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San Pedro de Atacama Suggestions
Our first suggestion is to book an all-inclusive package that includes: In and out transfers, accommodation, all meals, wine, and choice of excursions from a “an excursion menu” with educated and informed bilingual guides.
There are now four top-level hotels offering the all-inclusive option as well as some hotels at a level lower.
Consider a 4-night minimum stay at San Pedro de Atacama and take the first day purely as a rest day in order to acclimatise to the high altitude.
It is also important to get a good nights sleep each night and not consume too much alcohol.
Regarding actual excursions, the following are worthy of note:
Toconao Village
Toconao village, with a population of around 700 people, is at 2,475km above sea level and located 38km south of San Pedro de Atacama, sitting on the edge of the vast salt flat “Salar de Atacama”. The geographic landscape that surrounds the village is formidable. The village itself is an oasis, with a sweet water supply free from mineral contamination such as arsenic or acids, and ideal for the cultivation of fruit trees such as pears, plums and quince as well as vegetables. Most buildings are constructed from white, soft liparita stone, quarried locally. Areas of interest are the charming central plaza with a bell tower (built in 1750) and the canyon at the base of the quarry (2km out from the village) where the lush-green vegetation of fruit trees and vegetables, irrigated from the natural water supply, contrast starkly with the completely dry, sandy desert walls.
The Cejas Lagoon
Located in the Salar de Atacama in the northern sector, closer to San Pedro de Atacama, is the Cejas Lagoon. This is a roughly circular opening in the Salar offering a very deep pool of clear, saline water that appears to be “bottomless”. The excessively high salt content provides incredible buoyancy for bathers and is an interesting experience for those who enter. The view of the unbelievably impressive, surrounding landscape whilst bathing is a draw-dropper.
Note: The surrounding edges of the lagoon are made from salt crystals that are sharp and can cut feet, so best to wear bathing shoes. Also, after bathing the salt will be all over your body, so best to wash down with bottled mineral water, or sweet water brought from the hotel.
The Salar de Atacama
The Salar de Atacama is a vast salt plain covering around 8,000km2 in the heart of the Atacama Desert. The road entrance is located about mid-way along the eastern side of the salt plain, approximately 80 km south from San Pedro de Atacama. Within this salt flat is the Chaxa Lagoon, which is within the Los Flamencos National Reserve, home to flocks of pink flamingos and other types of birds, all feeding on microscopic organisms in the shallow waters.
 
Socaire
About 110km south, but in the hills, from San Pedro de Atacama, is the village of Socaire. This is a quiet, very small village (population cerca 400) with a very slow, agricultural-based life style.
 
Miscanti and Menique Lagoons
Located approximately 140km from San Pedro de Atacama, at 4,000m above sea level in the heart of the Andes Mountains are two adjacent lagoons that radiate a vivid blue colour. Dwarfed by two volcano cones at each side, the lagoons offer a haven for birds. On the return journey there is a spectacular view back over the massive Salar de Atacama.

Archaeological Museum
San Pedro is home to a fine archaeological museum named after its founder Gustavo Le Paige – a Belgian Jesuit Priest who came to San Pedro de Atacama in 1955 to run the Parish. Amazed by the plentiful supply of historical artefacts found in the area Gustavo le Paige set about creating a collection of these finely-preserved archaeological pieces for documentation. In 1958 the North Catholic University lent its support and is still administering the museum today. The Museum illustrates the historical evolution of the Atacamanean peoples and the influence that the Tiawanaku, Inca and Spanish cultures brought about. Archaeological specimens in the Museum include ceramics, clothing, engravings, textiles and mummified bodies dating back thousands of years, as well as a relief model of the geography of the zone.
San Pedro de Atacama Church
Declared a National Monument in 1951, the church is built from adobe walls and its ceiling is made from wood of the Cañar and locust tree, and clay then covered over with cactus-wood. It served as a parish in 1641.

Valley of the Moon
Located 19 km from the village of San Pedro de Atacama and a popular tour for practically all visitors is the "Valle de La Luna" (Valley of the Moon), so called because of its resemblance to the surface of the moon.

Other Activities
There are many other places to see and things to do such as horse riding and star gazing.
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