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San Pedro de Atacama

Climbing away from the coast and back into the Atacama, I’m headed for San Pedro, a small mud brick town in the shadow of Vulcán Licancabur, a volcano in the Andes range.

The day is clear and crisp, and the ride reminds me somewhat of riding the Desert Road in New Zealand with its backdrop of volcanos.

In the early afternoon I drop down into a valley of weird and wonderful landscape and rock formations, and the town of San Pedro de Atacama.

San Pedro is very touristy with lots of accommodation, and I choose a small hostel close to the town centre. After my experience in Antofagasta I’m looking for a comfy bed and a good shower, and this place meets my needs perfectly.

I spend a very pleasant couple of days here enjoying the eclectic hippy vibe and the great little cafes and restaurants.

The town is home to lots of tour operators and shops offering memorabilia and their touts are positioned outside on the streets. Surprisingly they are very polite and don’t approach unless you show interest, and always have a ‘Buenos Dias senior’ for me.

Here too there are lots of dogs out on the streets (this seems to be a South American thing, pretty disgusting actually as they crap anywhere).

At least here the dogs look well fed, unlike some I’ve seen elsewhere, and this guy caught my eye, warming himself in the morning sun.

I was intrigued by this sign on a wall:

If I ever felt the need, it would be here that I sought salvation.

Just walking the streets in San Pedro is a treat. There are lots of characters out and about.

The guitar player played a mean Carlos Santana, and I don’t know what to say about Llama guy, he just seemed to enjoy walking his llama...

I retired early as the late sun was setting on Vulcán Licancobur.

Early the next day I crept out of San Pedro as the sun crept over the Andes, heading north.

I have a big day ahead, including a high mountain pass and a border crossing into Bolivia.


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