San Pedro de Atacama, Chile

São Pedro de Atacama: an Adobe Life in the Most Arid of Deserts


terrace under arcades
Travelers rest in a makeshift café amid the narrow arcades of the Plaza de Armas.
Grandfather and granddaughter
Grandfather takes care of a granddaughter and, at the same time, of his souvenir shop.
street talk
Residents chat on one of the always sunny terraces next to Plaza de Armas.
Rider
Cavaleiro poses just before leaving for a ride around San Pedro
equine talk
Horses coexist in the stable of the Explora hotel.
Almost there
Traveler-cyclist approaches San Pedro de Atacama.
Old Fashioned Post
Old mailbox, perfectly integrated into the town's historic setting.
Vaquero Fashion
Detail of the riding costume worn by a knight in San Pedro.
Hotel Explore
Lobby of the Explora hotel (an old stable) lit in the twilight.
The Botica
Pharmacist at the door of the pharmacy in São Pedro, also installed in a typical house.
bike for two
Residents cross the Plaza de Armas in an original cyclist mode.
adobe fashion
A native of St. Peter, protected from the mid-afternoon sun with a straw hat.
twilight of St. Peter
Resident rests in a lighted and preserved street in the pueblo.
Oriana Soza
Native to the counter of a grocery store away from the main streets of the village.
Direction to Tocopilla
Indication of house numbers on an unpainted adobe frame.
Atacama architecture
The white tower of the secular church of Sã Pedro, highlighted in the Plaza de Armas.
street life
Residents and visitors meet on one of the pueblo's several adobe streets.
The Spanish conquerors had departed and the convoy diverted the cattle and nitrate caravans. San Pedro regained peace but a horde of outsiders discovering South America invaded the pueblo.

We made our way down another tight adobe alley when we were confronted by a procession coming from another dark alley.

It progresses at a short pace, slowed down by the weight of the stilts that carry Christs and Virgin Marys on foot.Stunning orth. At least, if you take into account the size of the village.

The procession is animated by high-pitched chants, performed by hundreds of torch-lit devotees.

At the front, there's an unlikely combination of village butts hidden behind black veils and curious foreigners walking in shorts and sandals.

Taking into account the slowness, he promises to take the entire morning to travel through San Pedro and reach the homonymous church. For foreigners, that doesn't matter.

The Tower, San Pedro Atacama, Chile

The white tower of the secular church of Sã Pedro, highlighted in the Plaza de Armas.

As soon as Calle Caracoles is free, for lack of belief, they indulge in dinner.

Shortly after, to beer Austral and Pisco Sour, the queen drinks of Chile, perfect to brighten the narrative of your travel stories, the exact and the exaggerated, and the night in general.

San Pedro Atacama Street, Chile

Resident rests in a lighted and preserved street in the pueblo.

Once the ceremony is over, the animation quickly spreads to calle Gustavo Le Paige. The baptism of this alley honored a Jesuit missionary of Belgian origin who settled in San Pedro in 1955.

Like so many other outsiders, Le Paige fell in love with the simple life of the village and its Atacama past. In fact, he became one of those responsible for preserving the faith and the religious manifestation we had just witnessed.

From Atacamas to railroad that Carried Nitrate

The oasis that welcomed it was initially occupied, around 11.000 years ago, by the Atacamas, the first people to settle in areas irrigated by rivers or aquifers in the puna and the desert ravines.

After conquering the area from the Incas – who had taken over it in the meantime – the Spanish colonists erected São Pedro de Atacama. In 1540, Peter of Valdivia: conquistador from these parts of South America visited it.

Bicycle Plaza de Armas, San Pedro Atacama, Chile

Residents cross the Plaza de Armas in an original cyclist mode.

The village enjoyed a prosperous peace, as an obligatory stop for the cattle and nitrate caravans that linked the Offices from the highlands of the Andes to the plains of the Atacama Desert and to the Pacific coast.

This substance would later be exported around the world. also for Portugal. Chile's famous Nitrate fertilizer quickly proved essential to good crop performance.

