Chile
San Pedro de Atacama

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349 travelers at this place

  • Day59

    San Pedro de Atacama

    March 13 in Chile ⋅ ☀️ 23 °C

    We are now in Chile! We are in a town called San Pedro de Atacama which is at the edge of the Atacama desert. The Atacama desert is supposed to be one of the driest places in the world. The average rainfall is 15 mm per year, however it has rained every day that we have been here, causing floods and powercuts in the shops and streets. The desert is a 600 mile plateau west of the Andes mountains.

    The thing that I find most interesting is how much the desert looks like the planet Mars. In fact, the Atacama is often used for filming Mars scenes, and is being used by NASA to test instruments for Mars missions. It looks like Tatooine from Star Wars.

    Yesterday we went to see La Valley de Luna and the Mars Valley. I couldn’t believe how alien the landscape looked for miles around us as far as the eye could see.

    2 days ago we visited the geysers and hot springs in the Atacama desert called El Tatio. It was at 4320 metres altitude, which again made the air very thin and extremely cold. It is the 3rd largest geyser field in the world! The reason this was so amazing to watch is because this is still a seismically active area, with active volcanoes all around 🌋! Some of the geysers were spewing out water and boiling mud and our guide said it looks like the gateway to hell!

    The town of San Pedro is really cute! There are LOADS of dogs all around! It looks like a wild west town! All the houses are built the same too!
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  • Day4

    San Pedro

    November 10, 2019 in Chile ⋅ ⛅ 11 °C

    Yesterday a short flight brought us to Calama Airport, from which we took a bus to the nearby town of San Pedro in the Atacama desert. It's a bit dry and dusty here for some reason. And the breakfast is so tasteful it took our breath away quite literally.Read more

  • Day125

    Time to say adios and goodbye

    May 2, 2019 in Chile ⋅ 🌙 7 °C

    Für mich heißt es nun Abschied nehmen. 😩Abschied von einer wunderbaren Zeit ! I keep all the memories in my mind! Ich hoffe für immer! ❤️

    Ich freue mich aber auch auf ein Wiedersehen mit meiner Familie und Freunden, das Gefühl wieder zu Hause zu sein. Ich glaub das Erste was ich mache, ist erstmal richtig schön fränkisch essen gehen! 🍻🍗

    Dennoch bin ich recht wehmütig, da die Zeit doch so schnell immer vergeht! Aber that's life und Zeit kann man nun mal nicht anhalten! Aber ich bin so glücklich und dankbar für die Erlebnisse, Menschen,Momente, Tiere und Landschaften die ich sehen durfte! So viel das ich das erstmal alles "sacken" lassen muss, währrend der Reise konzentriert man sich ja meistens auf das hier und jetzt!
    Goodbye mein süßes Lama, welches uns noch die letzten Tage in Chile versüßt hat. Adios ihr zwei Hundchen, einer verschmuster wie der andere, die immer wieder treu an unserer chilenischen Unterkunft vorbeigeschaut haben um sich ein paar Streicheleinheiten zu holen. Heute Morgen hat uns dann noch eine Katze besucht , ohne Ohren allerdings 😬
    Goodbye Atacama , du hast mir nochmal atemberaubende Landschaft gezeigt die ich auch nicht zu schnell vergessen werde ( Blocks folgen noch )...ein wenig Atacama Sand/Staub werde ich wohl auch unbewusst mit nach Deutschland bringen.🙃🙂
    Und ach ja ein hauch von braun meine ich auch noch abbekommen zu haben,aber ich denke das realisiert nur der Jens und ich! 😎Tja ist halt so.
    Ich gehe mit einem lachenden und weinenden Auge fort. 😀😢
    Jetzt hier alle Erinnerungen nochmal aufzuschreiben wäre zu lang, das Wichtigste ist sowieso das was man im Kopf behält!
    Vorerst natürlich auch goodbye to Jens, pass gut auf dich auf! Aber wir sehen uns ja bald wieder!:-)Ich werde Dich auf deiner Weiterreise noch musikalisch begleiten!:-)
    Und unser Abschiedsselfie ist legendär!🤗😘
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  • Day123

