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About San Pedro

San Pedro de Atacama 

General Information

San Pedro de Atacama is a town and commune in El Loa Province, Antofagasta Region, Chile.  It is located east of Antofagasta, some 106 km (60 mi) southeast of Calama and the Chuquicamata copper mine, overlooking the Licancabur volcano. It features a significant archeological museum, the R. P. Gustavo Le Paige Archaeological Museum, with a large collection of relics and artifacts from the region. Native ruins nearby now attract increasing numbers of tourists interested in learning about pre-Columbian cultures. Tourists also visit for other popular activities including sandboarding and stargazing, with the views of the stars from the Atacama unrivalled across the continent.

Climate

The town lies at an average of 7,900 ft (2,407 metres), and visitors often experience mild altitude sickness such as dizziness, lethargy and headaches. The local climate is extremely dry and mild, with daytime temperatures between 25-30 degrees Celsius (77-86°F) in the summer (December to February) and 18-25 degrees Celsius (64-77°F) in the winter (June to August). Night-time temperatures routinely drop below zero and can reach as low as -10°C (14°F) in the winter.

Places of Interest

There are various activities for tourist and adventurers in the San Pedro de Atacama area: trekking, climbing, archaeological sightings, exploration tours in natural landscapes and even sand boarding in the desert. Because of its altitude, a brief period of acclimatisation may be required.

Sights in town

In the town there are some cultural sites:

·         R. P. Gustavo Le Paige Archaeological Museum, displaying ceramics and pottery crafts from the first inhabitants of the area.

·         Church of San Pedro, a National Monument, built with adobe, a building material used in the colonial times. 

Outside of the town

·         Chaxas Lagoon, part of Los Flamencos National Reserve in the Salar de Atacama, inhabited by pink flamingos.

·         El Tatio, a geyser field with over 80 active geysers.

·         Llano de Chajnantor Observatory, a radio-telescope site, home of "ALMA", the Atacama Large Millimeter Array.

·         Laguna Miscanti (Miscanti Lagoon) and Laguna Miñiques (Miñiques Lagoon), two neighbouring altiplanic lagoons at the altitude of 4,200 m (13,500 ft).

·         Licancabur, a notable volcano near San Pedro de Atacama.

·         Pukará de Quitor (Fort Quitor). A fortification built by the Atacameño people in the 12th century.

·         Puritama Hot Springs

·         Salar de Atacama, a giant salt area (3,000 km² / 1,864.11 mi²) in the middle of the Atacama Desert.

·         Valle de la Luna ("Valley of the Moon"), a moon-like landscape with ruins of old Chilean salt mines, and worker huts.

·         Valle de la Muerte (Death Valley): a valley where gigantic dunes and rocks abound.