While it spread through the Portuguese subsoil, its brand image of the black knight invaded the surface in posters and bags of the product. In fact, throughout the country, various panels of the brand, painted on tiles, survive.

The introduction of the railway across the Andes closer ones caused the decline of São Pedro de Atacama. The town only won as a favorite holiday destination for Chileans.

In the meantime, it began to attract foreign visitors, surrendered to its stunning colonial architecture and peaceful, welcoming atmosphere.

The Gringo Invasion

As Maurício Aguero, Santiago de Chile guide, explains: “… the Atacama desert became irresistible to the adventurous inhabitants of the Chilean capital and, around 1970, an international horde of travelers who had already explored the town took over. several stops nearby: Salta and Jujuy, Argentina, the Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia, Cusco in Peru and so many others – and I was looking for new fascinations”.

Esplanade, San Pedro Atacama, Chile

Travelers rest in a makeshift café amid the narrow arcades of the Plaza de Armas.

After a few years, there were already several bars, restaurants and inns opened in houses and other typical buildings.

Tourism is here to stay and dominate. After the donkey and horse caravans, the village became an obligatory stop on the backpacker routes to discover Andean South America.

Today, outsiders number in the thousands. This invasion has subsidized and disturbed, for a long time, the secular way of life of the Atacameños.

Street Life, San Pedro Atacama, Chile

Residents and visitors meet on one of the pueblo's several adobe streets.

During the day, the situation is still manageable. Most gringos are absent from San Pedro, which adopts the slow pace of its inhabitants.

Women talk at the door of the local pharmacy, kids play barefoot in the mud around the dimples, elderly people cycle on their way to their orchards, just outside the village.

Everything happens without haste or confusion.

As Calles and alleys of San Pedro de Atacama

On sunset, foreigners return from dispatches of the day. they cluster south of the Plaza de Armas, on Caracoles, the alley that is central to San Pedro's nightlife.

There, in some parallels and perpendiculars, the bars, restaurants and shops of souvenirs shop do a bit of everything to attract more customers.

They create bright decorations, install indoor fireplaces and stages where they welcome Chilean musicians and, when appropriate, from other parts of the world.

Street Talk, San Pedro Atacama, Chile

Residents chat on one of the always sunny terraces next to Plaza de Armas.

They also turn up the sound volume as much as they can and keep exuberant recruiters diverting hungry or thirsty passersby to their establishments.

The spectrum of tourists is now much broader than it was a few decades ago. The strong evolution of the Chilean economy provided the region with better access and conditions.

Suddenly, San Pedro and the Atacama Desert are no longer the exclusive territory of indigenous people and backpackers, who are used to suffering to discover.

Luxury hotels such as Explora and Larache and their wealthy customers also arrived. The under-35 travelers were joined by others, with more age, money and whims of comfort and refinement to match.

Explora, San Pedro Atacama, Chile

Lobby of the Explora hotel (an old stable) lit in the twilight.

San Pedro de Atacama. An entire Adobe Colonial City

Despite the invasion of outsiders, in architectural terms, this town situated at 2436 meters above sea level, it retains the original rustic feel generated by the hispanic settlers.

One-story and arranged in a geometric pattern, its houses preserve the adobe on which they were built. Sometimes it appears raw, sometimes whitewashed.

Sometimes, we see it whitewashed but “decorated” by brown stripes produced by the running of water from the mud roofs on any such special day when it rained.

Tocopilla, San Pedro Atacama, Chile

Indication of house numbers on an unpainted adobe frame.

Door and window frames are almost always bright and contrast with the earth tones that surround them. Interiors range from spartan to lounge decor, depending on the creativity and possessions of the owners.

The unpaved streets are interconnected around the Plaza de Armas, the square from which the city's religious and political buildings stand out, solemnly represented by the church of San Pedro, the Casa Incaica (specially built for Valdivia's visit) and the Cabildo.

Bicycle Plaza de Armas, San Pedro Atacama, Chile

Residents cross the Plaza de Armas in an original cyclist mode.

