Ted Travels: San Pedro de Atacama
I’m in San Pedro de Atacama, located in northern Chile at 2350mt above sea level. In the middle of a desert, this small village has been around for thousands of years. Traces of human beings dates back about 10,000 years ago.
The town sits on a river, which is very dry right now. However, I asked where the water comes from and it turns out it’s from the ice melt from the snow-covered Andes! How about that! We are surrounded by mountains: to the east, the Andes, and to the west we have two mountain ranges: The Salt Mountains and the Domeyko Range. San Pedro sat on the cross roads of trade routes between the Bolivian high plains and Argentina en-route to the Pacific coast. Today, it still a commercial centre but not for trade, but for tourism. It is a dusty dirty looking place with adobe buildings and unmade streets, every second shop front is an agency for booking all sorts of trips into the surrounding desert.
We are hosted by the Tierra Hotels, designed along the lines of “industrial chic” with a mixture of local material, adobe bricks, lots of wood and “crazy stone” walls. The stay here includes all meals, transfers and -of course- excursions into the desert and night stargazing into millions of stars that compose our Micky Way. The hotel as over 20-day trips ranging for “easy” to “difficult”. The Difficult one is climbing the dominate volcano overlooking the desert salt flat, the Lincancabur, about ascending its 5600mt summit. The view is amazing into Bolivia and across the Salar de Atacama. Your adventurous clients can tell us more, because I did not do this “walk” (ha!).
We did walk in the Valley of the Moon, along the trails on the Salt plains and had the chance to see lots of flamingos. We drove 90 kms to the Grande river basin to see the rainbow valley, a geologist paradise! Our great guide Lily told us about the Teutonic plates pushing onto each other millions of years ago and today we see the results of that event: layers of coloured rock formed by erosion of various minerals. We also stopped at Yerbas Buenas rock formation with petroglyphs left behind by the ancient people traveling along this route. The petroglyphs were created by the Atacameno people and date back approximately 10,000 years!
But that’s not all, this morning we saw the Tatio geysers at 4300mts, the site has more than 80 active geysers where columns of water vapor can reach more than 12 mts. A great trip to the altiplano, the early start was well worth it. There is just not enough time to see and do all in the driest desert in the world with its amazing diversity!
While I’m here exploring our best products, our office back in Melbourne will arrange everything for your clients, call them today!