Pukará de Quitor

San Pedro de Atacama Region

Dominating a curvaceous promontory over the Río San Pedro, this crumbling 12th-century pukará (fort) was one of the last bastions against Pedro de Valdivia and the Spanish in northern Chile. The indigenous forces fought bravely, but were overcome and many were promptly beheaded. About 100 defensive enclosures hug the slopes here, like big stone bird's nests. The hilltop commands an impressive view of the oasis.

The fort is just 3.5km northwest of San Pedro, and easily accessible on foot, by bike or by vehicle. Note that the mirador (lookout) closes at 6pm.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby San Pedro de Atacama Region attractions

1. Valle de la Muerte

1.68 MILES

Around 3.5km west of San Pedro, this striking valley should figure high on any itinerary to the region, with jagged rocks, a towering sand dune and…

2. Iglesia San Pedro

1.78 MILES

The recently restored Iglesia San Pedro is a delightful little colonial church built with indigenous or artisanal materials: chunky adobe walls and roof,…

3. Reserva Nacional Los Flamencos

5.01 MILES

The big draw of San Pedro is this magnificent reserve that covers some 74,000 hectares. It's divided into seven geographically distinct sectors south,…

4. Valle de la Luna

5.37 MILES

Watching the sun set from the exquisite Valley of the Moon is an unforgettable experience. From atop a giant sand dune, you can drink in spectacular views…

5. Aldea de Tulor

5.63 MILES

Circular adobe structures huddle together like muddy bubble-wrap in the ruins of Tulor, the oldest excavated village in the region. It’s an interesting…

6. Laguna Cejar

11.59 MILES

San Pedro has its own mini version of the Dead Sea, a mere 22km south of the village. This topaz-colored lake allows you to float effortlessly because of…

7. Termas de Puritama

16.11 MILES

These idyllic volcanic hot springs puddle together in a box canyon, about 30km northeast of San Pedro en route to El Tatio. Their temperature is about 33…

8. Quebrada de Jere

25.06 MILES

A patch of green among the desert landscape, this long, narrow gorge is a favorite for hikers, swimmers and rock climbers.