Bicycle Rides in San Pedro de Atacama
Cycling is a good way of witnessing the beauty of the Atacama Desert—the driest desert in the world. The good news are that there are plenty of tourist attractions that can be visited in two wheels near San Pedro de Atacama.
Cycling is a good way of witnessing the beauty of the Atacama Desert—the driest desert in the world. However, you must take the weather into account, as it is very dry and has a high level of sun radiation, therefore the temperatures are very high during the day (over 30ºC or 86ºF) and very low at night (dropping below freezing.) Another very important factor to consider is the altitude. The Atacama Salt Flat is about 2,500 m (8,202 ft) above sea level, so you need to get used to the altitude before taking on any arduous physical activity. For any excursion you go on, don't forget to bring sun block, a hat and lots of water. Before going somewhere take proper note of the distances, because in the desert there may be very long distances between one town and the next. Bicycles are available for hire in the town of San Pedro de Atacama.
Inca Catarpe Administration Center: (1/2 day, medium level of difficulty) Located 16 km or 9.9 miles from San Pedro de Atacama. On this route you can also visit the Pucara de Quitor and the amazing Devil's Gorge.
Ayllus (picturesque farming villages): (one whole day or half a day, easy) Located between 3 and 10 km (1.9 to 6.2 miles) from San Pedro de Atacama, depending on which Ayllu you are visiting. To the south from the town of San Pedro, you can visit Sequitor, Solor, Beter, Cucuter, depending on how much time you have.
Moon Valley: (one whole day or half a day, medium level of difficulty) Located 15 km (9.3 miles) away from San Pedro de Atacama, an amazing opportunity to cycle your way through otherworldly landscapes. There are two alternatives: the first is to head to the valley, cross it and come back along the same path (30 km or 18.6 miles)
Tulor Village: (1/2 a day, medium level of difficulty) Take the road to the Valle de la Luna and turn left at the end of the pavement. You will go past the Coyo Ayllu and then arrive to the ruins.
Death Valley: (1/2 a day, medium level of difficulty) The entrance is located 3 km or 1.9 miles from San Pedro de Atacama. In total it is about 10 km or 6.2 miles. This route can be combined with Sandboarding.
Cejas Lagoon: (Whole day, high level of difficulty) We recommend doing this route with a guide as there is no sing-posted route. You can access it from the Ayllu of Poconche towards the south, till reaching a locust tree in the middle of nowhere, where you take the route towards the lagoon.
La Corniza: (Whole day, high level of difficulty) Take the route towards Catarpe and take a left towards the old road to Calama. Once you pass the tunnel you must cycle up towards the Corniza, which is a plain on the salt mountain range. You can cycle around it and come down along the Valle de la Muerte (Death Valley).
Downhill: For the most daring adrenalin enthusiasts there are several downhill options, such as the trail descending from the hot springs of Puritama, or those starting at the base of Toco or Sairecabur mountains.