How to get from Calama to San Pedro de Atacama

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How to get from Calama to San Pedro de Atacama. The flight to Calama, the closest airport to San Pedro de Atacama, is approximately 1.5 hours and you may have incredible views from the plane’s window of the Atacama Desert and the Andes.

The desert slowly comes into view. Even from the air, the brown and seemingly lifeless landscape looks strange.

Flat, expansive plains stretch as far as the eye can see, occasionally interrupted by canyons that look like huge cracks in the earth.

The Calama airport is nothing more than a runway and a small terminal building in the middle of the desert.

As you get off the plane, the cold wind makes you shiver a little but it is the sun that catches your attention.

Specifically, the strength of the sun’s rays. They are so strong that you can feel a stinging sensation on your face and arms almost immediately.

How to get from Calama to San Pedro de Atacama

The trip (about 100 km from Calama) through the desert is quite surreal. You pass through a barren moon-like landscape full of sand and rocks that seems to last an eternity.

As you approach, the enormous peaks and volcanoes of the Andes come into view. You cross the foothills and enter a vast valley and catch your first glimpse of San Pedro de Atacama: a green oasis in the middle of a vast valley surrounded by the Andes, the Salt Mountains (a chain of rocky mountains and towering sand dunes). and a huge salt lake (the white-green Salar de Atacama).

The spectacular Licancabur Volcano (a 5,900 m symmetrical cone) rose high above the valley floor.

how to get from calama to san pedro de atacama

How to go from Calama airport to San Pedro de Atacama

The easiest way to get from Calama Airport to San Pedro de Atacama is by taxi. The journey takes about an hour and costs around CLP 20,000-25,000 (about USD 30-40). You can also take a bus from Calama to San Pedro de Atacama, but the journey takes longer and requires a transfer in the town of Calama. If you prefer to have your own transportation, you can rent a car at the airport. However, be aware that the roads in the Atacama Desert can be challenging, so it’s important to have a vehicle that is suitable for the terrain.

By private transfer (preferred)

Take the worry out of your arrival or departure from Calama Airport (CJC) and pre-book a shared transfer service between your accommodation in San Pedro de Atacama and the airport, or vice versa.

By bus

Bus travel time is approximately 1h 22m and covers a distance of about 102 km.

The fastest bus normally takes 1h 10m. Operated by Transfer Atacama, Magic Tour, Bus KTUR and others, the bus service departs from Calama Airport and arrives in San Pedro de Atacama.

Generally, 145 buses operate weekly, although weekend and holiday schedules may vary, so check in advance.

How long does it take to get there by Bus?

The bus takes 1h 45m including transfers and departs every hour.

Is there a direct bus?

Yes, there is a direct bus departing from Calama Airport and arriving at San Pedro de Atacama. Services depart hourly and operate daily. The trip lasts approximately 1h 45m.

Where do I take the bus?

Calama to San Pedro de Atacama (Estación) bus services operated by Transfer Atacama, departing from Calama Airport station.

Where does the bus arrive?

Calama to San Pedro de Atacama (Estación) bus services operated by Transfer Atacama, arrive at the station

By Taxi

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About the author

I am Matias, born in Patagonia, and a lover of my land.

For more than 20 years I help foreign travellers to organise their trip to Patagonia.

I also manage this exotic accommodation on the Atlantic coast.