Outside of Antarctica, the Atacama desert is the driest place on earth. And, San Pedro de Atacama is at 8000 feet, with surrounding areas up to 14,000 feet. I feel like if Death Valley and Zion National Park had a baby, it would look like this. This makes for a beautiful terrain, and the high dry air makes for the best star gazing I have ever seen.
But, driving it requires being careful with the petrol levels. There was one place that had 500 kilometers between stations. Then, going up and over the Andes, I wasn't aware of any stations for 300 kilometers. I don't know how the motorbikes do it out there!
I stayed in the north; as I hit the country in winter and didn't want to deal with the snow over the Andes passes further south.
a quick stop just over the Peruvian border, and on the Pacific Ocean. This is a great place for surfing, but I didn't stop and partake. Mainly because the breaks were way above my pay grade.
When visiting San Pedro de Atacama, you have to be prepared for multiple climates. In the summer, daytime temperatures will climb into the 80's but morning temps can reach lower 40's or even upper 30's. I was there in June (winter), and daytimes were in the 60's with nights in the 20's.
This is also a very remote place, so don't get used to reliable utilities. I had the power (and heat) go out at least once every day I was there. And, water was out for 1 whole day also.
But, the scenery here is unlike any other place I have been. salt deserts, geysers at 14,000 foot elevation, incredible star gazing. And, yes, there is an observatory here just outside of town. Plus, the scenery changes so much from day, to evening, to night. It is like seeing 3 different places in one. Then, don't forget the wild foxes or llamas you will pass by.