Aside from the largest open-pit copper mine in the world, there aren’t many other tourist attractions near Calama. Climbing all over one of those giant monster dump trucks could have been cool (there’s a tour), but we decided to head to our original destination of San Pedro de Atacama.
Nice. Really nice.
There are plenty of camping options here, but they all charge astronomical rates (our wallets are still calibrated for Bolivia). We picked the one with the rock wall and promptly parked right in front. We can climb whenever we want, and just watch the other climbers the rest of the time. It’s better than TV.
The weather is nice and spending all day outside feels great. Sunny, dry and warm by day and chilly at night. Winter in the desert.
You can walk everywhere, and the main drag is packed with top-notch desert-chic restaurants. Everything in town has a too-perfect artistic patina. This is clearly a major destination for tourists – mostly wealthy Chileans. I haven’t seen this much North Face gear outside of Berkeley. It’s definitely a good place to chill out, tackle some bus projects and figure out where to go next.