San Pedro do Atacama is an amazing small city in the middle of the Atacama’s desert, full of backpackers from everywhere. The Atacama is the driest desert in then world, and also one of the best places to observe the sky (search for Alma’s project if you like it). There are tours specifically to observe and study the sky, a famous one is one of a French guy, who went some years ago to visit the city, fell in love with a local girl and never left the city.
We stayed in the Jouriques Hostel, 10 minutes walking from the main plaza, for this reason cheaper than the average (8 chilean pesos per night, the average is 12). The place was ok, hot shower, wifi, confortable beds and lockers in the room. The city offers lots of tours, to Vale de la Muerte, Luna, lagunas, geisers, sandboarding, bike rides, etc. As we were coming from the Uyuni, we decided to don’t do the Salar de Tara (smaller than Uyuni) and the Lagunas Altiplanicas (i heard it is beautiful, but not very different of the ones in the Uyuni’s tour). We did two tours: 1) Vale de la Luna+Vale de la Muerte+Tres Marias+Minas de sal (very nice, amazing sightseeings, we paid 8.000 pesos + 2.000 pesos as entrance in the park) and 2) Ojos de Salar+Laguna Cejar+Salar (Salar and Laguna Cejar incredible, the Laguna Cejar has a high density of salt in the water, so you can’t sink! You can also swin in Ojos de Salar, nothing special though. We paid 10.000 pesos plus 4.000 as park entrance, psico sour and snacks in the sunset included). Another nice thing to do is renting a bike (3.000 pesos for 6 hours, try the same agency you’ve booked the tours to get better prices) and go to Pukara Quitor and get lost in the desert. You don’t need a guide or tour to do that.