• Photo: Peter Guttman/Peterguttman.com

San Pedro de Atacama

It is not an exaggeration to call San Pedro de Atacama a once-in-a-lifetime destination. After all, there’s nowhere else quite like it. Otherworldly landscapes surround the quiet town of San Pedro, which is a real oasis in the desert in the literal and metaphorical sense: greenery and rushing irrigation channels give life to this dusty town, and the intriguing community of travelers, artisans, and natives have created a stress-free oasis far removed from the burdens of normal life. Over the last decade San Pedro has exploded in tourism, now offering more than 100 accommodation options, three dozen restaurants, and more tourism operators than you'll care to count.

What is so attractive about San Pedro? For adventurists, it is the opportunity to do high-altitude climbing, sandboarding, and mountain biking. For sightseers, it is the volcano-lined horizon, the salt-shaken valleys, the clear blue salt lakes teeming with flamingos, and the steam-spitting geysers. And for pleasure seekers, it is simply soaking in the beautiful Atacama sun and landscapes while moving to the San Pedro pace: nice and slow.

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