San Pedro's Stunning Commercial and Rural Backyards

In the back of the city, under permanent speculative threat, a kind of rural ghettos of indigenous communities resist - the ayules -.

These are vegetable gardens and orchards irrigated by canals in which, to the surprise of many visitors, the water generated by the distant melting of the Andes flows. After all, we were supposed to be in a desert.

Resident, San Pedro Atacama, Chile

A native of St. Peter, protected from the mid-afternoon sun with a straw hat.

The permanent population of São Pedro de Atacama is around 5000 inhabitants.

When we go through the callecitas at the end of the afternoon, it seems much bigger. Countless busy explorers cross and cross over until they finish organizing their programs for the next few days.

On the genuine side of the village, secluded in the alleys furthest from the tourist centre, small grocery stores sell a little bit of everything, from compost bags and nail clippers to used travel guides.

of these stores and picturesque wineries, the pharmacy and the bakery stand out. There we admire women attack and Aymara dark-skinned and slanted eyes commenting on the rumors of the day.

We've strayed further from the center. We ended up buying empanadas at bodega and botilleria San Pedro.

Oriana, San Pedro Atacama, Chile

Native to the counter of a grocery store away from the main streets of the village.

Oriana Soza is very pregnant but still resists the counter. Welcomes us with a mixture of surprise and sympathy. Take the order, hand us the warm package and wish us the typical South American “what are they vaya bien".

We are about to leave the grocery store when the native gains courage and adds "y, señores … hablen de la nuestra bodeguita a los otros gringos, please".

Atacama Desert, Chile

Life on the Edges of the Atacama Desert

When you least expect it, the driest place in the world reveals new extraterrestrial scenarios on a frontier between the inhospitable and the welcoming, the sterile and the fertile that the natives are used to crossing.
El Tatio, Chile

El Tatio Geysers - Between the Ice and the Heat of the Atacama

Surrounded by supreme volcanoes, the geothermal field of El Tatio, in the Atacama Desert it appears as a Dantesque mirage of sulfur and steam at an icy 4200 m altitude. Its geysers and fumaroles attract hordes of travelers.
Death Valley, USA

The Hottest Place Resurrection

Since 1921, Al Aziziyah, in Libya, was considered the hottest place on the planet. But the controversy surrounding the 58th measured there meant that, 99 years later, the title was returned to Death Valley.
White Desert, Egypt

The Egyptian Shortcut to Mars

At a time when conquering the solar system's neighbor has become an obsession, an eastern section of the Sahara Desert is home to a vast related landscape. Instead of the estimated 150 to 300 days to reach Mars, we took off from Cairo and, in just over three hours, we took our first steps into the Oasis of Bahariya. All around, almost everything makes us feel about the longed-for Red Planet.
Easter Island, Chile

The Take-off and Fall of the Bird-Man Cult

Until the XNUMXth century, the natives of Easter Island they carved and worshiped great stone gods. All of a sudden, they started to drop their moai. The veneration of tanatu manu, a half-human, half-sacred leader, decreed after a dramatic competition for an egg.
Damaraland, Namíbia

Namibia On the Rocks

Hundreds of kilometers north of Swakopmund, many more of Swakopmund's iconic dunes Sossuvlei, Damaraland is home to deserts interspersed with hills of reddish rock, the highest mountain and ancient rock art of the young nation. the settlers South Africans they named this region after the Damara, one of the Namibian ethnic groups. Only these and other inhabitants prove that it remains on Earth.
Tataouine, Tunisia

Festival of the Ksour: Sand Castles That Don't Collapse

The ksour were built as fortifications by the Berbers of North Africa. They resisted Arab invasions and centuries of erosion. Every year, the Festival of the Ksour pays them the due homage.
Lüderitz, Namibia

Wilkommen in Africa

Chancellor Bismarck has always disdained overseas possessions. Against his will and all odds, in the middle of the Race for Africa, merchant Adolf Lüderitz forced Germany to take over an inhospitable corner of the continent. The homonymous city prospered and preserves one of the most eccentric heritages of the Germanic empire.
PN Torres del Paine, Chile

