Experience South America – The Atacama desert – Day 01

What counts in life is not the starting point but the walk. Walking and sowing at the end you will reap what. (Cora Coralina)

We took a plane in Santiago and headed to the airport in Calama, a flight of about two hours. Arriving in Calama we went for some transport to take us to a village called San Pedro de Atacama that was to be our base for the tours to come. We ended up getting a van and after an hour’s drive on the road with good asphalt, arrived in San Pedro.

Estrada-para-Calama Atacama desert

Calama highway to San Pedro de Atacama

We stayed in a hostel called Rincon de Quitor, which is far from the town center, but nothing too far, about 3km. The look we had in the inn was already amazing, but the best was yet to come.

We left the lagguage at the inn and Leo, the owner, took us to town for lunch. We had a dish of potatoes and chicken, and a ‘escudo’ beer to kill off the desert heat.

Leo was very friendly, talked about various subjects such as tourism, politics, work, etc. Lent us some montain bikes (no extra charge) for pedaling around the city and to the center and touristic places. Near the end of our stay he even made us a beautiful evening barbecue washed down with wine.

Thank you Leo!

Atacama Desert Day 1

Vale-de-la-Luna Atacama desert

Hill top on Vale de la Luna

No time to rest we visit la Luna Valley at 4pm. This valley is famous for its lunar surface formation due to different stratifications and saline outcrops caused by natural agents.

From West to east rises a sierra called Cordillera de Domeyko, and its highest elevation is the Quimal hill standing 4.278m tall; following the ridge there is a lower sector, known as the Preandina depression, where the great Salar de Atacama (2.300m) sits. Finally comes the great mountain range of the Andes consisting of a large plateau known as Altiplano and a chain of volcanoes such as: Licanbur, Aguas Calientes and Lascar Acamarachi which divides this soil and rules the system of existing rivers and valleys.

Vale-de-la-luna-2 Atacama desert

Lunar view in the Vale de la Luna

Price: 15 000 Chilean pesos, about R$90 reais per person. These values change according to the season.

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