San Pedro de Atacama Travel Blog› entry 7 of 25 › view all entries
We departed at 04:30 from the hotel and after a 2 hour van drive from hell (the road was horrible) we arrived at the Geyser Del Tatio (locally known as Los Geiseres del Tatio). These geysers are located within the Andes Mountains of northern Chile at 4,200 meters above mean sea level, 150 kilometers east, southeast of Calama, Chile. With over 80 active geysers, El Tatio is the largest geyser field in the southern hemisphere and the third largest field in the world, following Yellowstone, USA, and Dolina Giezerov, Russia. Of over 110 erupting springs documented, more than 80 were identified as true geysers and an additional 30 were perpetual spouters. El Tatio Geyser Field contains approximately 8 percent of the world's geysers.
When we arrived the temperature was a freezing -8Cº and there was water vapour everywhere reaching heights of 30-50 meters. We strolled along a small road for tourists taking photographs until we came to a small pond were people were having a refreshing thermal bath. The water was about 30. º C and Nelson and Pedro decided to go crazy and dive in as well. We returned to the Van for a nice picnic breakfast and departed for a visit of the typical town of Machuca. Finally, on our return to San Pedro de Atacama we visited a Forest of giant Cactuses on the banks of the Vilama River. When we arrived in San Pedro de Atacama at around 13:00 we headed for the Space Agency offices to confirm our Astronomic Tour at 23:00. After some initial confusion we were able to get the confirmation we needed.
After lunch we went on our Moon Valley Tour. At 15:00 hrs we departed from San Pedro de Atacama. Through the road that links San Pedro with the city of Calama we stopped to take photographs of the Salt Mountains. Afterwards we visited the Valley of Death for a 20-30 minutes’ walk and Nelson decided to do some unsuccessful Sandboarding. We drive to the salt statue "Las Tres Marías", the Salt Mine and the Mirador and we wait for the sunset beside the great sand dune situated in the central crater. Here we had the opportunity to see the Atacama Desert in it’s wildest beauty.
After dinner at around 23:00 we headed on our 3 Hour Astronomic Tour into the desert. San Pedro de Atacama is a privileged zone to watch the sky and its stars. SPACE agency offers astronomic tours every night, focused on all the people who want to know the mysterious Atacama sky. Tourists get together at SPACE’s office, located in Caracoles street No. 166. There, Alain Maury, a French astronomer, will receive them. Tourists are taken in agency vehicles 10 minutes away from the town. Tours start with a geographic explanation of the sky and its constellations, continuing then with observation of really amazing objects, such as, Moon Craters, Saturn Rings, cumulus of stars, galaxies, and other wonders of the universe. The tour ended taking photos of the night sky and sharing experiences around hot chocolate with Alain Maury. We also had an opportunity to meet another Portuguese tourist that was working in South America as a consultant. We were transported back to our Hotel for a good nights sleep.