Tour in San Pedro De Atacama and Valley of the Moon

August 11th 2003

Flight from Santiago to Calama, followed by a short bus transfer to San Pedro de Atacama, che gateway city to Atacama desert and to the mountains of northern Chile and Bolivia. Excursion to Moon Valley, probably the world's driest place, showing an impressive landscape onto Licancabur volcano, sand dunes and other geological wonders.

Flight Santiago - Calama, Chile
Atacama desert, Chile
The day starts with an early morning flight from Santiago to Calama, about 1500 chilometers to the north. Soon, the Lanexpress' Airbus A320 flies over the Atacama desert, one of the planet's driest place where, in some areas, the are no registered rainfalls since the meteorological institutes started to record the weather data, dozens of years ago (National Geographic, August 2003). We will then continue to San Pedro de Atacama by bus, a desert town conveniently located near the bolivian border.

 

San Pedro de Atacama, Chile
San Pedro de Atacama is a small, dusty town with no asphalted roads. The first thing that I note, is the presence of many nice dogs, living free in the town.

 

San Pedro de Atacama, Chile San Pedro de Atacama, Chile
San Pedro de Atacama, Chile Pictures of San Pedro de Atacama. When there isn't anybody walking in a street, in Italy we say "there isn't a dog"... well here there are dogs, but no people... at least in this moment!

 

Atacama desert, Chile
Picture of Moon Valley. Today is a very special day because the moon will rise exactly in the same moment when the sun will set. Thence, we take an evening excursion to the nearby Valley of the Moon and, after climbing a huge dune of sand, we wait for the show.

 

Licancabur volcano between Chile and Bolivia
Meanwhile, I take some pictures of the Licancabur volcano, some 40 kilometers away. It is almost 6000 meters tall and it is on the Bolivia / Chile state line.

 

Moon valley, Chile
A few minutes later... while the sun is still illuminating the peaks of the tallest mountains, the moon rises... bigger and more magical than ever.

 

Valley of Moon, Chile
Finally, the sun sets totally and the moon continues to rise, in a rainbow of colors better than I would have never imagined.

 

Valley of Moon, Chile
A nice panorama of Moon Valley, Atacama desert, Chile.

 

Salt mine, Chile Salt mine, Chile
The tour continues in in the night, to an abandoned mine of salt. Holes for dynamite are still present on the walls.

 

Salt mine, Chile Salt mine, Chile
Finally, using some flashlights, we walk in a cave made of very narrow passages, observing several different minerals.

 

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