Atacama: morning on Mars, evening on the moon

Desert, wide spaces, warmth, snow, lagunes, geysers, salt and altitude… all of that we found in San Pedro de Atacama. Splendid landscapes!

The town is located in the north-east of Chile, at 2.400 meters above sea level, our first experience with altitude. Although we have not been sick, we felt light headaches from day 1. The streets are sandy, the houses are made of clay bricks which makes it very different from everything we’ve seen so far. The centre is quite touristy with tour agencies at every corner.

We stayed 4 days in a really cool backpacker (Pangea Norte – if you like a place with fun, barbecues, parties, beer-pong and cats, it’s the place to be). The owner is half Chilean half Brazilian, likes to brag and is quite the ladies’man, very nice and generous with all his guests he wants everyone to have a good time and feel like home.

We rented a car for 2 days and drove around, to Piedras Rojas which is quite far and up in altitude, to Valle de Marte, Valle de la Luna and woke up at 4AM on our last day to go see the sunrise at Tatio Geysers.

All these different landscapes are incredible and more than once we felt like we were on a different planet, especially in Valle de Marte (literally felt like driving on Mars) and Valle de la Luna.

San Pedro de Atacama will be the place where Adrien cut his hair for the first time of the trip (was about time!) in the outside court of the backpacker, using his phone as a mirror. Victor, the owner, made fun of him a few time but I think deep down he was quite impressed of the good outcome!

Oh, and I almost forgot… San Pedro de Atacama will also be the place I’ve had (against my will) my very first space chocolate ever! After a barbecue in the hostal, a friend of the owner came to sell a few cookies and chocolates. He didn’t advertise it well because when I asked what they were made off he told me “chocolate, orange and coconut”. Sounding very delicious I bought one and ate it all. I thought 6 dollars was quite expensive, but I also thought the guy was trying to make a living selling home-made bakery to foreigners. It was just 5 minutes later that I heard him selling his cookies to someone else, specifying they were “weed cookies”… Oups! There must not have been a lot of weed in it because I didn’t feel a thing! Pfiouu!! But lesson learned, never buy expensive chocolate from a stranger without asking the full receipe! 🙂

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