Our trip through Chile comes to an end and our last stop is the Atacama desert. After the Sahara, Namib desert, the Kalahari and living in Dubai I was not sure how the oldest desert in the world would be different. San Pedro with its tour operators, guest houses, restaurants and bars is the gateway to the Atacama. We stayed slightly outside the village in a quiet and very basic guesthouse where we were surrounded by wildlife and enjoyed the view of the milky way in the evenings.
We visited the ‘Valle de la Luna’, at 2400 metres above sea level which is said to look like the surface of the moon. The valley is considered as one of the driest places on earth, as some areas have not received a single drop of rain in hundreds of years. We watched the sunset from the top of a dune and enjoyed an impressive range of color and texture.
The soil in some places of the desert is compared to that of Mars and its not surprising that it was used as a location to film Mars scenes and that NASA has used this place in the past to test there equipment in moon like environment
Our last full day in Chile was spent at 4800 metres above sea level, when we visited the El Tatio geyser field which has about 80 active geysers. The downside was that our day started at 3am so we could get there for sunrise, it was a truly spectacular view and worth the loss of sleep.
On our way back to San Pedro we stopped at Machuca village which has a population of 8 people and is now a tourist town to pick up the last of the peso in our pockets, we tried Llama meat which I was not a fan however Sybille seemed to like it (she will eat anything). It was also used in the James Bond film Quantum of Solace, for there Bolivia scenes, we where told that originally Bolivia was used but since all of their stuff was stolen they decided to change to Chile instead.
Chile has been an unbelievable experience, for a country that is very narrow there is so much variety from the Glaciers to the Atatacam desert, from the European styled towns in the south to the impressive city of Santiago.
We both have enjoyed every minute of our time here however we are also looking forward to the short trip through Bolivia and onto Peru.