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Guidebook: All Around Atacama

Special To The Times

Getting there: From LAX, connecting service is available on LanChile, American and LACSA to Calama, the nearest airport to San Pedro. Restricted round-trip fares begin at $1,070.

Calama is a one-hour drive from San Pedro.

Telephones: To call the numbers below from the U.S., dial 011 (the international dialing code), 56 (country code for Chile), 55 (the area code) and the local number.

Where to stay: Explora Hotel de Atacama, Avenida Américo Vespucio Sur 80, Piso 5, Santiago, Chile (do not dial 55 before these numbers); 2206-6060, fax 2228-4655, A three-night stay is $1,296 per person, double occupancy, and a seven-night stay is $2,441 per person, double occupancy. Prices include transfers from Calama, three meals, drinks (including alcohol), guides and equipment.

Lodge Terrantai, Calle Tocopilla 411, P.O. Box 10, San Pedro de Atacama; 851-140, fax 851-037, The lodge is in the heart of San Pedro. It offers package deals; the price includes tours. A three-night stay, including transfers, meals and driving tours, is $681 per person, based on double occupancy; five nights are $935.

Hotel Kimal, 452 Domingo Atienza, San Pedro de Atacama; telephone/fax 851-030,, is an attractive small place outside town. Rates begin at $84 per night, double.

Where to eat: Café El Adobe, Caracoles 211, 851-132, has great style but not the best food in town. Lingering over a pisco sour is a must. Entrees begin at $6.

Paachá restaurant, in the Hotel Kimal (see above), is said to be one of the best places in San Pedro. But the restaurant is currently closed for remodeling and is not scheduled to reopen for a couple of months.

Even if you are not staying at the Explora, 851-110, the bar and restaurant are well worth a visit. They may not be able to accommodate walk-ins, so call ahead.

For more information: Chilean Embassy, 1732 Massachusetts Ave. N.W., Washington, DC 20036; (202) 785-1746,

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