The Most Dramatic Patagonia

Nowhere is the southernmost reaches of South America so breathtaking as the Paine Mountains. There, a natural fort of granite colossi surrounded by lakes and glaciers protrudes from the pampa and submits to the whims of meteorology and light.
Dunhuang, China

An Oasis in the China of the Sands

Thousands of kilometers west of Beijing, the Great Wall has its western end and the China and other. An unexpected splash of vegetable green breaks up the arid expanse all around. Announces Dunhuang, formerly crucial outpost on the Silk Road, today an intriguing city at the base of Asia's largest sand dunes.
Rapa Nui - Easter Island, Chile

Under the Moais Watchful Eye

Rapa Nui was discovered by Europeans on Easter Day 1722. But if the Christian name Easter Island makes sense, the civilization that colonized it by observant moais remains shrouded in mystery.
Kolmanskop, Namíbia

Generated by the Diamonds of Namibe, Abandoned to its Sands

It was the discovery of a bountiful diamond field in 1908 that gave rise to the foundation and surreal opulence of Kolmanskop. Less than 50 years later, gemstones have run out. The inhabitants left the village to the desert.
Robinson Crusoe Island, Chile

Alexander Selkirk: in the Skin of the True Robinson Crusoe

The main island of the Juan Fernández archipelago was home to pirates and treasures. His story was made up of adventures like that of Alexander Selkirk, the abandoned sailor who inspired Dafoe's novel
Puerto Natales-Puerto Montt, Chile

Cruise on board a Freighter

After a long begging of backpackers, the Chilean company NAVIMAG decided to admit them on board. Since then, many travelers have explored the Patagonian canals, side by side with containers and livestock.
Villarrica Volcano, Chile

Ascent to the Villarrica Volcano Crater, in Full Activity

Pucón abuses nature's trust and thrives at the foot of the Villarrica mountain. We follow this bad example along icy trails and conquer the crater of one of the most active volcanoes in South America.
Pucón, Chile

Among the Araucarias of La Araucania

At a certain latitude in longline Chile, we enter La Araucanía. This is a rugged Chile, full of volcanoes, lakes, rivers, waterfalls and the coniferous forests from which the region's name grew. And it is the heart of the pine nuts of the largest indigenous ethnic group in the country: the Mapuche.
Serengeti, Great Savannah Migration, Tanzania, wildebeest on river
Safari
Serengeti NP, Tanzania

The Great Migration of the Endless Savanna

In these prairies that the Masai people say syringet (run forever), millions of wildebeests and other herbivores chase the rains. For predators, their arrival and that of the monsoon are the same salvation.
Aurora lights up the Pisang Valley, Nepal.
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit: 3rd- Upper Banana, Nepal

An Unexpected Snowy Aurora

At the first glimmers of light, the sight of the white mantle that had covered the village during the night dazzles us. With one of the toughest walks on the Annapurna Circuit ahead of us, we postponed the match as much as possible. Annoyed, we left Upper Pisang towards Escort when the last snow faded.
Architecture & Design
napier, New Zealand

Back to the 30s – Old-Fashioned Car Tour

In a city rebuilt in Art Deco and with an atmosphere of the "crazy years" and beyond, the adequate means of transportation are the elegant classic automobiles of that era. In Napier, they are everywhere.
Boats on ice, Hailuoto Island, Finland.
Adventure
Hailuoto, Finland

A Refuge in the Gulf of Bothnia

During winter, the island of Hailuoto is connected to the rest of Finland by the country's longest ice road. Most of its 986 inhabitants esteem, above all, the distance that the island grants them.
self-flagellation, passion of christ, philippines
Ceremonies and Festivities
Marinduque, Philippines

The Philippine Passion of Christ

No nation around is Catholic but many Filipinos are not intimidated. In Holy Week, they surrender to the belief inherited from the Spanish colonists. Self-flagellation becomes a bloody test of faith
city ​​hall, capital, oslo, norway
Cities
Oslo, Norway

