|San Pedro de Atacama|
|— Town and Commune —|
|• Alcalde||Sandra Berna Martínez|
|• Total||23,438.8 km2 (9,049.8 sq mi)|
|Population (2002 Census)|
|• Density||0.21/km2 ( 0.55/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CLT  (UTC-4)|
|• Summer (DST)||CLST  (UTC-3)|
|Website||Municipalidad San Pedro de Atacama|
San Pedro de Atacama is a Chilean town and commune in El Loa Province, Antofagasta Region. It is located east of Antofagasta, some 106 km (60 mi) southeast of Calama and the Chuquicamata copper mine, overlooking the Licancabur volcano. It features a significant archeological museum, the R. P. Gustavo Le Paige Archaeological Museum, with a large collection of relics and artifacts from the region. Native ruins nearby now attract increasing numbers of tourists interested in learning about pre-Columbian cultures. Tourists also visit for other popular activities including sandboarding and stargazing, with the views of the stars from the Atacama unrivalled across the continent.
San Pedro de Atacama grew, over centuries, around an oasis in the Puna de Atacama, an arid high plateau. Its first inhabitants were the Atacameños, who developed basketworks and ceramic pottery crafts that can be now be appreciated by tourists in the several souvenir shops as typical products of San Pedro de Atacama.
According to the 2002 census of the National Statistics Institute, San Pedro de Atacama had 4,969 inhabitants (2,928 men and 2,041 women). Of these, 1,938 (39%) lived in urban areas and 3,031 (61%) in rural areas. The population grew by 5.6% (2,140 persons) between the 1992 and 2002 censuses.
As a commune, San Pedro de Atacama is a third-level administrative division of Chile administered by a municipal council, headed by an alcalde who is directly elected every four years. The 2008-2012 alcalde is Sandra Berna Martínez.
Within the electoral divisions of Chile, San Pedro de Atacama is represented in the Chamber of Deputies by Mr. Marcos Espinosa (PRSD) and Mr. Felipe Ward (UDI) as part of the 3rd electoral district, (together with Tocopilla, María Elena, Calama and Ollagüe). The commune is represented in the Senate by Carlos Cantero Ojeda (Ind.) and José Antonio Gómez Urrutia (PRSD) as part of the 2nd senatorial constituency (Antofagasta Region).
The town lies at an average of 7,900 ft (2,407 meters), and visitors often experience mild altitude sickness such as dizziness, lethargy and headaches. The local climate is extremely dry and mild, with daytime temperatures between 25-30 degrees Celsius (77-86°F) in the summer (December to February) and 18-25 degrees Celsius (64-77°F) in the winter (June to August). Nighttime temperatures routinely drop below zero and can reach as low as -10°C (14°F) in the winter.
San Pedro lies on the main paved road from Argentina over the Paso de Jama, 160 km from the town. The road is paved throughout. There are frequent bus services to Calama, several buses daily to Santiago and buses on 6 days a week to Salta across the Andes in Argentina.
There are various activities for tourist and adventurers in the San Pedro de Atacama area: trekking, climbing, archaeological sightings, exploration tours in natural landscapes and even sand boarding in the desert. Because of its altitude, a brief period of acclimatization may be required.
In the town there are some cultural sites:
The festivals includes typical dances, masses in the street and a little parade through the main street of San Pedro de Atacama.
Licancabur volcano viewed from San Pedro de Atacama
El Tatio, close up of Del Tatio geyser.
Remains of the Tulor settlement (800 BC) near San Pedro de Atacama
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