On the last day of 2013, we are giving you yet another great insight into the hints, tips and recommendations from our travel specialists’ favorite destinations in Central & South America. Providing out of this world travel services, it is therefore fitting that our travel expert, Alex from Texas in the United States chose San Pedro de Atacama as her favorite destination. Working from our Buenos Aires office, Alex is pleased to have the wonderful destination of San Pedro de Atacama just next door in Chile; find out more about this incredible Chilean destination and why Alex chose it as her favorite destination!
Hi Alex! What is your favorite Central or South America destination and why?
Hey! By far my favorite destination in Central & South America is the San Pedro de Atacama Desert in Chile.
“With such an interesting and diverse landscape, I love exploring the desert environment whether it is by day or by night.” – Alex Radtke
There is so much to enjoy and take advantage of, whether visiting the geysers, star gazing at night or going sand boarding in the dunes. The Atacama Desert is definitely a destination you should include in your South America travel itinerary!
What is your favorite activity or tour to do whilst in San Pedro de Atacama?
I love visiting Moon Valley during the day as it has such an interesting landscape and environment that you really feel you are visiting a foreign planet!
The various stone and sand formations which have been carved by wind and water make for incredible photos as the sun hits this colorful landscape.
As one of the driest places in the world, there are a number of dry lakes where the natural salts makes a beautiful white covering on the ground. There are also a great variety of caverns to explore! After finishing a tour of this stunning area, there is nothing better than watching one of the best sunsets in South America as the sun begins to set over Death Valley casting beautiful reds and oranges over the desert.
What is your favorite dish from San Pedro de Atacama?
The giant Chilean empanadas which are the original hot pocket meal are the perfect snacks after a full day exploring San Pedro de Atacama. With a wide range of fillings, make sure to get a good mixture to take on your tour of Moon Valley or whilst enjoying the varied landscapes of this incredible destination.
Where is your favorite place to stay in San Pedro de Atacama?
The Alto Atacama Desert Lodge & Spa is one of the best and spectacular places to stay in San Pedro de Atacama. It is completely enveloped by natural surroundings, blending seamlessly into its environment and appears as though it is part of the terracotta-colored ridge that rises behind it. The hotel’s setting, sweeping views, the tranquility and silence of its location, and the Alto Atacama Desert Lodge’s wonderful outdoor lounge spaces make it unlike any other hotel in the region.
What would you say is the one place travelers to San Pedro de Atacama have to see, do or try?
The El Tatio Geysers are the highest geysers in the world and this unique environment makes you feel like you’re on another planet! El Tatio is surrounding by volcanoes and has over 80 gurgling geysers and a hundred gassy fumaroles. This impressive natural display is a once in a lifetime exclusive experience and one that should not be missed!
What would be your one travel expert piece of advice to give to travelers going to San Pedro de Atacama?
Even though the Atacama is located next to the huge body of water of the Pacific Ocean, it is one of the driest places in the world! This means that whilst visiting the Desert and all of its wonders, the heat and dry air can be taxing so make sure to space out your tours. It is also important, more so than in other destinations, to stay well hydrated!
Where in Central/South America is next on your list for places you want to visit and why?
Torres del Paine in Chilean Patagonia is next on my list! I’ve not been that far south yet and hiking inside the park as well as the glacial landscapes are supposed to be incredible and dramatic.
If you had to choose one essential item you always take traveling with you what would it be?
I never travel without my sunglasses as you’ve got to protect your eyes; especially in the Atacama Desert!