500 years ago, in this fortress of stone and mud where you and I meet, a bloody battle was fought for the oasis of San Pedro de Atacama.

In an unequal contest, a battalion of a thousand Atacameños confronted the forces of the Spaniard Francisco de Aguirre, who managed to defeat them with the help of cannon fire.

For many, that historic moment marked the end of the flourishing Atacameño culture that had developed until then, which died out along with the 25 caciques beheaded by the Hispanic conqueror as an exemplary punishment and whose stone faces now guard this solemn place, the Pucará de Quitor.

From its viewpoint, it is easy to understand why in the 14th century the Atacameño people chose it to erect their citadel-fortress.

The San Pedro River, the Valley of Death, the volcanoes and the town are clearly visible in an incredible panoramic view from 80 metres above sea level.

Built on the southern slope of the ravine, the strategic position of this pucará, which sheltered the dispersed population from a possible war threat, is undeniable.

For this reason, many of the ruins that we have visited on this tour keep the record of the inhabitants that housed this settlement of liparita, a reddish stone that pales with the years and the sun.

Just 3 kilometres north of San Pedro de Atacama, a visit to the Pucará de Quitor is a treasure worth knowing.

It takes just 20 minutes by bicycle from the town to reach a national monument full of history and Atacameño culture, arranged in terraces like the grandstands of a colossal amphitheatre.