in the wind

  14 votes

San Pedro de Atacama travelogue picture
San Pedro is a dusty town, VERY DUSTY. After half a day, I was the same color as everyone else in town- brown. The town center was a cloud of dust and destructin (construction). I arrived at noon as everything closed, so I answered a plea for lunch (the restaurant owner's plea, not my stomach's). For about $4 I had two rolls with a beatiful whipped salsa, a wonderful soup (chicken?) and then a plate of lovely pasta and a glass of wine. Unfortunately, the soup and half a roll filled me up. One piece at a time over an hour or two I made a noble effort to get my money's worth of pasta without gettting sick. Over lunch, a playful kitten kept hopping into my lap or playing with my backpack. I sat at a table next to some Israeli backpackers sitting in towels (cold showers) trading cds with the owner of the hostel/restaurant. The atmosphere was perfect for lazing away the time. (Valle de Muerto pictured)

Favourite spots:
The Museo Archeoligico Padre Le Paige is a very cool place. It's the result of many years work of a Belgian priest and archeologist. It has many artifacts including the famous mummies that trace the atacamena culture thru the Inca invasion and Spanish conquest.

What's really great:
San Pedro de Atacama travelogue picture
There are two or three places in town that offer tours to Valle de Muerto and Valle de Luna (pictured). Valle de Muerto is just desert with a lot of canyons. It's called Valle de Muerto (valley of death) because animals can get in, but they can't get out and they die. Valle de Luna is a mystic place. It's a very popular sunset destination. To get to the sunset vantage point, you have to hike up the world's largest sand dune (OK, maybe not- but it's FELT like the world's largest!). The view was fantastic of course, but the best part was walking barefoot down the dune. I rolled up my cords and stripped my feet. Every step my feet dove into the sand up to my shins. Que increible!

Sights:
San Pedro de Atacama travelogue picture
Valle de Luna at sunset (pictured), Valle de Muerto (hiking) and the Museum...there's not much else out there. You can of course sign up for a two day tour and head out for a night on the nearby salt flats...a great experience, but pack WARM. The temperatures at night rival outerspace. You'd never imagine a place so warm during the day could lose every ounce of heat at night!

Hangouts:
There are a few pubs to be found by just exploring. It's a very small pueblo, but you can find a range from budget to mid-range food and drinks. There is even a pub with internet access. You can walk the whole pueblo in the space of about 10 minutes. It's hard to go wrong with any of your choices, so find the one with the atmosphere that appeals the most to you.

Restaurants:
Walk around and see what seems inviting to you. On the main square there is a hostel/ restaurant with good, cheap fare and friendly staff. They also have live music at night sometimes. I was invited back to a party that night.

Published on Sunday December 28th, 2003


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Mon, Oct 02 2006 - 06:38 PM rating by mrscanada

It's nice that you made some new friends, (the Israelis), maybe it helped you forget the dust for a while. At least you go to go to a party. :)

Thu, Jan 08 2004 - 09:17 AM rating by marianne

I liked reading this report, and understand perfectly what you mean by 'dusty'. It gets everywhere even days after having left the place the dust is still there.

Thu, Jan 01 2004 - 01:56 PM rating by cycleboy

Hi, willow!
Your South America trip must have been a great journey.
Happy travelling
Werner

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