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San Pedro de Atacama


San Pedro was once a pre-Columbian pit stop on the trading route from the highlands to the coast. It was visited by Pedro de Valdivia in 1540, and the town later became a major stop on early 20th-century cattle drives from Argentina to the nitrate oficinas of the desert.

Locals still practice irrigated farming in the ayllus (a-ee-oos; small indigenous communities). Many still farm on terraces over a thousand years old.