the atacama

San Pedro de Atacama Travel Blog

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So off we toddled on a day trip to the Atacarma desert. After an early start and a rather quick decision that our very over-the-top guide was going to annoy the crap out of us, we headed out of town and up, up and up into the altitude.

The first stop was to have a walk through the salt flats to see the many flamengos that grace the lakes of the area. One of the volcanoes in the distance is very active and erupted just a few weeks before we arrived. The smell of sulpher was in the air, so the eggy fart jokes were a-flowing. The rocky salty surface and the red sand volcanoes made us feel like we were on Mars.

We continued in the bus and wound our way up into the mountains and got out at a very beautiful lake surrounded by snowy mountains.

The pink spots are flamingos!!
The air was thin and it was so so cold as we were then at well over 4000m up. The scenery was spectacular and the lake was partly covered in ice. The peace and tranquility of the place was just wonderful and well worth the freezing cold air that engulfed us.

Back into town for a rather crap lunch and then onto a valley to see the surrounding area, completely different to the mountains as this was baking hot and red sandy cliffs. It was scarily similar to the location in the film `The Hills have Eyes`, anyone who has seen this film will appreciate how alarming it was to walk around in this desolate place, imagining noises and flashes of shadow in the cliffs.....

After visiting some poor little cooped up llama that our guide thought was wonderful, we had a look at some very over-priced handicrafts and then made our way back to San Pedro. A nice little town, very touristy but it does the job.

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The pink spots are flamingos!!
The pink spots are flamingos!!
San Pedro church
San Pedro church
icy lake
icy lake
Mars
Mars
San Pedro de Atacama
photo by: eefab