San Pedro de Atacama is a Chilean town located in the Loa Province, II region of Chile called Antofagasta. It is a popular tourist destination. San Pedro de Atacama grew, over centuries, around an oasis in the most arid desert of the world: The Atacama Desert. It is located east of Antofagasta, some 100 km southeast of Calama and the Chuquicamata copper mine, overlooking the Licancabur volcano.
This town is known as the archeological capital of Chile and is located in between the high Lands (Andes Mountain & Altiplano) and the Salt Mountain Range. Situated just on the border with Bolivia this beautiful town is named after its Patron Saint San Pedro (Saint Peter) and the word Atacama, which, according to the ancestors comes from “Accatcha” in the Cunza language and means Head of the Country.
It was conquered by the Incas in 1450 and then by the Spaniards in 1540 becoming a Chilean government seat in 1555.
Downtown San Pedro still preserves the structure and construction of the Spanish colonial influence, antique adobe houses with interior yards and roofs made of clay and hay.
San Pedro’s church is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful churches of the north of Chile. In 1951 it was declared a National Monument. The town lies at an average altitude of approximately 2,400m (7,900 ft) and visitors can sometimes experience mild altitude sickness. The local climate is extremely dry (with little or no rainfall recorded in the town itself) and mild, with daytime temperatures between 25-30 degrees Celsius (77-86°F) in the Summer (December to February) and 18-25 degrees Celsius (64-77°F) in the winter (June to August). Nighttime temperatures routinely drop below zero and can reach as low as –10°C (14°F) during the winter.