The Atacama desert is one of the driest places on earth, and there are only a few places to seek refuge from the sun-baked landscape. During the day the heat can be unbearable and at night the temperatures can drop below zero very quickly. While there isn’t much life that survives in this climate, there are several oases’ located throughout the desert, and we chose to spend a few days in San Pedro, which has become a tourist destination and jumping off point for exploring this region.
We had just traveled across southern Bolivia, exploring the Salar de Uyuni and surrounding landscapes. We quickly left the mountains and entered the flat expanse of the Atacama Desert. It was dry and hot and much different than the climates we had just experienced. After 3 days of roughing it a little bit and a lot of driving, it was nice to find a place to settle for a bit and recharge (and most importantly, catch up on laundry!). San Pedro is a cool little oases’ town that has transformed into a backpackers hub, and there are many great places to eat and drink in the town.
We only had 2 and a half days to explore San Pedro and it’s surroundings, so we wanted to find a few unique destinations to visit, and experience as much as we could.
There were many adventures and day-trips for us to choose between; there were several places in the desert that we could explore, from salt flats with flamingos to towering sand dunes. Since we had just come from Bolivia (and spent several weeks in the mountains) and had just explored the Salar de Uyuni, we decided to go for something a little bit different.
This video follows our adventures in the Atacama Desert, visiting two valleys in the desert; Valle Luna and Valle Jere.
The first day we went to explore the Valle de Luna – the valley of the moon – which gets its name from the out of this world landscape. It really did feel like we were on a different planet. It was a surreal world, surrounded by sand dunes, ancient salt deposits from long forgotten oceans, and standing rock formations. Watching the sunset over the valley was definitely one of the highlights of our trip to the desert.
On our second day, we explored a little off the beaten track spot located 40-minutes out of town known as the Valle Jere. This was unlike any other spot in the surrounding areas; this small canyon was full of green lush trees and bushes and was a great place to go for a hike. It was cool and protected from the extreme mid-day heat, and the best part was we didn’t have to bump into many other tourists.
We would love to go back and explore more of this unusual place; 3 days in Chile was not long enough to really explore, and before we had even had a chance to say hello, we were back on the road on our way to Argentina. We hope you enjoy the video of our exploration.
Exploring San Pedro de Atacama:
We spent two and a half days in the Atacama desert, in Northern Chile, finding a world unlike any other existing in the dry desert climate. We made the decision to visit two valleys in the surrounding areas, two vastly different landscapes in this surreal world.
The first was Valle Luna, which looks like another world; the valley is dry and full of salt deposits from a long-lost sea. The second valley was much different, green and lush, surrounded by dry desert about 40 minutes out of town, and it was nice to go for a hike in the cool fresh air.