This is a really cool town that is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. When I first arrived, I was intrigued by the charm of the little town located in the worlds driest desert; dusty streets, mud-slabbed buildings and unique hostels. However, I didn’t realize that this place had a lot more to offer than what meets the eye. So here are a few things you can do while visiting this unique and charming little town.
This was a ton of fun. Unlike other sandboarding adventures in South America, this place had actual boards with proper bindings so you could really “shred some serious gnarrrrrrrrr”. Another great thing about this was the sand dune where you do the sandboarding gradually increased in height so you could try it at any level you were comfortable with. You spend roughly 2 hours at the dune, so you can work your way up to the highest point if you’re feeling up to it! There are 2 options for doing this activity. You could rent boards and rent bikes and bike over to the dunes yourself (roughly 1 hr bike each way) or you can go with a group and they’ll bus you over and provide all the boards. The company we used was Sandboard San Pedro, and I would definitely recommend them!
Listen to Live Music at a Small Local Bar
After spending three days completely off the grid, I was craving a little social activity. As my friend and I left the hostel, I soon realized this might not be the town for me to get the fix I was craving. I was about to give up when I heard live music coming from around the corner. Following the sound was pretty easy because it was literally the ONLY thing happening in this town. As I turned the corner though I found at least 3 small bars playing live music! Since there isn’t much for night life, all three bars were jam-packed and it was such a great time. So moral of the story: the town isn’t that big.. just start walking until you hear the music!
Fun Fact: The Atacama Desert is one of the best places on earth for astronomers. With no light pollution and clear skies 95% of the time, you’re pretty much always guaranteed a view of the stars that you won’t believe! There are tours that take you deep into the dessert and let you look through some of the world’s most powerful telescopes! Be warned: its freggin COLD. So dress warm.
Bike through Valle de Luna
The English translation is “Moon Valley” and honestly, when you see this place you’ll understand why. Surrounding the small town of San Pedro de Atacama, is strangest landscape I have ever seen. I remember telling my friend (yeah you Tia), that I felt like I was on another planet! And what better way to explore this wonderfully strange place but by bike! Rent a bike in town and go for a 30km bike ride that you definitely won’t forget.
Go Paragliding in Iquique
Ok so Iquique is a couple hours north of San Pedro de Atacama, but while you’re there you HAVE the check out Iquique. This cool little coastal town it super unique. Sandwiched between the ocean and massive sand dunes, this place is another landscape that will be sure leave a lasting impression. Hangout out at the beach, rent a surf board and head into the water….. BUT if you’re really looking for a good time GO PARAGLIDING. Seriously, don’t miss out on this opportunity. Iquique is world renowned for having the best paragliding in the world. With its unique geography (between massive sand dunes and ocean) you get the most consistent weather for awesome paragliding. These people are pro’s that are able to fly 365 days a year so no need to be worried.