to visit San Pedro de Atacama
Given the region is the driest desert in the world it is advisable to keep yourself hydrated due to the dryness of the environment. It is recommended to drink only bottled water, although drinking water is safe to drink it contains a high concentration of mineral salts. Before visiting tourist centers, make sure to bring enough water.
Faced the pronounced thermal oscillation, it is necessary to bring summer clothing to wear during the day, such as t-shirts, light trousers, bathing suit and short pants. In winter at night and during visits to the tourist sites, especially visiting El Tatio Geyser wear thick pants, coat or jacket, woolen cap and windbreak.
About shoes, it is necessary to wear boots or shoes suitable for hiking. Sandals or flip flops are not recommended to wear due to the soil type.
Throughout the year, the sunlight is strong mainly in summer; so you should wear basic elements such as: high quality sunglasses, high factor sunscreen, moisturizing cream and hat.
Between spring and summer (September – February) temperatures are expected above 30 ° C during the day and 6 ° C at dawn. In summer, you find the “Altiplanic winter” and occasionally there are thunderstorms. We do not recommend using your cellphone during the storm by the lightning, they can cause damage to your person.
In winter (March – August) the temperature oscillations vary between 25°C and 2°C during the day and night respectively.
San Pedro de Atacama is located at an altitude of 2,500 meters above sea level. Most tourist attractions are over 4,000 meters and you can feel “altitude sickness” known as “Puna”. It affects our body and causes symptoms such as: headache, tiredness or weakness, dizziness, difficulty breathing when you walk fast and produces a general malaise.
To prevent altitude sickness, consider the following recommendations:
– Do not walk fast until the body adapts at least 24 hours
– If you suffer from high blood pressure or cardiac weakness do not go any further than 4,000 meters above sea level, consult first your doctor
– Always drink water to keep yourself hydrated
– Do not drink alcohol or drink moderately. Alcohol causes dehydration which aggravates altitude sickness
Atacameños and native people of Altiplano or highlands have chewed coca leaves for centuries to relieve the symptoms of altitude sickness. You can find it at the craft market.