Journey to the Atacama Desert

My 3-day excursion through the magnificient Salt Flats ended with crossing the border into the Atacama Desert which spans across both Bolivia & Chile.

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As with most days on this trip, my last day in Bolivia began on a very early (and extremely cold) morning at the edge of the Salt Flats. With our bags packed and our heads, hands and feet all wrapped up in the cold, our first stop was the Siloli Desert.

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 The desert is famous for its rock formations, namely this Arbol de Piedra or, Stone Tree. It’s shaped like a stunted tree, about seven meters high and made out of sandstone.

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The second stop was the Laguna Colorada or, Red Lagoon which is a shallow salt-water lake that is red in colour due to some algae. The most beautiful thing about this lake is the pink flamingos that inhabit it, complementing the red colour of the lagoon so perfectly!

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I haven’t Photoshopped any of these pictures; this is the natural colour of the lake!

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With the Siloli Desert and the Red Lagoon behind us, we finally made it across the border into Chile, spending two nights in the town of San Pedro de Atacama.

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 San Pedro de Atacama is small town in the Atacama desert, catering very much to tourists. It also resembles something out of Wild West movie! Not to mention that the change in temperature (from about 0 to 30 degrees celsius) was a welcomed change!

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I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many flags within such a short distance! Chileans are just a tad patriotic.

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 One of the main attractions of the Atacama Desert is the Valley of the Moon which has various stone and sand formations carved by wind and water. The terrain is considered to look somewhat similar to the surface of the moon; hence the name! It’s also considered to be one of the driest places on earth with some areas not having received a single drop of rain in a hundred years!

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With nothing but sand and stone weaving in and out, over and under, it did feel like I was on a complete different planet, void of any human contact. I found the trek through these formations incredibly exciting but a warning to those even slightly claustrophobic, you do have to climb through some very tiny tunnels and spaces.

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eat_wear_wander_atacama2The best part about Valley of the Moon? Watching the sunset from right up here. Although the temperature dropped at this point and the strong, extremely dry wind began to bite at my skin, this view made it all worth it. Remember what I said about feeling so very tiny on several occasions on this trip? Well, this would be another one of those moments.

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