software design

Chile: San Pedro de Atacama
20 Feb 2014

San Pedro de Atacama is situated in the world’s driest desert and our bodies knew it - we each easily drank 2-3 litres of water every single day.

Arriving from Bolivia, the prices in San Pedro can be pretty shocking. Everything from the food to the lodging is significantly more expensive than the neighbouring countries of Peru and Bolivia and most of the time seemingly without reason (the quality increase usually didn’t match the price increase).

But getting over the prices we quickly found that San Pedro had a metric shit ton of things to do. Seemingly every business in town was at least one of three things: a restaurant, a hostel, and a tour company. There are lake tours and hiking tours and star gazing tours and culinary tours - pretty much everything you could imagine doing in a desert, they’ve got a tour for it.

We ended up deciding to rent bikes and head to the Valle de la Luna for an afternoon, after which we went on a stargazing tour.

The stargazing tour was amazing (we’d been looking forward to seeing the stars really well at some point on our tour). After some in-depth astronomical history our guide took us over to the dozen or so telescopes they had set up to point at various interesting points in the sky. For me the most memorable moment was looking through the satellite looking at Saturn and having a legitimate “holy shit” moment when I realized I could see the rings of Saturn. And not a picture of the rings, the true, shining light being reflected from the sun, off the planet, travelling billions of miles through our solar system and arriving on my iris through the telescope. Wow.

During our stay in San Pedro we ate nearly every meal at what we considered to be the best deal for quality of food and cost: Barros. Every dish we ordered there was delicious and they also had live music every night.

The other memorable part of our San Pedro stay were the desert parties that a we went to. We ended up going to two, back-to-back, on the first and second nights there and they were a blast. After being driven on the back of a pickup truck to who knows where we would be dropped off in the middle of a field where they’d set up a sound system, bar, and fire pit. The first night we went was definitely smaller than the second, but on both nights the places were fairly busy and the DJs played mostly crossover-style (reggaeton, then electronic, then 80s music, and back to reggaeton). Everyone we met at the parties were super friendly and most of them from Chile (the beginning of a good trend of experiences with Chileans).

Having sufficiently absorbed as much as we could from San Pedro, we headed southwards toward our ultimate South America destination: Santiago. First stop: Caldera!


Feb 20, 2014

from Atacama Desert, Bolivia


Feb 24, 2014

to Caldera, Chile

Weather (Celcius)

Elevation (m)

Travel Planning: San Pedro de Atacama, Chile

Friday, December 06, 2013 17:38


Desert in the north of the country. Giant hand statue that attracts many visitors. One of the best places in the world to observe the galaxy through a telescope.

Getting Out

Bus schedule website


  • Busses leave at 7PM and arrive at 5:15AM on Turbus and cost 21,100/34,700, depending on comfort level.
  • 25,000 for cama bus andesmar to Copiaca, and then an hour more to Caldera.


Hostal Tuyasto

Hostal Campo Base

Hostel Rural

Hostal Candelaria

Backpackers San Pedro


Thursday, February 20, 2014 11:03

Shitty expensive food. Had plastic in our soup.

Hostal Rural

Thursday, February 20, 2014 15:36

Where we’re staying tonight. Holy shit it’s expensive ($18 (10,000 CLP) for small dorm beds, and this after we negotiated down from 12,000).


Thursday, February 20, 2014 21:44

Had relatively cheap (3500 CLP) and relatively tasty dinner here.

Live Music

Thursday, February 20, 2014 22:34

While we were eating at Barros they had a live band playing Chilean music.

Desert Party

Friday, February 21, 2014 01:00

Friday, February 21, 2014 12:46

Unnamed Lunch Place

Friday, February 21, 2014 14:18

Had decent food but just as expensive as everywhere else. Down the street from Barros.

Sol Inti

Friday, February 21, 2014 22:32

Ok food for expensive prices.

Hostal La Florida

Friday, February 21, 2014 22:49

We stayed here for the rest of our time in San Pedro at 10,000 CLP a night in dorms.

Saturday, February 22, 2014 00:38

Desert Art

Saturday, February 22, 2014 01:23

Desert Party #2

Saturday, February 22, 2014 02:16

Saturday, February 22, 2014 02:36

Castillo de Molina

Saturday, February 22, 2014 12:02

Cafe near the plaza.

Saturday, February 22, 2014 12:48

Disgruntled Robot

Sunday, February 23, 2014 00:53

Saw this machine inside the house at the astronomy tour.

Sunday, February 23, 2014 13:33

Sunday, February 23, 2014 15:47

An Outlet in our Hostel

Sunday, February 23, 2014 23:45

H2O Cafe

Monday, February 24, 2014 13:21

Really good quiche.

Bussing from San Pedro de Atacama to Caldera

Monday, February 24, 2014 18:42
6:15PMLeft Hostal Florida by foot.
6:34PMArrived at the bus terminal.
7:06PMAnd we’re off!
8:49PMStopping in Calama.
9:01PMMoving again.
5:28AMArrived in Caldera.
5:30AMIn a cab.
5:42AMFound a hotel near the main square.
Total bus time10:22

Food on the Bus

Monday, February 24, 2014 21:28


Feb 20, 2014

from Atacama Desert, Bolivia


Feb 24, 2014

to Caldera, Chile