San Pedro de Atacama: Site possible without tours?
Replies: 6 - Last Post: Mar 18, 2013 1:24 PM Last Post By: sadyellow
Mar 16, 2013 9:08 AM
San Pedro de Atacama: Site possible without tours?My boyfriend and I just arrived to SP de Atacama. We are travelling on a tight budget and were wondering if the sights nearby are accessible without tour groups. We intend on taking a guided tour to the salt flats, but is it possible to take taxis to sites such as the geysers, Valle de Luna, and the salt lake? It seems that for these destinations the only plus side to having a group would be the included meals and drinks which we would gladly skip if we could access these sites ourselves for cheaper. Thanks in advance!!
Mar 16, 2013 9:25 AM
Mar 16, 2013 2:43 PM
2Taxis will be more expensive than tours to all the sites you listed.
I had my own transport, but took the tour to the geysers to save myself bumping along in the dark early in the morning. I don't remember any food or drinks being provided--perhaps you're looking at a more luxurious option than the basic ones available?
Mar 17, 2013 10:24 AM
3There was a very basic breakfast included in the tour to the geysers, but not much of a luxury. Not that you'd be interested in an extensive breakfast buffet at 6 in the morning and -10C, but anyway....
Agree with the above, a taxi is probably not going to be any cheaper than the tours.
You can cycle to the salt lake (the one you can float in), and possibly also to the valle de luna (not sure), so renting a bike for a day or two might be a slightly cheaper option for those 2, but I think the only feasible way of seeing the geysers is going with a tour.
Mar 17, 2013 1:38 PM
Mar 17, 2013 2:26 PM
5San Pedro is inundated with mountain bike rental places, so as long as you are of a reasonable level of fitness then many places are within reach.
Valle de la luna is roughly 12 miles away and fairly level ground. Valle de la muerte (death valley) is only a few miles away and so well within reach for most. There is also a place called El Tunnel I think which is an interesting passageway through the mountainside - the views from here are particularly spectacular.
I never cycled to the El Tatio geysers, partly due to distance (some 40 miles away) and the amount of water you would need to carry on your back. The somewhat overbearing dryness of the atmosphere in these parts means liquid intake is incredibly high when cycling, and you certainly don't want to be running out of water when miles from San Pedro.
Plan carefully and I'd definitely advise cycling the area over guided tours. An exception to this is the stargazing tours which I'd definitely recommend ....
Mar 18, 2013 1:24 PM
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