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Highlights of Chile

Chile is truly a land of contrasts and one of the best places for nature lovers who love landscapes. During our 8-day trip, we covered various attractions in San Pedro de Atacama, from amazing national parks to mesmerizing rock formations, astronomical phenomena, and so much more.

After our international flight to Santiago, we took a domestic flight to Calama. Upon arrival, we hopped on a transfer and drove for about an hour to reach San Pedro de Atacama, the place that was our home for the next eight days. We stayed in Hotel La Casa de Don Tomas, which was a charming place, located within a short walk to the town. The hotel staff were friendly and welcoming, and the rooms were clean and spacious.

Our first adventure began at Rainbow Valley, a unique destination featuring rocks of different colors. Rainbow Valley is a natural wonder located in the Atacama Desert. This valley is named for the brilliant colors of rocks that were formed due to volcanic eruptions millions of years ago. The combination of colors such as yellow, green, and red, makes this valley unique in terms of the beauty it presents.

Next, we visited Laguna Piedra, a serene spot that offered an opportunity to swim in the Salt Lagoons. This Laguna has an exceptional salt content of about 33%. Similar to the Dead Sea in the Middle East, this spot offers a unique experience where buoyancy becomes second nature. Even if swimming isn't your forte, the buoyant nature of the water means you'll find yourself floating effortlessly upon entry.

We also visited Los Flamencos National Reserve which is named after the flocks of pink flamingos that are regular visitors to the area. These magnificent birds can be seen wading through the shallow waters of the salt flats, their pink feathers contrasting beautifully with the blue sky above.

Red Rock or Piedras Rojas was another highlight of the trip. It is a rocky landscape that features a beautiful lagoon, making for a peaceful and scenic spot. Piedras Rojas is a group of red rocks located in the Atacama Desert. The red rock formation is also the part of the altiplano region. These rocks provide an ideal location to take photos, with the contrast between the red rocks and blue sky creating a jaw-dropping effect.

As a lover of astronomy, I had to sign up for the astronomy tour. It was incredible to witness the wonders of the sky with the naked eye. The guided tour introduced us to many objects, including the moon and Jupiter. Moon Valley was another location that stood out. True to its name, it resembled Mars. We also came across the Magic Bus, which was an abandoned bus in the middle of the desert. It served as a reminder of the hardworking salt mine workers who once used it.

Another challenge was El Tatio, a geyser located 15,000 feet above sea level. It required a 4 am wake-up call and a bumpy hour-long journey to reach the location. But the sight of water gushing upwards from the ground was pretty cool. (If you have visited Rotorua in New Zealand, this is very similar)

It is essential to note that getting to these locations requires a guide. The attractions are off the beaten path, and it is impossible to explore them without professional help.

Chile is a vast and open country, and the locals are committed to preserving their land's beauty and culture. I would not recommend this trip for people who do not take physical fitness seriously, though. The trip required endurance, and I am so happy we trained for it. I walked approximately 85 miles in eight days.

This trip to Chile was a unique and incredible experience. If you’re an adventure-seeker who loves landscapes, Chile is the perfect place for you. I highly recommend exploring San Pedro de Atacama, and hiring a tour company is an excellent decision if you are not familiar with the region. The locals are friendly and welcoming, and the food is delicious. I left Chile with a lasting appreciation for the hidden gems that this beautiful country has to offer.


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