A Overcapitalized Capital

One of Norway's problems has been deciding how to invest the billions of euros from its record-breaking sovereign wealth fund. But even immoderate resources don't save Oslo from its social inconsistencies.
Meal
World Food

Gastronomy Without Borders or Prejudice

Each people, their recipes and delicacies. In certain cases, the same ones that delight entire nations repel many others. For those who travel the world, the most important ingredient is a very open mind.
Culture
Shows

The World on Stage

All over the world, each nation, region or town and even neighborhood has its own culture. When traveling, nothing is more rewarding than admiring, live and in loco, which makes them unique.
4th of July Fireworks-Seward, Alaska, United States
Sport
Seward, Alaska

The Longest 4th of July

The independence of the United States is celebrated, in Seward, Alaska, in a modest way. Even so, the 4th of July and its celebration seem to have no end.
Chiang Khong to Luang Prabang, Laos, Through the Mekong Below
Traveling
Chiang Khong - Luang Prabang, Laos.

Slow Boat, Down the Mekong River

Laos' beauty and lower cost are good reasons to sail between Chiang Khong and Luang Prabang. But this long descent of the Mekong River can be as exhausting as it is picturesque.
Aswan, Egypt, Nile River meets Black Africa, Elephantine Island
Ethnic
Aswan, Egypt

Where the Nile Welcomes the Black Africa

1200km upstream of its delta, the Nile is no longer navigable. The last of the great Egyptian cities marks the fusion between Arab and Nubian territory. Since its origins in Lake Victoria, the river has given life to countless African peoples with dark complexions.
sunlight photography, sun, lights
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Natural Light (Part 2)

One Sun, So Many Lights

Most travel photos are taken in sunlight. Sunlight and weather form a capricious interaction. Learn how to predict, detect and use at its best.
Yucatan Peninsula, Mérida City, Mexico, Cabildo
History
Mérida, Mexico

The Most Exuberant of Meridas

In 25 BC, the Romans founded Emerita Augusta, capital of Lusitania. The Spanish expansion generated three other Méridas in the world. Of the four, the Yucatan capital is the most colorful and lively, resplendent with Hispanic colonial heritage and multi-ethnic life.
Praia do Penedo, Porto Santo Island, Portugal
Islands
Porto Santo, Portugal

Praised Be the Island of Porto Santo

Discovered during a stormy sea tour, Porto Santo remains a providential shelter. Countless planes that the weather diverts from neighboring Madeira guarantee their landing there. As thousands of vacationers do every year, they surrender to the softness and immensity of the golden beach and the exuberance of the volcanic sceneries.
ala juumajarvi lake, oulanka national park, finland
Winter White
Kuusamo ao PN Oulanka, Finland

Under the Arctic's Icy Spell

We are at 66º North and at the gates of Lapland. In these parts, the white landscape belongs to everyone and to no one like the snow-covered trees, the atrocious cold and the endless night.
silhouette and poem, Cora coralina, Goias Velho, Brazil
Literature
Goiás Velho, Brazil

The Life and Work of a Marginal Writer

Born in Goiás, Ana Lins Bretas spent most of her life far from her castrating family and the city. Returning to its origins, it continued to portray the prejudiced mentality of the Brazilian countryside
Fisherman maneuvers boat near Bonete Beach, Ilhabela, Brazil
Nature
Ilhabela, Brazil

In Ilhabela, on the way to Bonete

A community of caiçaras descendants of pirates founded a village in a corner of Ilhabela. Despite the difficult access, Bonete was discovered and considered one of the ten best beaches in Brazil.
Sheki, Autumn in the Caucasus, Azerbaijan, Autumn Homes
Autumn
Sheki, Azerbaijan

autumn in the caucasus

Lost among the snowy mountains that separate Europe from Asia, Sheki is one of Azerbaijan's most iconic towns. Its largely silky history includes periods of great harshness. When we visited it, autumn pastels added color to a peculiar post-Soviet and Muslim life.
Braga or Braka or Brakra in Nepal
Natural Parks
Annapurna Circuit: 6th – Braga, Nepal

