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The Peaceful Life of Atacama Artisans

Located 38 km from San Pedro de Atacama, Toconao is one of those colonial towns whose details set it apart. The material of choice here is volcanic rock for both local crafts and the town church (1744) and San Lucas bell tower (1750).

The handicrafts stand near the town square offers pieces knitted from alpaca wool as well as miniature bell towers made from the very same volcanic rock.

The town also specializes in delicious fruits. Try the quinces, figs, black figs, pears and apricots from Jere Ravine, where the Toconao community has its fields. The best time to enjoy the local produce is in the summer.

While you're in the area, you can see the perfect cone of the Lascar Volcano and visit the Atacama Salt Flat. If you head a bit farther south, you can visit the town of Socaire, which sits at an altitude of more than 3,000 meters and is known for its cuisine and alpaca wool crafts.


Featured Destinations of San Pedro de Atacama

A  Valle de la Muerte and Valle de la
B  Los Flamencos National Reserve

C  Toconao D  Chiu Chiu
E  Atacama Salt Flat F  El Tatio
G  Ollagüe

Getting There

en avion
By Plane
It’s a two-hour flight from Santiago to Calama. From there, you’ll find taxis, transfer services, and Jeep and truck rentals so that you can get to San Pedro de Atacama.
By Bus
Buses depart Calama for San Pedro de Atacama every two hours. You can find transportation from the city's terminals on Calle Granaderos, to the northwest, and Calle Balmaceda, just across from the railroad station.

There is local service from San Pedro de Atacama to Toconao (which is what the locals use) and some tourism agencies will take you to the town.
en auto
By Car
From Santiago, take Route 5 north until it forks at Carmen Alto. Then take Route 25 northeast (1,574 km) to San Pedro de Atacama. From there, take Route 23 south to Toconao. You can't miss it- there are no other roads.



New Wool = Itchy Wool Picnic  Best Time to Visit
While alpaca wool is definitely cozy, it can irritate sensitive skin when it is new. To avoid this, wash the wool in cold water and then let it soak in softener for an hour. The poncho, ruana or socks you bought in Toconao will get softer and softer as time goes on. Jere Ravine (where you will be asked to make a voluntary contribution) offers parking, bathrooms and a picnic/barbeque area. If you bring a bathing suit, you can swim in the reservoirs that form along the river that crosses the ravine. Spring and summer are the best times to see the lushness of this Atacama Desert town and ravine.


Supplies Drive Carefully By Bicycle
Always carry spare tires. A number of the area's roads are rocky and steep, and you may find yourself a long way from a repair shop. Repair services are available in San Pedro de Atacama. Wild donkeys and young goats sometimes come too close to the road. Don't drive too fast – leave the stress of your office schedule behind you. You can rent a bike in San Pedro de Atacama and ride to Toconao. Be aware that the strong winds of August and September may make the trip significantly more challenging.


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