San Pedro de Atacama - Head SOUTH to explore breath-taking spots

Do you want to explore a desert? Or rather some salt flats? Or maybe you want to bathe in hot springs, observe flamingos, or marvel at some geysers? 

Well, San Pedro de Atacama is the perfect base for all of that and much more. 

This small mountain town, located in northeastern Chile on a 2.500 meters high plateau in the Andes, is surrounded by some of the most dramatic landscapes I have ever seen. In this blog series I share my favourite spots around San Pedro de Atacama, including a few tips on how to combine them on daytrips and on how to avoid the tourist crowds. 

Laguna Chaxa 

We saw lots of cute Alpacas on the way to the lagune. The locals use their wool to make warm sweaters and blankets.

 Amazing colors on the Salar the Atacama 

The walkway leading through the salt crust to the laguna is taken care of by the indigenous community in charge of this area

 A lot of flamingos can be seen at Laguna Chaxa. 

They feed on  tiny shrimps and algae which turn their feathers pink.

Lagunas Miscanti and Miniques

The road to these lagunas is spectacular. It’s mostly paved, except for the last 8km of gravel road which is still good enough to be driven by any car. 

You’ll pass by many volcanos and these funny looking grassy bushes which paint the hills yellow. 
Laguna Miscanti on over 4.000 meters above sea level, the highest altitude I have ever been at. 

I felt a light headache when driving up there. Make sure to stay hydrated to avoid altitude sickness. In town you can also find lots of natural remedies such as Coca tea and candies to help you deal with the altitude.

 Laguna Miniques, just a few hundred meters further 

These 3 lagunas can easily be visited in a day with your own vehicle. You could even drive further towards Passo Sico to see the Pedras Rojas. Another interesting stop between the lagunas and San Pedro is the little village Toconao. 

The little church on Toconao’s main square.

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