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Discovering the history of San Pedro de Atacama

San Pedro de Atacama was a pre-Columbian stopping point on the route to the coast. The town was visited by Pedro de Valdivia, a Spanish conquistador, and became the main stop on cattle drives in the early 20th century.

Many Atacameños continue to farm and reside in small ayllus communities. To sustain themselves through agriculture, they employ an irrigation technique inherited from the Tiwanaku culture of modern-day Bolivia.

One of the most important figures in the San Pedro de Atacama region was the priest Gustavo Le Paige, who dedicated years of his life to researching and studying the Atacameño culture.

Hailing from Belgium, the priest arrived in San Pedro de Atacama and recognized the remarkable archaeological prospects of the area. In 1955, the Jesuit priest made San Pedro his home and, alongside his colleagues, established the inaugural museum within his parish house two years later.

Until 2014, tourists could visit a museum in San Pedro de Atacama that housed an exceptional collection of artifacts, including mummies unearthed by Le Paige. However, the museum underwent a two-year renovation and remains closed since then.

Responsibility

The Atacama Desert’s stunning beauty and unique scenery are attracting a growing number of global travelers.

Due to its proximity and ease of access from Chile, Brazilians are among the most frequent arrivals. During high season or holidays, the number of travelers increases exponentially.

Traveling responsibly and respecting local customs and traditions is not only a sign of respect, but also ensures a warm welcome anywhere.

Nightlife in Atacama

Dancing in the bars of San Pedro de Atacama is forbidden due to a curious rule. However, this restriction is not solely based on cultural grounds. The Carabineros de Chile strictly regulate the schedules and rules in order to show respect for the entire community and accommodate the early sunrise tours in Atacama.

If a bar exceeds its closing time or if people transform the night into a dance party, it’s evident that the police will arrive and everyone will promptly comply with the rules.

Responsible traveler

While it is unnecessary to dwell on this matter, it is crucial to reiterate the following: refrain from discarding waste in natural environments and, whenever feasible, collect any items encountered during your journey. Additionally, it is imperative to respect others’ privacy by seeking permission before capturing photographs, applicable to individuals of all ages.

It’s also worth pointing out that water in the desert, as you can imagine, is scarce. Avoid wasting water and control the length of your shower. These are small details that make a big difference in a destination like this.

Have your hotel reservation ready

It’s very important that you arrive at your destination with a hotel booked. This will not only help with transportation to the town but also with immigration into Chile. The inspectors usually ask you for your accommodation details at the airport in Santiago, so make sure you have your reservation on hand.

We recommend the Booking.com for secure bookings at great prices. Remember that every time you book your stay through our links, you contribute to our work.

Book your hotel in San Pedro de Atacama

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