It took me 23 hours to get from Pisco Elqui to San Pedro de Atacama in the north of Chile. That is because I had to change buses twice and because of the delay caused by the road conditions around Copiapó and Antofagasta. A terrible flood had hit this arid region shortly before, as a result of unseasonal heavy rains. Rivers swelled and poured water and thick mud all over the area. To make it worse, the mud that now covers the towns, is contaminated as the water ran through this regions many mines before reaching the cities.
I was lucky that the roads were open again and when I peaked out of the window of my bus at 2 am I saw a ghost city covered in mud where bulldozers were busy cleaning up the streets.
Thankfully, the region’s main tourism spot, the area around San Pedro de Atacama, had not been hit by the floods and the blackout caused by these had been fixed when I got there. San Pedro de Atacama is a pleasant little tourist town and the gateway to the Atacama desert and tours into Bolivia and its famous Salar de Uyuni.
The Atacama desert is said to be the driest place in the world. You can feel the aridness of this desert region with every pore of your body. Everything instantly becomes dry, your sinuses, your hair, your skin.
Hoewever, the area is stunning:
The cactus fruit was a little harder to find as it was not the right season, but we finally got to try some. You’ve got to sqeeze it and you can eat the gluey green mass that is inside. It looks gross, but it’s said to be very healthy and tastes a bit like a sour kiwi.
The Valle de la Luna and Valle de la Muerte are two of the most fascinating landscapes around SPdA…: