San Pedro de Atacama
They say the high quantities of quartz and copper in the region gives their people positive energy, and the good vibes of northern Chile’s number-one tourist draw, San Pedro de Atacama, are sky high. The popularity of this adobe precordillera oasis stems from its position in the heart of some of northern Chile’s most spectacular scenery. A short drive away lies the country’s largest salt flat, its edges crinkled by volcanoes (symmetrical Licancábur, at 5916m, looms closest to the village). Here too are fields of steaming geysers, a host of otherworldly rock formations and weird layer-cake landscapes. In a single word: surreal.
Some spots to visit while in San Pedro:
- Valle de la Luna (Moon Valley) / Valle de la Muerte (Death Valley)
- Lagunas Miscanti y Miñiques
- Piedras Rojas / Laguna Tuyajto
- Geisers del Tatio
- Salar del Tara
- Laguna Chaxa
How to get here:
1.5 hour flight from Santiago to Calama, then a 1 hour shuttle towards the mountains till reaching San Pedro de Atacama.
NORTE CHICO / VALLE DEL ELQUI
For such a small sliver of land, Chile’s Norte Chico (Little North), offers up fantastic diversity. La Serena, a coastal colonial capital and the region’s largest city, is a must-see for anybody visiting. From there, move on to the mystical Elqui Valley: the verdant home to Chile’s pisco producers, new-age communes and cutting-edge observatories. Further north are some amazing national parks, a trendy little beach hideaway, and kilometers of uncharted coastline just waiting for you to set up camp or charge out for an afternoon surf.