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Just a few hours after we landed in Santiago, we were on a plane to Calama, the closest town (with an airport) to San Pedro de Atacama. San Pedro is a 100km. from Calama and can be reached from Calama airport via shared taxi.

San Pedro de Atacama (San Pedro, for short) is a small compact village located in one of the many oases in the altiplano (high plateau), and it was to be our base to explore the Atacama desert. With its small adobe houses, pleasant tree-lined plaza and postcard-perfect church, it seems to be from a different world and different time. But it relies heavily on tourism and has been popular with the backpacker crowd for some years now. San Pedro de Atacama is located at 2,900 meters (9,500 feet) above sea level.

San Pedro de Atacama is also a triple international border checkpost as it is within a few kilometres of Chile's borders with Bolivia and Argentina.

Another interesting highlight is the ALMA - Atacama Large Millimeter Array project (undertaken by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory).

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