The Ancient Nepal of Braga

Four days of walking later, we slept at 3.519 meters from Braga (Braka). Upon arrival, only the name is familiar to us. Faced with the mystical charm of the town, arranged around one of the oldest and most revered Buddhist monasteries on the Annapurna circuit, we continued our journey there. acclimatization with ascent to Ice Lake (4620m).
Soufrière and Pitons, Saint Luci
UNESCO World Heritage
Soufriere, Saint Lucia

The Great Pyramids of the Antilles

Perched above a lush coastline, the twin peaks Pitons are the hallmark of Saint Lucia. They have become so iconic that they have a place in the highest notes of East Caribbean Dollars. Right next door, residents of the former capital Soufrière know how precious their sight is.
Earp brothers look-alikes and friend Doc Holliday in Tombstone, USA
Characters
tombstone, USA

Tombstone: the City Too Hard to Die

Silver veins discovered at the end of the XNUMXth century made Tombstone a prosperous and conflictive mining center on the frontier of the United States to Mexico. Lawrence Kasdan, Kurt Russell, Kevin Costner and other Hollywood directors and actors made famous the Earp brothers and the bloodthirsty duel of “OK Corral”. The Tombstone, which, over time, has claimed so many lives, is about to last.
Boat and helmsman, Cayo Los Pájaros, Los Haitises, Dominican Republic
Beaches
Samaná PeninsulaLos Haitises National Park Dominican Republic

From the Samaná Peninsula to the Dominican Haitises

In the northeast corner of the Dominican Republic, where Caribbean nature still triumphs, we face an Atlantic much more vigorous than expected in these parts. There we ride on a communal basis to the famous Limón waterfall, cross the bay of Samaná and penetrate the remote and exuberant “land of the mountains” that encloses it.
Boat on the Yellow River, Gansu, China
Religion
Bingling Yes, China

The Canyon of a Thousand Buddhas

For more than a millennium and at least seven dynasties, Chinese devotees have extolled their religious belief with the legacy of sculpture in a remote strait of the Yellow River. If you disembark in the Canyon of Thousand Buddhas, you may not find all the sculptures, but you will find a stunning Buddhist shrine.
Serra do Mar train, Paraná, airy view
On Rails
Curitiba a Morretes, Paraná, Brazil

Down Paraná, on Board the Train Serra do Mar

For more than two centuries, only a winding and narrow road connected Curitiba to the coast. Until, in 1885, a French company opened a 110 km railway. We walked along it to Morretes, the final station for passengers today. 40km from the original coastal terminus of Paranaguá.
Weddings in Jaffa, Israel,
Society
Jaffa, Israel

Where Tel Aviv Settles Always in Party

Tel Aviv is famous for the most intense night in the Middle East. But, if its youngsters are having fun until exhaustion in the clubs along the Mediterranean, it is more and more in the nearby Old Jaffa that they tie the knot.
Fruit sellers, Swarm, Mozambique
Daily life
Enxame Mozambique

Mozambican Fashion Service Area

It is repeated at almost all stops in towns of Mozambique worthy of appearing on maps. The machimbombo (bus) stops and is surrounded by a crowd of eager "businessmen". The products offered can be universal such as water or biscuits or typical of the area. In this region, a few kilometers from Nampula, fruit sales suceeded, in each and every case, quite intense.
Sheep and hikers in Mykines, Faroe Islands
Wildlife
Mykines, Faroe Islands

In the Faeroes FarWest

Mykines establishes the western threshold of the Faroe archipelago. It housed 179 people but the harshness of the retreat got the better of it. Today, only nine souls survive there. When we visit it, we find the island given over to its thousand sheep and the restless colonies of puffins.
Passengers, scenic flights-Southern Alps, New Zealand
Scenic Flights
Aoraki / Mount Cook, New Zealand

The Aeronautical Conquest of the Southern Alps

In 1955, pilot Harry Wigley created a system for taking off and landing on asphalt or snow. Since then, his company has unveiled, from the air, some of the greatest scenery in Oceania.