Welcome to San Pedro de Atacama
The popularity of this adobe precordillera oasis stems from its position in the heart of some of northern Chile's most spectacular scenery. A short drive away lies the country's largest salt flat, its edges crinkled by volcanoes (symmetrical Licancábur, at 5916m, looms closest to the village). Here too are fields of steaming geysers, a host of otherworldly rock formations and weird layer-cake landscapes.
San Pedro itself, 106km southeast of Calama via paved Chile 23, is quite small, but it attracts hordes of travelers. Despite the high prices and tourist-agency touts, there's undeniable allure to this desert village with its picturesque adobe streets, laid-back residents and music-filled eateries.