The region of the Atacama desert is one of the most beautiful spots I have ever been to.
The bus journey from Salta (Argentina) to San Pedro de Atacama (Chile) is an attraction in itself. From the road you spot snow-capped mountains, desert landscapes, high plateau lakes and even this immense salt lake, which all the passengers were gazing at:
The village of San Pedro de Atacama is small and very touristy. Nearby, there are mountains, geysers, lakes, salt lakes, hot springs, dunes good for sandboarding and an endless number of other attractions. The small village is packed with hotels and tour operators.
The Atacama desert is the most arid in the planet. In the middle of it, some points have not registered any rain for up to 4 years. In town, there are plenty of posters prompting visitors to use water resources responsibly.
Unfortunately, I was in a rush and I left without having seen many of the highlights of the region. What I did, however, was renting a bicycle and cycling towards one of the most impressive: the Moon Valley. This desert landscape is protected as part of a Natural Reserve.
In the National Park there is a circuit going through the salt lake, a canyon, mountains and rock formations.
Perhaps the star of this National Park is this huge dune:
On the road, I could also spot some amazing landscapes with snow-capped mountains in the distance:
And so I ended my cycling day through the desert with a couple of kilos less I guess, from how sweaty it was to pedal in the heat!! But naturally it was worth it. I don’t want to overload this with photos but the landscape was really spectacular.
I left San Pedro so quickly because I had to reach Santiago to take the first flight of my round-the-world ticket, to Easter Island… more to come in the next post.