San Pedro de Atacama and Atacama Desert is one of the touristic highlights for any North of Chile tours, visited throughout the year by foreigners attracted by its magnetic charm and natural mystic.
San Pedro de Atacama is located in one of the oasis of II region. Has 1.938 inhabitants approximately and is placed at 2.438 meter height above sea level.
San Pedro de Atacama desert was the principal center of the atacameños or likanantani culture
Here they cultivated communitarian lands which were handled by families, developed many techniques in weaving, basketwork, ceramics and irrigated land. They defended themselves from other tribes by picking strategical elevated point to build fortresses known as Pucaras. Pucaka of Quitor is an example of that practice, the fortresses not only act as military points, they were also populated towns.
Many traditions of this culture lingers in the town, one of them is the spiritual passage through the allucinogen drugs and the legends related to the Licancabur Volcano. The atacamenian culture bloomed in San Pedro de Atacama, being until our days the cultural base of the town.
However San Pedro de Atacama is not only archaeological findings. Flanked by the Andes mountains, volcanoes, salt beds, desert, the zone offer multiple and astonishing spot for the tourists to visit: Moon Valley, the Tatio Geysers, Los Flamencos National Reserve, most of them are part of our San Pedro de Atacama Tour.
It is recommended to visit by day the urban attractions of San Pedro de Atacama and the surrounding, and by nights and afternoon to cross the Snails street, commonly crowded by tourists visiting the commerce, restaurants and places of meeting. The high flow of tourist has influenced local hotels to transform themselves mixing traditional building materials with modern influenced architecture, one of them is Kimal hotel.
Next to the plaza of San Pedro de Atacama it is the Church of San Pedro. Declared National monument, it is located next to the beautiful “cuadra” paved with stones, surrounded by aged peppers, it is the greatest and most beautiful of the region. It is surrounded by a pretty adobe (mire and straw) wall, reconstructed in 1978, presents in its structure three doors crowned by an arc.It is of a single ship, with an sacristy and lateral chapels. The present walls date from 1744 and were restored between 1839 and 1843, after a fire. The tower, of 1964, replaced one old one of wood. In the interior, the beams one of sky is of heavy moored beams of carob tree with leather tapes.
Through its four windows a smooth light illuminates the altar and altarpiece in carved stone where there are three rows of chrome plated niches. In February of 2001, allying and 5 of their beautiful sacred images were cruelly burned.
They distribute masses on Sunday to the 11 hours; the celebration of San Pedro and San Pablo is in June 28th and 29th. The more important religious holiday of San Pedro de Atacama is in June 29th when dancers from the villages in the zone salute to the apostle, dancing and making religious representations with colorful clothings.
In front of the church and next to the municipality it is the Artisan Fair of San Pedro de Atacama, which counts on typical products of local artisans with good prices.
Archaeological Museum R.P. Gustavo le Paige S.J. installed in a modern building that has an octagonal central hall and long ships of exhibition. The sample illustrates the evolution of the towns that populated the Atacameño Territory in their eleven thousand years of development. It exhibits objects of great beauty, selected of his collection of more than 380 thousand archaeological pieces.The exhibition excel on pottery in its different evolutionary stages, the clothes and the domestic objects of ornaments.
Its schedule is of Monday to Friday, 9 am to 12 pm and 14 to 18 hours. Holidays, Saturdays and Sundays from 10 am to 12 pm and of 14 to 18 hours. The entrance is for $2,000 Chilean pesos students and children $1,000, for minors of 12 years and atacameños, is free.
The Incaica House is the oldest construction of the town of San Pedro de Atacama. Mainly constructed with trunks beams , branches and straw. In the interior it has a heavy stone wall that divides it and that is crossed by doors of trapezoidal form, very typical of the Inca architecture. It is not possible to visit it, due to badly condition of his ceiling.
San Pedro de Atacama hotels and hostels provide great comfort for visitors, camping, pubs, restaurants and great supply of Receptive Tourism are expecting to satisfy your needs. You’ll find medical center, post office, phones, fax, customs, civil registration, Carabineros (police department) international police, gas station, exchange house money and tourist information.
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