A Travellerspoint blog

The Atacama Desert in northern Chile

lakes, mountains and llamas

sunny 20 °C

large_270_Jill_doing.._background.jpg

After an eight hour bus ride across the Chilean border, followed by another long day of flights, airports, and renting a car, we drove to San Pedro de Atacama, a small town in the Atacama desert. Here we spent 2 1/2 days checking out the sights. Day one we visited Cejar Lake and two other smaller lakes, one of which was as salty, if not more, than the Dead Sea. If you've had the pleasure of swimming in the Dead Sea, this little lake is much better! So clean, nice and cold in the hot desert, and easy to access without all the sand and mud. We liked it so much, that after visiting another lake and hiking around it, we returned just to cool off! We ended the day visiting Valle de la Luna (Moon Valley), to hike through a canyon,
view sand dunes, and hike to a lookout.

Apres un voyage en bus de 8h, nous traversons la frontiere du Chili, puis prenons un aviopour Santiago, puis, enfin San Pedro de Atacama en voiture de loc'. Nous y passons 2 jours et demi, plus ou moins au milieu de ce haut plateau desertique. Le premier jour nous visitons le lac Cejar, et ses deux acolytes (lacs) situes dans le desert de sel. Nous nous baignons dans un des lacs, et profitons de l'experience salee. Comparable a la mer morte, l'experience est bien plus inteerssante, intime, et la vue est definitivement a couper le soufle. L'eau est tres agreable. Nous y reviendrons nous baigner en fin d'apres midi. Nous finissons la journee dans la Valle de la Luna, pour profiter de la vue (touristique) epoustouflante, a travers canyon, dunes de sables, et une couche dsel omnipresente.

Most streets in San Pedro were dirt

Most streets in San Pedro were dirt


Random lake

Random lake


Another lake surrounded by salt

Another lake surrounded by salt

Jill floating in saltwater

Jill floating in saltwater


And on the stomach

And on the stomach


Jill doing a lotus in the salt lake with an amazing background

Jill doing a lotus in the salt lake with an amazing background


We used eachother to float like an inflatable mattress

We used eachother to float like an inflatable mattress


Lots of salt to rinse off after

Lots of salt to rinse off after


Only a few flamingos remain this time of year, but there is a whole flamingo reserve nearby

Only a few flamingos remain this time of year, but there is a whole flamingo reserve nearby

The cavern in Moon Valley

The cavern in Moon Valley


Moon valley

Moon valley


Moon valley sand dunes

Moon valley sand dunes


Salt on the ground and snow on the peaks

Salt on the ground and snow on the peaks


Lizzard

Lizzard

The second day we traveled south to visit two more alpine lakes, surrounded by gorgeous mountains. On the way we passed a fox, llamas, and plenty of lizards. We were impressed by the many contrasting colors. In the afternoon we relaxed in the thermal waters of Puritama. A kind of oasis in the red cliffed desert, this warm river has eight pools and waterfalls in between. Though the water wasn't hot, it was clean and the waterfalls made for a nice massage.

Le second jour, nous voyageons a 2 heures en voiture, au sud-est, pres de la frontiere, pour visiter deux lacs alpins, perches au milieu des montagnes, a 4000m d'altitude. Les couleurs, les contrastes sont a couper le soufle (ou bien c'est le manque d'oxygene, qui sait...). Nous y voyons un renard local, des llamas, plenis de llamas, et aussi des oiseaux rares :). L'apres midi, nous remontons au Nord, et allons nous relaxer aux sources thermales de Puritama, une vraie oasis dans le desert, avec ses 8 points de baignades au long d'un ruisseau presque chaud. L'eau est claire, et l'experience du massage par la chute d'eau, agreable.

Mountains and llamas

Mountains and llamas

Fox

Fox


Laguna Miscanti

Laguna Miscanti


Laguna Miscanti (3)

Laguna Miscanti (3)


Laguna Miscanti (2)

Laguna Miscanti (2)


Us and Laguna Miscanti

Us and Laguna Miscanti

Waterfall in Puricama

Waterfall in Puricama


Thermal waters of Puricama

Thermal waters of Puricama


The valley with the thermal river and waterfalls

The valley with the thermal river and waterfalls

Our last day we visited some petroglyphs, mostly of llamas and dogs, and also enjoyed watching some live llamas in the area. We drove back to Calama, where the airport is, and relaxed the last afternoon. Last stop for this trip, Santiago!

Notre dernier jour, nous visitons des petroglyphs, voyons des llamas, des chiens, des hommes , et des llamas. Dans la pierre. Sinon, il ya aussi des llamas en vrai, dans les champs. Bref, ils aiment leurs llamas, llabas. Nous retournons dormir pres de l'aeroport, car demain, direction Santiago !

petryglyphs of a dog

petryglyphs of a dog


Petroglyph of 3 flamingos

Petroglyph of 3 flamingos


Now we know why pinatas have the colored ribbons on the ears

Now we know why pinatas have the colored ribbons on the ears


Cactus valley

Cactus valley

Posted by jillandloic 11:58 Archived in Chile

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Comments

Looks like such a lonely and remote place---did you see other humans at all? Santiago will be a change after this!
xox, Phyllis

by pebergman

There were actually a lot of tourists around :) not too much, but quite enough !

by jillandloic

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