San Pedro de Atacama was 100% the highlight of Chile for me. It’s a massive desert in the middle of nowhere and its crazy dry conditions make it one of the best places in the world for star gazing and a location absolutely full of unique scenery.
Unfortunately the town itself exists solely for tourism, but if you can get past the hustle from the bajillions of tour agencies and the fact that you’re corralled everywhere in a Gringo van this place is seriously amazing.
I did the following:
- I went star gazing with international astronomers, marveling at how insane the Milky Way looks from here (also all the constellations are upside down. Really threw me off for a second…).
- I visited the Moon Valley, a valley resembling…well…the moon, and a place where NASA once tested their instruments because its conditions are so similar to Mars.
- I watched the sun rise at the crazy high El Tatio geysers, nearly shivering to death at the second largest geyser field in the world.
- I swam (more like flailed) in Laguna Cejar, a lake with such high salt content that you float.
- I took a lot of photos.
San Pedro de Atacama: The Driest Place On Earth.