Even if museums aren't your thing, make an exception for San Pedro's superb Museo Gustavo Le Paige. The Atacama is nirvana for archaeologists because of its nearly rainless environment, which preserves artifacts for millennia. And so this octagonal museum is packed with such fascinating finds as well-preserved ceramics and textiles, and an extraordinary collection of shamanic paraphernalia for preparing, ingesting and smoking hallucinogenic plants.

Detailed English and Spanish explanations follow the region's evolution through the earliest cultures to the Inka conquest and the Spanish invasion. No opportunity is lost to link information with surrounding archaeological sites, including Pukará de Quitor and Aldea de Tulor.

The credit for this excellent museum goes principally to the Belgian priest and amateur archaeologist after whom it is named. Father Gustavo Le Paige arrived as a priest in San Pedro in 1955, and dedicated the next 35 years of his life to collecting ancient artifacts from the area. His statue now stands outside and a small exhibit is dedicated to him within.

There are 45-minute guided tours a few times daily Tuesday to Sunday (CH$1800), in various languages. Temporary exhibits in the back section change every few months.