San Pedro de Atacama - Around Town

Published: November 17th 2013
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Pisco Elqui-La Serena- San Pedro de Atacama

Window View of Valle de LunaWindow View of Valle de LunaWindow View of Valle de Luna

One of my first views from the bus as we descended down into San Pedro. Just a taster of things to come!
San Pedro de Atacama- a small village of about 5000 local inhabitants was my next destination. Located in what is considered the driest desert on earth, it's a long, 17hr night bus ride from La Serena. Actually the ride was pretty comfortable (I paid more for the salon cama seat), although I can never sleep on buses or planes. Even got tucked into "bed" by the conductor, who not only allocated blankets to everyone but dutifully fussed with them to make sure everyone was snug as a bug!! The long distance buses here in Chile are terrific!

The best part of the trip, was the last hour or so. Early morning in the desert- love it. At the first sight of the Valle de Luna, I knew I was going to have a great time exploring the area. There's really so much to see and do around here. All fascinating. So, where to begin?

Have decided to break this blog into four parts, so you can better appreciate the diversity of the area and so you don't tire of seeing hundreds of photos at the one time!! Even then, I only scratched the surface of what was on offer during my time here.

This first blog in the San Pedro "series" is a general introduction to San Pedro, around town and some of the great people I spent time with here. The second will feature Valle de Luna- the area that first captured my attention on entering the town. These will be followed by the Lagunas Antiplanos (Antiplanal Lagoons) and finally one covering a day of walking I did to check out the Archeological site of Quitor and the surrounding quebradas (ravines).

San Pedro & the surrounding area is arguably the number one tourist destination in Chile. This is well-deserved for a number of different reasons: it's spectacular geographic location and the stark beauty of the landscapes, it's neverending blue sky during the day & it's star filled sky at night and increasingly as an important archeaological destination for those interested in Precolumbian cultures. Add to this the "positive energy vibes", supposedly created from the high quantities of quartz & copper in the area , and you have a recipe for a potent mix!!!

So let's have a look.........

Additional photos below
Photos: 35, Displayed: 23


Roadside GravesRoadside Graves
Roadside Graves

All through the desert I saw these mini monuments to people who had passed. Some were very elaborate. It sets you thinking what happened that they are remembered in these incredibly isolated spots with no sign of habitation as far as the eye can see.
Hostal RuralHostal Rural
Hostal Rural

My home for almost a week. A relaxed and friendly place that attracts travellers of all types & ages.

I loved the funky decor!
The Three Amigos!The Three Amigos!
The Three Amigos!

Look who turned up at my hostel! It's my roommates from Pisco Elqui, Sergi & Miri!
Hanging Out in the HammocksHanging Out in the Hammocks
Hanging Out in the Hammocks

A favourite place to chill when it's too hot or you just don't feel like doing anything else!
The PitThe Pit
The Pit

A great little place to relax in the late afternoon or sharing a few wines, piscos or whatever in the evening.
The Pit-CrewThe Pit-Crew
The Pit-Crew

My nickname for this mob who were the first people to actually "occupy" the pit from when I arrived.
Enjoy the desert!Enjoy the desert!
Enjoy the desert!

Love this sign on the door as you leave- look closely!
Downtown San PedroDowntown San Pedro
Downtown San Pedro

A tiny town that relies heavily on tourism. Many of the newer buildings have attempted to stick to the adobe style to keep "in step" with the original. Glad I'm not here in the peak season- must be packed!! Pick the local??
Change money??Change money??
Change money??

A sure sign you're in Tourist Town- lots of "cambios"- "official" foreign exchange agents. Tour agents, shop owners..........
Town PlazaTown Plaza
Town Plaza

Social meeting place in the later part of the day.
Free WifiFree Wifi
Free Wifi

Most towns in Chile have free public Wifi zones- particularly in the plaza area. This is a tiny place, so was most surprised to see it.
UV Warning device- with a difference!UV Warning device- with a difference!
UV Warning device- with a difference!

Similar scale to the one we use, but thought the traffic light idea was interesting!

Handcraft shops are everywhere. Many of them sell exactly the same type of things- and, unfortunately, a lot of them are no longer handmade from natural fibres but synthetics made in- you guessed it- China!!! Don't you love the name?
A closer lookA closer look
A closer look

Colourful but not handmade.
More textilesMore textiles
More textiles

Courtesy of Miri

Well, there you go, what did I say? Couldn't resist this photo. Courtesy of my friend Miri.
Enter the Fourth Amigo!Enter the Fourth Amigo!
Enter the Fourth Amigo!

Meet Sergio from Argentina- our chaffeur extraordinaire while in San Pedro.

18th November 2013

Early morning desert
You've captured some lovely photos.
18th November 2013

Hay Treddi, Wot a trip mate,keep them coming, Mississippi and himself are enjoying the ride.SpeedDog
24th November 2013

Heh Speedy!
Welcome aboard!! Yep, enjoying putting them together, but not always easy while on the road! Hugs to Mississippi xx
18th November 2013

love the blogs
Again the photos are great Sue, and meeting lots of people, continue to have a fabulous time my friend, we miss you,xoxoxoxoxoxoxo
24th November 2013

Hi again!
So glad you're continuing to enjoy the blogs, gail. Hope to have the second one in this series out later today.
14th December 2013

Sorry hav'nt been in touch for a while
Hi Treadie, Photos are great! My mother has been very sick, been down to Melbourne several times & going down for Xmas. She could have a Cardiac Arrest at any time. (weak heart) Have a Merry Xmas & Happy New Year! On On Wally xx
23rd December 2013

Merry Xmas Wal!
Hi Wal, Sorry to hear your Mum's unwell. Hope Xmas goes smoothly down in Melbourne. Apologies for the delay in responding, but internet way down here has been incredibly slow and I couldn't load my website to check it out! Here's to a fantastic 2014!!

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