Awasi
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A chic, contemporary base in San Pedro
Step inside from the dusty street into this walled oasis in the town of San Pedro. With only eight unique cottages and plenty of sun-drenched terrace space, this exquisite hotel (a Relais & Chateaux property) has sofas strewn with local textiles in vivid colors. Awasi is all about privacy and getting away from the crowds, so meet with your private guide to custom-design the excursions to your interests and activity level (after acclimating to San Pedro's 8,000-feet altitude). Visit far-flung altiplanic villages, enjoy dawn with just you and the flamingos. Back on the homestead after a day, the chef woos guests with refined creations, local ingredients, and a great wine list. After dinner, linger by the mammoth fire pit to sip the rest of your Chilean cabernet under the stars.
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Savor the traditional foods of the San Pedro oasis
Patasca was one of the best "traditional" foods that I enjoyed during our time in San Pedro de Atacama. Awasi, a local base for visitors with a restaurant on-site, serves an excellent patasca. Patasca is a stew common to northern Chile, Peru, and Bolivia that is made with broth, local grains, pork or llama, corn, and sometimes tripe. The giant corn kernels are from a varietal of maize that was historically grown by the Atacameno people and is also often found in Peru. The series of villages that make up San Pedro have a remarkable amount of farming thanks to sustainable sharing of irrigation. Eating local foods like Patasca was a great way to see how the local people carve out a life in one of the driest areas of the world. Delicious and flavorful, Patasca was the perfect comfort food after our long bike trip through the mountains.
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