    Chili - San Pedro de Atacama

    January 7 in Chile ⋅ ☀️ 18 °C

    De nouveau sur le continent Americain. Apres 1 mois de Palmiers, cela nous fait tout drole de nous retrouver a 2400 metres d'altitude dans le desert d'Atacama.
    Le dernier decalage horaire et le changement de climat nous ont mis un peu KO. On se met donc au rythme espagnol. On reccupere pour pouvoir affronter les altitudes au dela de 4000m de nos prochaines visites.
    San Pedro de Atacama est une petite ville coincée entre volcans et désert de sel. Dédiée au tourisme mais ses rues en terre et ses petites maisons en torchi lui donne un petit coté Western très sympa !
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  • Day35

    New day, new country

    July 16, 2019 in Chile ⋅ ☀️ 15 °C

    Gestern sind wir in der Nacht gut in der Wüstenstadt San Pedro de Atacama angekommen. Man muss sagen, dass die Chilenen den Grenzübergang deutlich strenger kontrollieren als noch die Bolivianer (so wurde zum Beispiel der ganze Bus leergeräumt und das Gepäck und der Bus mit Drogenhunden durchsucht). Insgesamt scheint hier alles geordneter und auch moderner zu sein. Bei der Durchfahrt durch die Stadt Calama hätte man beispielsweise meinen können, dass es sich um eine europäische oder amerikanische Stadt handelt (es gibt sogar eine richtige Müllabfuhr!). Auch San Pedro gefällt uns deutlich besser als erwartet und vor allem besser als Uyuni - es ist zwar sehr touristisch, aber die Stadt hat einen Wilden Westen Flair und süße Cafés und Restaurants. Noch ziemlich geschafft von der Tour und der Reiserei in den letzten Tagen haben wir heute eigentlich nichts gemacht außer unsere weitere Reise geplant (Flüge auf die Galapagosinseln sind gebucht!!!), die Stadt erkundet, die bisher besten Empanada gegessen und uns mit einem deutschen Pärchen im Hostel verquatscht. Chile gefällt uns aber bisher echt gut und wir finden es fast schon ein wenig schade, dass wir hier nicht noch mehr Zeit verbringen können - müssen wir halt irgendwann nochmal herkommen :)

    PS: Abschliessendes Fazit zu Bolivien - sehr schönes Land mit viel schöner Natur, netten Menschen und aus unserer Sicht nicht so unsicher wie manchmal dargestellt. Es gibt viel Armut und die Straßen sehen ganz anders aus als wir es in Europa gewöhnt sind. Gerade jetzt im Vergleich zu Chile gibt es in Bolivien viele unbefestigte Straßen in Städten, unverputzte Häuser und viele kaputte Autos auf den Straßen. Extrem alte Menschen die auf den kargen Feldern in der Hochebene schuften. Trotzdem wirken die Leute glücklich und grüßen nett wenn man sie anlächelt. Umweltschutz muss leider auch in Bolivien noch gelernt werden. Viel Plastikmüll, der achtlos in die Natur geworfen wird, vor allem um Uyuni herum. Trotz dieser Probleme ist Bolivien definitiv eine Reise wert, wenn man keine Probleme mit der Höhe hat, weil alle touristischen Ziele in Bolivien über 3500m liegen.
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  • Day112

    Schluss mit schabernäckischer Wüste

    February 10 in Chile ⋅ ☁️ 21 °C

    Da sag nochmal einer Wüste wäre nicht abwechslungsreich! Es gab allerlei Lagunen mit Flamongos, Lebensmittelvergiftungen, Gepäckverlust und auch Kakteeninseln mit Chinchilas. Spannend bis zur Grenze war das.Read more

  • Day284

    Chile San Pedro de Atacama

    December 19, 2019 in Chile ⋅ ☀️ 16 °C

    Nach ein paar weiteren Tagen in Cusco ging meine Reise weiter nach Chile. Ich bin mitten in der Wüste gelandet bei 30 grad und morgen gehts mit einem Jeep 4 Tage lang durch die Wüste zur Salar de Uyuni (weiße salzwüste). Updates gibts erst nach der Tour, da ich kein netzt für 4 Tage hab...Read more

  • Day35

    San Pedro de Atacama

    December 5, 2018 in Chile ⋅ ☀️ 18 °C

    ...ist mein erstes Ziel in Chile...ein absoluter Kulturschock: ein kleines, sehr gepflegtes Städtchen - die Altstadt ist pittoresk und die Neustadt wirkt eher wie in Spanien und hat nichts von dem Dreck und Chaos aus Bolivien oder Peru. Das Pro-Kopf GDP liegt in Chile 6x (!!!) höher als in Bolivien und die Preise sind auch mindestens 3x so hoch wie im Nachbarland. Gleichzeitig ist alles gepflegt und ordentlich: Gemüse am Markt wird wie in Europa aus großen Plastikboxen verkauft...und nicht wie in Bolivien auf Decken gestapelt...Read more

