THE BEST WAY TO SANTIAGO, CHILE
From LAX, LAN Airlines and COPA offer direct service (stop, no change of plane) to Santiago, and LAN, COPA. American and Delta offer connecting service (change of plane). Restricted round-trip fares begin at $839, excluding taxes and fees. LAN offers connecting service to Calama. Restricted round-trip fares begin at $1,059, excluding taxes and fees. Have your hotel book a shuttle from Calama to San Pedro de Atacama.
To call the numbers below from the U.S., dial 011 (the international dialing code), 56 (country code for Chile) and the local number.
WHERE TO STAY
Alto Atacama desert lodge & spa, Camino Pukara, San Pedro de Atacama; 02-912-3900; http://www.altoatacama.com. The rate for a five-night, six-day stay at this luxury eco-resort starts at $2,009 a person, double occupancy, including airport transportation, guided excursions, all meals and snacks, all beverages and cocktails, lodging, mountain bikes and access to pools and spa. The B&B rate, with breakfast, is $199 a person, based on double occupancy. The half-board rate, which includes lunch or dinner, is $239 per person per night.
Hotel Kimal, 452 Domingo Atienza, San Pedro de Atacama; 55-851030, 55-851152, 55-851524, http://www.kimal.cl. Local materials and simple architecture help this hotel blend into the surroundings. Doubles from $185 a night; includes breakfast. No excursions, but they can help you put together trips with a partner tour agency.
Hostal Elim, 6 Palpana, San Pedro de Atacama; 55-851567, http://www.hostalelim.cl. A simple budget option with private bath and hammock area, breakfast included. Doubles start at $68 a night.
WHERE TO EAT
Café Adobe, 211 Calle Caracoles, San Pedro de Atacama; 56-851132; http://www.cafeadobe.cl. Cozy café with benches, outdoor fires, live music and pisco sours in the middle of town.
La Casona, 195 Calle Caracoles, San Pedro de Atacama; 58-851004. Classic Chilean cuisine.
TO LEARN MORE
San Pedro de Atacama travel and tourism: http://www.sanpedrochile.com/en
Official Chilean website: http://www.sernatur.cl/internacional/?lang=2