San Pedro de Atacama (07/15-May)

After this exhausting trip I decided to take some rest in San Pedro de Atacama. This town is a very touristic place in the middle of the most arid desert of the world, the Atacama desert. To give you an idea of what this means, there are a minimum of 330 days per year without any cloud in the sky... and on my side I did not see any.

Well this was supposed to be a place to rest but I ended up doing many things here... and there are even thing that I did not have time to do in one week! As for San Pedro itself, it is a strange little town consisting mostly of travel agencies, restaurants, hostels and local made stuff shops. It reminded me a the little towns we usually see in the far west movies or in comic books like Lucky Luke. It is made mostly out of adobe and is very dusty. It lies at 2400m and therefore if it is really warm during day , it is also very cold during night. My first excursion was to see the Valle de la Luna which lies near San Pedro. I wanted initially to go there by bicycle but was too exhausted for that and ended up joining a tour. It is called Moon Valley cause its surface is very similar to the surface of the moon. We spent the evening there watching the sun go down and then the (full) moon rise... and ended up by drinking some pisco sour (local alcohol). The second one consisted in going to see the El Tatio Geysers which lie at 4400m. As the geysers are the most active from 6am to 8am, I had to leave San Pedro at 4am.... and I can tell you that at 6am it is VERY cold at 4400m!!! Even with several layers of clothes I was freezing. After that we went to some natural pool filled in with hot water coming from a little geyser. It was nice to lay there for a while even if because of the outside temperature, the pool was not warm everywhere. On the way back we had the opportunity to see many different kinds of local animals like lamas (I even ate some lama meat at noon!). The third trip consisted in going to see some high-altitude lakes very close to the volcanoes (there are many volcanoes in Chile... and even more close to Sa Pedro which is surrounded by these volcanoes). Again we could see some animals, see nice landscapes... And finally yesterday I joined a tour to visit an observatory owned by a french astronom... The fact is that the sky here is the best in the world to look at the sky as it is very clear and very dry. The presentation made by the astronom was interesting though basic and we were also able to look at the sky using his telescopes. Today I will get ready for my next trip: tomorrow I'm living to Sud Lipiez and Uyuni. This trip is going to last 3 days in 4*4 cars and should be both impressive and tiring as I will be all the time at more than 4200m (with a maximum of 4900m). I hope I won't get sick cause of altitude sickness.

Photos here