  • Day6

    Day 4-Atacama - Moon Valley

    January 1, 2019 in Chile ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

    A morning flight to Calama after checking out of the hotel landed us in "the great north," as Chileans call it. The smooth, two-hour flight took us up into the high plains to the west of the Andes and over a huge expanse of barren uplands. The denuded hills presented no vegetation and only an occasional road. A few (huge) open-pit mines broke the monotony. These are copper mines - once Chile's biggest industry but more recently affected by the fluctuations in world copper prices. Also recent are a few lithium mines. Approaching Calama, we began to see more evidence of mining with arrow-straight dirt access roads leading to drilling pads (?) or some type of exploration work. From Calama it is a bit more than an hour by bus to Pedro de Atacama.

    If we thought it looked barren from the air, from the ground it is stark! The Atacama is the world's driest desert and there is NOTHING on the ground except wind-blown dark sand and small gravel. There are no plants, not even grass and the terrain is gently rolling with a gully every once in a while. The road to San Pedro is good and our bus was comfortable.

    San Pedro is a oasis, both literally and figuratively, in this empty plain. It sits at just below 8,000 feet and you can feel the thinness of the air after taking only a few steps. The small town has the only trees and commercial operations around. The bowl of the Atacama exists because it is ringed and all sides by mountain ranges - the 15,000-foot Andes to the east and lower ranges on the other sides. One of these ranges is the Salt Range, which we traversed on the way to San Pedro. Twenty million years ago, the area was a large sea until tectonic forces lifted the Andes and drained the sea, leaving huge salt pans. The Andes here are a series of mostly dormant volcanoes rising to 19,000 feet peaks. These ranges block any rain from all directions, creating the dry conditions. The absence of rain has allowed what little does fall and the wind to sculpt an otherworldly landscape of salt and gypsum deposits into fantastic shapes. The same tectonic forces that lifted the Andes also pushed up blocks of the ancient seafood, allowing a look at the sedimentary layers of different formations.

    San Pedro is one of Chile's greatest tourist attractions and the town has over 100 accommodation options and dozens of restaurants. It is a once-in-a-lifetime experience (quoting the guidebook) since there is noting else like it on earth. Attractions include high-altitude climbing, sand hoarding, mountain biking, horseback riding, blue salt lakes dotted with flamingos, salt-encrusted valleys, geysers and hot springs. The cloudless skies and isolation from light pollution offer some of the best star gazing in the world and one of the world's biggest astronomic observatories. Lots to do, in spite of it's remoteness.

    We had a tour booked for the afternoon so we hurriedly checked in to the Hotel Diego de Almagro and went looking for the tour bus company. Our tour of the Moon Valley (Valle de la Luna) was great!. The name comes from the stark, barren landscape. There is nothing living here - no vegetation, no birds, no insects, not even tiny lizards scampering across the rocks. Our bi-lingual guide explained what we were looking at and led us on different, usually short treks to see particular sites. The rocks here are conglomerates of sediment, volcanic materials, alluvial deposits, salt and gypsum. At one spot she had us stop and be quiet long enough to hear the snapping and popping of the rocks, caused by the expansion and contraction of the salt in the sun and shade. We walked up to the top of one of the sand dunes to look over the lunar-like landscape. I sure felt the altitude and Gail didn't do the dune climb. The tour concluded with a sunset view from one of the higher cliffs.

    Back at the hotel, we found the dinner was by reservation only and we hadn't made them. The town was packed with tourists (it's New Year's Eve, after all and we'd had a bit of trouble getting a hotel). We were tired, hot, sweaty and hungry - not having eaten since breakfast. We searched out a restaurant but found them all asking for reservations. We settled for some cheese, crackers, meat and yoghurt from a tiny mom-and-pop store near the hotel and ate in the room. It was just about midnight by then and we started to hear the fireworks and revelers as we went to bed. Gail said the revelry went on until three in the morning but I was passed out by then. Happy New Year.
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  • Day8

    Day 6 - Flamingos and Altiplano

    January 3, 2019 in Chile ⋅ ☁️ 21 °C

    Just spent an hour writing up the day only to have my tablet crash without saving it.

