As stated in my last blog post, I have landed in the driest place on Earth, the Atacama Desert in Chile. Accompanied by my wife, my camera and an increasing sense of excitement as I begin to understand the wonders of this part of the world. We were staying at the ultra-luxurious retreat the Tierra Atacama, a perfect place to relax in between excursions.
There are numerous activities in this Desert. Some of which may surprise you. Tierra Atacama guides accompanied us throughout. Thoughtfully providing coffees and snacks whenever needed.
We visited the endless salt flats and saw the sunset over the Andes. The skies of the Atacama are so clear that it is an ideal place for star gazing. So one night we went to a local observatory where we saw the rings of Saturn, moons of Jupiter and much more through a high power telescope.
Having spent a day acclimatising we went higher to the Altiplano for a bathe in warm springs. This whole area is volcanic with ongoing seismic activity. A remarkably refreshing dip in these hot surroundings. You can access the area by coach (like we did) or for the more adventurous a 3 mile hike.
On the final day we went higher still to over 4,000 metres to the valley of the geysers. A very early start is needed so that you can wend your way up to the heights. When you arrive you realise why an early start was needed. As you see the warm steam from the geysers highlighted against the cold air of the early Atacama morning just as the sun is rising and before it heats up the air. A memorable experience.
On the way back we stopped to explore a local village. The ancient church, situated at the top of the village, was recommended for a visit. It is reached by a series of steps. Just making our way up the steps at this altitude made even this relatively simple task hard work. For the more active there are hikes and climbs for all abilities. The Tierra Atacama programme sets out clearly the level of difficulty of each activity. So you can match yourself to the best ones for you.
All too soon our time in the Atacama was over and we set off for the airport having had, though, a real insight into life in the high plains of the Andes in the Atacama Desert whilst staying in luxury accommodation. This trip was quite unlike anywhere else I had ever been and would be one I would recommend to anyone seeking to experience the best of Chile. If you are interested in travelling to Chile please contact Claire via email or call 0330 123 9498.