San Pedro de Atacama, Chilé

Dunes, Geysers, Rock Formations and Star Gazing
Outside of Patagonia, San Pedro is one of Chilé’s most popular outdoor destinations. It reminds me a bit of the area around the Grand Canyon, but add in some sand dunes and geysers and a bonus of amazing star gazing. Due to various factors, I decided to limit my tours here to just one, the Valley of the Moon which was both the cheapest tour and the most popular. Part of my decision was based on saving money for later activities like Patagonia and in part due to my having seen similar things before (ie geysers in Yellowstone Park).


Ice crystal halo (really difficult to photograph)

Ice Crystal Halo/Rainbow
I did witness a very rare phenomenon know as an “ice crystal halo.” When I first saw it I thought it was some freaky type of rainbow. The sun was high in the sky and surrounded by a faint double circle going full 360 around the sun (one inside the other). However, at the top, there was an inverted rainbow going the opposite direction (like a rainbow smile). It was impossible to get a photo of the whole thing (I tried to take dozens of photos but the sun was constantly blowing out the images).

Costs in San Pedro de Atacama
Costs are a bit higher in Chilé than they were in Peru, but still lower than most of the USA. Below is a break down:

  • Hostel: $13/night (shared dorm).
  • Food: $8 meal for lunch or dinner (I opted to buy groceries and cook here to save money)
  • Valley of the Moon Tour: $12


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