Hope on a two hour flight, grab an hour transfer van and bam we were in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile.
This tiny town is based off tourism and has four main roads filled with vendors selling tours. It was a bit overwhelming due to the aggressive haggling going on. We had four days to get our fill of the desert and get out of the heat. After some research on best tours we decided the geysers were a must and we booked a 5am tour to go check them out. Well when 5:45am the next day came and no bus picked us up we were a bit pissed. Back to bed….. Keith and I went to the office to complain and see what happened and they were shocked to see us. Three others got on the bus and accidentally took our spot. They offered us free bikes that afternoon and to do the tour the next day. It was an OK solution.
It just so happened to be international yoga day and they had free yoga in the Plaza all day! Keith went to a morning class with me and we were the first of 5 to show up. It’s a bit challenging to have Spanish instructions but so good for us to practice.
That afternoon we road out to Valle de La Luna and watched the sunset fall over the desert valley. It was a hard 20 mile ride in the wind and on mountain bikes but so worth seeing the amazing landscape. We got to see the crazy rock formations, sand dunes, and salt deposits along the ride.
It’s named Valley de la Luna because it has luner like landscapes with pink streaked mountains and amazing sunsets.
We grabbed a few beers and hit the sack. Tomorrow was another attempt at the geysers! They showed up!! The bus took two hours to get us to the highest geysers in the world at 4320meters (14,173 ft) above sea level. There were over 80 different geysers spread through out this area all going off at different times. It’s the third largest geyser field in the world. We walked around for a bit exploring and watching then had a light breakfast. At breakfast a lady passed out due to the altitude and a week before a Belgium lady fell into the geysers while trying to take a photo. Unfortunately, she passed away from the severe burns.
After breakfast we moved to a different area that had a hot pool you could get into. We jumped into our swim suits and enjoyed the warm water.
About 1 we arrived back at our hostel exhausted. It was so hot out though and I was dying to find a pool. We found a public pool just 3miles away, so we hopped in a taxi. We were three of seven people there and the water felt so refreshing. After making friends with another couple they gave us a ride home. The Chileans have been so friendly and helpful.
The last night in the desert we did a bit of bar hopping. First a pisco cola in a cute outdoor patio, then a bottle of wine and a lasagne appetizer and finally we stumbled across a restaurant with live music to finish the course. Great last night out in the desert. The desert has a very conservative community and all bars close at midnight. Fine by us I was usually tired by then!