Northern Chile

The jumping-off point for our adventures in northern Chile was of course the capital, Santiago. From there we flew north to the Atacama desert, landing in the mining town of Calama and traveling overland to the very small town of San Pedro, which became our base.

We visited three major "sights", heading out each day from San Pedro: the Rainbow Valley, the El Tatio Geyser Fields way up in the Andes (14,020'!), and the Valley of the Moon.

You can see the appropriate photo album or video by clicking on either the titles or the thumbnail images.


Santiago.  We didn't spend a whole lot of time in the capital: a walk downtown, a trip on the Metro, a home visit with a local, and dinner at a rotating restaurant overlooking the city.

San Pedro.  Population 8,000 150,000 tourists a year (really), many of them crazy enough to bike up into the Andes.

Atacama Desert  Rainbow Valley, El Tatio geysers, Valley of the Moon. A great deal like the American Southwest, with a liberal sprinkling of salt. Literally.


Valley of the Moon  A salt-encrusted version of the American Southwest.
El Tatio Geyser Field  14,000' up in the Andes at sunrise, in 20 degree weather. But the upside was, there was lots of steam.

Atacama Salt Flats.  900 square miles of salt. And flamingos!