San Pedro De Atacama

(x8)  | By: BeijinMan | 9,470 Views | 5 Replies

Just wanted to drop you a line about an Amazing place in the north of Chile called
San Pedro de Atacama

This is a MUST place of anybody

who goes to Chile probably this place and

Carretera Austral are the most beautiful

place in south america.


So what is so special about this place? Mmm....


Chile's largest salt flat, spotted pink with

flamingos and its edges crinkled by volcanoes,

fields of steaming geysers, a host of otherworldly

rock formations and weird layer-cake landscapes.


And if it is not enough, You can do so many unique

and different excursions, you cannot even imagine like:


Trekking, climbing, archaeological sightings, exploration

tours in natural landscapes and even sand boarding in the desert.

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The town itself is laid out in a square grid; the streets are full of mountain bikers, donkey carts, and expedition minibuses.  it's little more than a handful of picturesque adobe streets clustering around a pretty tree-lined plaza and postcard-perfect church.

San Pedro is also the base for a variety of excursions to the Los Flamencos National Reserve, which includes Chile's largest salt flats and a breeding colony of flamingos, the polychrome desert scenery of the Valley of the Moon and high Andean lakes. Outside the reserve's boundaries, the village of Toconao has distinctive volcanic block architecture .

El Tatio - The Geyserstravel forum

The best excursion of this area is the early-morning

excursion to the Geysers of El Tatio, where more

than 40 geysers, thermal wells and fumaroles blast up into the chilly early morning air.
Most tours start around 4:00 a.m. in San Pedro, followed by a bumpy two-hour ride to an elevation of 13,120 feet. What would be a cold trip even at midday is literally FREEzinG before breakfast. It's all worth it, though, when you arrive to see the pillars of steam erupt as the sun rises and brings warmth to an area more than two miles above sea level. When it ends an hour later, there's almost no evidence that the fuming geysers ever existed?until the following morning when the scene repeats itself.
We had to leave the hostel at the ungodly hour of four am, and endure a drive over the worst washboard rutted, curvy, hilly painful road you've ever seen, but to see these natural wonders going off as the sun comes up was worth it all. Later we watched people swimming in the very hot pools heated by this steaming water coming from deep below the desert.

 


January and February,although summer months, can bring sudden winter wind. Last year 46 soldiers were caught in such a wind and froze to death in minutes. This is another good reason to hire a guide. If you rented a car, you would be likely to return it damaged after driving the rutty roads to the geysers.

So what other stuff you can do here... Mmmm....

San Pedro de Atacama is a privileged zone to watch the sky and its stars.

Lots of agencies offer astronomic tours every night, focused on all the people who want to know the mysterious Atacama sky.
I really recommend this tour since they got huge telescopes and it is the perfect place to watch the sky.
In this tour you are taken 10 minutes away from the town, the guides provide you 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.

Tours end sharing experiences around hot chocolate, coming back to San Pedro timely enough to continue watching the night or to take some rest for the next day.

The tour takes around 3 hours and starts by 8:00 p.m., depending on the time of the year.

We paid for it: 12,000 chilean per person ( around 23U$S ), including transportation and hot drink.

Another nice place is called
Valle de la Lunatravel forum

If you wanna see a FANTASTiC moon landscape, this is the place ! Located only 13 kilometers west of San Pedro in the Cordillera de la Sal, in the Atacama desert.
So why is this place so special ?
Maybe because a prototype for a Mars rover was tested here by scientists because of the valley's dry and forbidding terrain.    travel forum
Mmm... this can be one reason, but I can give you more reasons to visit this place....
The Moon Valley is an interesting place with stone and sand formations which have been created through the centuries by floods and wind, which has also given it an extraordinary color and texture, looking similar to the surface of the moon.
 


There are huge sand dunes, rocks with salt crystals and quartz through them and mountains all around
Because of its lack of humidity, there is no life here, which has turned it into one of the most inhospitable places on the planet.
From a large sand dune in the valley, you can  appreciate all the marvelous and surprising features of this zone. In Valle de la Luna there are dry lakes where the composition of salt makes an AMAZING white covering layer of the area, escarpments in all colors; green, blue, red and yellow, which color the sunlight changes depending on the time of day and is especially beautiful at sunset. It presents diverse saline outcrops which look like real sculptures and contains as well as a great variety of caverns.

At nights of a full moon, the valley also presents an indescribable, majestical and silent aspect, coldly beautiful and imposing.

In Valle de la Luna I have experienced the most natural beauty and strange lunar landscape !
It's visited by hundreds, if not thousands of tourists every year, being one of the most famous attractions of Chile.

The valley is also considered one of the driest places on earth, as some areas have not received a single drop of rain in hundreds of years.
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Another excursion I did was to the
Salar de Atacama

travel forum It is the largest salt flat in Chile, Has an extensive saline coasts, natural reserve of minerals and a territory of great depressions
It is Located only 55 km south of San Pedro de Atacama, this place is surrounded by mountains and has no drainage outlets.

Underneath the white and rough surface of Salar there is a big salt lake hidden by the thickness and the rough scab of salt that boast of containing the greater lithium reserves of the world.
To the east is enclosed by the main chain of the Andes, while to the west lies a secondary mountain range of the Andes called Cordillera de Domeyko. Large volcanoes dominate the landscape, including the Licancabur, Acamarachi, Aguas Calientes and the Lascar (The most active in chile right now).  All of them are located along the eastern side of the Salar de Atacama, forming a generally north-south trending line of volcanoes that separate it from smaller endorheic basins.






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5 Replies:

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Holly J

Wales Wales
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Posts: 8

Wow, that place is absolutely stunning!!! I went to the Salar D'uyuni in Bolivia which was amazing and I'd love to go some time to the Atacama Desert..

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John Dennis

United States United States
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Very eye catching Rocks.  I will like to visit Valle de la Luna - dry land.
 

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kiwiingrid

New Zealand New Zealand
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Posts: 22

I have been here also. Oh what an amazing fun place to go. Swim in a hot pool high in the Andes or swim in a freezing salt lake - all in one day. Geysers, sulfate mounds, mountains, sand boarding....So different and so enjoyable.



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James Franklin

Chile Chile
Gold Traveler5   Points

Posts: 24

This is a very important principle in life and travel. You have a certain amount of energy a day, you can either place that energy on a thought in your head or you can place it on the experiences in the present. Where you consistently place your energy will determine who you are and how much fulfillment you get out of life.




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kayel

United Kingdom United Kingdom
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Posts: 6

Amazing photos. I'd love to go there.


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