The Chilean dream trip to the Atacama

Another trip with the Dutchies, although, it wasn’t all planned in the beginning. I actually was going alone and also booked everything already, until Jesse told me that they also wanted to go. Eventually, we went with seven people. The five of us who live in Santiago and two friends from the others who flew over from the Netherlands for totally around two weeks. I hope reading will be as fun as the trip was, because we went “brokko” all the time.

San Pedro de Atacama

From now, I realize how different Chile is compared to the Netherlands and Europe. We flew two hours to the North and were still in the same country. Sort of weird for us as you probably can imagine.

We booked an AIRBNB together, because that is what everyone preferred above a Hostel. To have some more privacy and a place for ourselves. And again, the AIRBNB was really great! It was one for twelve people, but because we were just with seven, there was enough space and beds left.

San Pedro itself is a small town with lots of small streets like you can see on the picture, but it is also dusty. This is because it is so dry over there and there is lots of sand that get taken into the city centre. My colleagues already advised me not to take too much of elegant clothes, because everything will get dirty. There are many, but really many tour agencies in town. Every street has like 5 to 10 agencies. It is insane. Really. So, if you are ever going there spontaneously, no worries about getting bored and being afraid of not being able to do the tours.

How did we do it?

So, in total we did seven yours. We were in San Pedro for five days and the tours were divided in three days. Because it is possible to get altitude sickness (according to Jesse it was called high sickness ha-ha), we started with the lowest ones around 2000 meters and ended up 4300. To give an idea, running wasn’t possible. Already when we were just walking a bit uphill everyone arrived upstairs without breath, which we knew is not due to our bad condition.

The seven tours were all quite busy and exhausting, because some were until late in the evening and then the next morning we still needed to wake up early. The average amount of sleep, therefore, was five hours.

Gladly, we had temperatures between 25 and 29 during the day. Because the sun is stronger here, there were always a few people from the group who burned themselves. Must say that most of the times, it were the guys ha-ha.

The different tours

Beneath I have listed the names of the places that I know we visited with the pictures included. The reason why I say: “I know” is because we during those tour we also made some stops at other Lagunas or Valle’s. There were for example, also evenings when we stopped to watch the sunset.

Valle del Arcoíris

Our first, first tour on the trip and this funny animal came to say “Hi”. We didn’t really know what to expect, but during the bus ride to the Valle, the landscape was already so beautiful. It was during the morning and although, we already had had breakfast at home. They prepared eggs with bread for us with tea, coffee or hit chocolate.

Most of the mountains were the color “soft red”, however, they felt so strong and “robuust” as we would say in the Netherlands. Like they had so much power, that they could just wash you away.

Again, so different compared to home or even someone I have ever seen in my life. Because, I had never seen something like this in my life and it made me quiet.

Laguna Cejar

Floating without doing anything, a-ma-zing for lazy people if I may say so. When we arrived at the agency, we saw on a board that it was possible to swim, however, none of us had taken their swimsuit. So, we went directly to te closest shop and bought some shorts. Not very fashionable, but it brought us into the water. For the ones who are wondering why it is possible to float; it is because the water is so salty. Refreshing our faces with the water, was therefore, also not the best idea to do.

Lagunas Altiplánicas

Flamingos, flamingos, flamingos. We saw a lot of them, from far and from close. Those little cutie pinkies.

However, the reflection from the mountains on the lake and just the mountains so hazy in the background, actually surprised and interested me the most. It felt so magical , again and again and again.

Mirador Piedras Rojas

Although, like I have said, was the weather very good throughout the whole weekend, was this place more windy, which you can see on the first picture of Sanne and me. We weren’t able to control our hair.

While we were heading back to San Pedro, our tour guide told us that we should stop here and take pictures. After we had seen the view, we totally agreed. Although, it was sometimes that we were risking a bit of our lives, because there were still cars coming of course.

Astronomía

Now it comes. The astronomía tour. Something which has been my dream for already many years. I have explained my feelings and thoughts about this tour also more in detail on my Instagram account this time (also called: travelaroundwithbella by the way), but for the ones who haven’t read/seen it or don’t have Instagram I will tell it again. I love to tell it again, because it is just so me.

Since I am a child I believe that when people die, they become a star. As probably many other people I have also lost, and some too young or because of horrible illnesses. Not that I always precisely know who which star has, but it just represents them. Most of the time, it makes me emotional because the impact is so big on me, that I cannot describe the feeling.

Now back to the tour. It was around two hours and we received a lot of information about the Milky Way and position of the star. We looked through the telescope and made a picture together. The amount of stars that night what insane. Even compared to South-Africa where I saw many, this was even more. The whole day I was already a bit nervous and emotional for the tour, because it was really going to happen now. Some tears dropped that night and that wasn’t because I was disappointed, because the tour guide told us that the idea falling stars isn’t true. In the end, it is just falling trash from one of the other planets.

Geysers del Tatio

You can see on the first picture below that the opinions about this tour differ. We got picked up at five o’clock in the morning and because we had the astronomía tour the night before, we only slept like four hours. Besides that, did no one really expect that it was going to be so cold, and with “so cold” I mean -8. Although, the tour guide told us it felt like -19. Yep, I was very happy that I was wearing my ski jacket and a hat.

The geysers were 86 Celsius degrees and then you would probably think that people would be careful and pay attention to what they are doing. However, that haven’t always been the case, because in total five tourists had died there. We call them the “ramp touristen” in Dutch. Because still, although, the regulations are much stronger and they have build walls around the Geysers, the tourists dare to climb or sit on it. Helping yourself with your own death, as we call it.

As you can see was I still smiling. It was the first time for me that I was at a place where there were Geysers. This one is the third biggest one in the world after Yellow Stone (USA) and Russia.

Valle de la Luna

The last but not least; Valle de la Luna. I could tell you a lot about how the Valle has been created, but for that, again, you can better ask Google.

Must say that it sort of felt that we were walking on the moon or something. Again, magical and exhausting. It was uphill plus through sand. With the water bottles in our hands we started the walk and ended up at a side on a mountain.

Here again, while we were waiting for the sunset and it was very windy, we laughed a lot about the “ramp touristen” whom were present. Some even, again, risking their owns lives to sit close to the cliffs. Everything for the picture. Because yes, it was probably going to be an amazing and beautiful picture on that spot. Still, we preferred to listen and not be the “badasses” for one time. Although, after we got a comment that we were talking too loud.

Was it, in the end, really the “dream trip”?

I have told and showed you now everything we did, but not if I liked it and if it reached my expectations. I honestly, found it difficult to write texts by the pictures for the first time. Because I still think, that telling you will never be the same as experiencing it in real life. However, besides that, I am also not sure whether I do need to tell what I think of it. Because, I hope that my pictures show already enough how much fun we had together and how extremely beautiful and breathtaking this place was.

Besides that, did it really exceed my expectations. In the part of how magical it all was, but also how much we saw. We just thought, that we would see the things from seven tours I booked, but, in the end, they showed us so much more than that. I, by the way, booked with Vive Atacama Travel Agency and would seriously recommend them to anyone. The tour guides were great, the lunches/breakfasts which were included were good (besides the fact, that we cannot see eggs and white bread anymore ha-ha), they were always on time with the pick-up, and if you look at what we have paid and got in return, it is even much better!

So, yes, it was indeed a dream trip for me and I enjoyed myself very much with those crazy people around me.

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