    The tour picked us at the hotel around 6:30 and spent an hour picking up other participants at their hotels. With a group of 20, we headed south along the west side of the Atacama Salt pan for an 11-hour, 250-mile, 1-mile elevation change jaunt.

    The Atacama pan is an immense brine lake hemmed in on all sides by the four mountain ranges I mentioned yesterday. It is fed mostly by underground sources coming down from the Andes to the west. The surface is a thick crust of evaporated salt and minerals. It is a mile deep and was formed by the faulting, uplift and subsidence that formed the Andes over millions of years. The weight of the crust presses down on the liquid brine at the bottom, forcing it up to the surface where it evaporates to form new crust. The lake is about 1,100 square miles - one of the largest salt lakes in the world - and sits at about 8,000 feet.

    An hour into the jaunt, we arrived at the National Flamingo Reserve. Our guide, Roberto, kept up a constant, informative stream of information about the history, geology, ecology, and culture that we passed through during the entire trip - in good English. At the Reserve, Roberto led on a walk along the paths to see the shallow pools of brine where the three native species of flamingos waded while filtering the brine shrimp they eat and which give them their color. The crust is hard, jagged, and sharp - much like coral - brownish, with white or translucent nuggets of salt. We compared the coral-like surface to out memory of the smooth surface of Lake Nakuru, another flamingo reserve in Kenya. After the walk we had a light but filling breakfast, provide by the tour, by the bus. Roberto led us through the low-key but informative exhibits at the Reserve's HQ, adding additional information.

    Out of the Reserve heading west and south, we went up (and up, and up). The bus stopped at Socaire, a town of about 1,000 where the tour arranged our lunch on the return leg. The people of Socaire still farm the surrounding gullies using terraces formed with mud brick walls - much the same as they have done for centuries. The Conquistadors, arriving in the mid 1500s, were extremely impressed by the Inca terraced agriculture and called the uplands by their name for terraces (roughly, "atraves"). Usages and corruption changed that name into "Andes." Socaire sits at about 11,000 feet and the little walking we did left me lightheaded and breathing deeply. Alongside the path we saw vicunas, the small indigenous deer related to the llama and alpaca.

    Southward and upward we continued into the "Altiplano," the name for the region in Chile, Argentina, and Bolivia above 4,000 meters elevation. We stopped at Laguna Miscanti, another salt flat isolated by the eruptions of the line of volcanoes along this stretch of the Andes. There are more than 40 volcanoes along this line, many extinct but some mearly dormant. The last nearby eruption was about 1,000 years ago. The lagoon is blue-green and smooth, reflecting the peaks on either side. We walked down a path above the the lagoon and enjoyed the view. There were no others land animals and only a few birds.

    As we continued up it got cooler (maybe in the 60s at 2 PM) and windier. We got to Piedras Rojas (red rocks) and more salt flats with red hillsides due to the large iron content of the volcanic soil. We topped out about 13,500 feet and walking was a breathless experience (and to think just yesterday I complained about being out of breath in Atacama, a mile lower). At one location, fresh, 100 degree water flowed green into one of the salt pans. Roberto told us that there is evidence of human activity here dating from 12, 000 BC and human settlement from about 8,000 BC. As he talked he showed helpful pictures of various animals and indigenous culture from reference books he carried. As we headed back down into the basin, we could see on the far southern side of Atacama pan the white expanse of the lithium extraction process. The process pumps liquid brine from the depths of the lake and spreads it out in large ponds to evaporate the water, then refines the residue to get the lithium and other minerals.

    Back in Socaire, we had a great lunch of some Chilean dishes and headed north and lower toward San Pedro. We stopped at the marker designating the spot where the Tropic of Capricorn crosses the road. This marks the southernmost extent of the sun's annual oscillation. At noon on December 21st, the sun is directly overhead. Here, there is also the trace of the "Inca Highway" the road (footpath) stretching the length of the Inca empire and on which moved much of the empire's commerce and communications (carried by runners who could average 50 kilometers in eight hours). We rolled into San Pedro about 6 PM. Since we had an early start tomorrow, we showered and soon crashed.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

San Pedro de Atacama, Σαν Πέδρο ντε Ατακάμα, サンペドロ・デ・アタカマ, 산페드로데아타카마, San Pedro de Atakama, Сан-Педро-де-Атакама, 聖佩德羅德阿塔卡馬

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