January 5, 2017

Chile | Atacama Desert

The first stop on our Chile / Argentina trip was in one of the driest places on Earth, the Atacama Desert. The day after Thanksgiving, we left Atlanta for our overnight flight into Santiago, Chile. We then took another quick flight up north into Calama, and finally a shuttle about an hour to the tiny, dusty town of San Pedro de Atacama. Little more than a few streets and adobe buildings, San Pedro caters to the tourists that flock here for excursions into the desert. Even though the town was tiny, it was buzzing the entire time we stayed here. We stayed at Hostal El Anexo, which was just a few minutes walk into town, and right behind a French bakery.  Our host was very nice, and gave us some tips on which excursions to do.  By the end of our first night, we had some booked.  Also by the end of the night, it felt like all of the moisture had already left our bodies.  Dry noses, eyes, skin.  It seemed like we could not drink water fast enough!

Over the course of four days, we were able to explore quite a bit of what the Atacama Desert has to offer.  We rented bikes and rode through Death Valley, where a bike malfunction almost left us stranded.  Death Valley was stark and beautiful, like a different planet altogether.  Moon Valley was equally stark, but at sunset it transformed into a fiery landscape.  We took a full day tour up to see the high altitude lakes, which was one of the highlights of this entire trip.  Don't let the photos fool you into thinking it was hot...it was freezing cold and the wind was ferocious.  Late one night, we joined a night sky star 'tour' where an astronomer pointed out constellations, planets, and galaxies.  The sky is so clear down there, which is a huge reason why some of the world's best observatories are located near San Pedro.

The Atacama Desert was absolutely breathtaking.  Blazing hot during the day, freezing cold at night, and surrounded by raw, natural scenery.  Next stop: Valparaiso!

1 comment:

cows1 said...

Breathtaking photos worthy of publishing. Any photo of your malfunctioning bike??