The Atacama desert is the second driest area in the world after Antarctica. In the rain gauge of nearby town Calama no measurable precipitation has ever been been recorded. It was dry and it was hot. It was also the first time I wore shorts on my trip!
Most tourists head out on different tours around the area and we were no different. On our first afternoon we went to Lagunas Cejas which is a cool salt water lagoon full of Brazilian tourists. I've always wanted to float in the Dead Sea but going here, and kind of floating, was close enough!
Day two, and our only full day was spent trying to book bus tickets to Santiago (it was a mission) and going on another tour with the lively Pedro as our guide. This time to Valle de la Muerte (Valley of Death) and Valle de la Luna (Valley of the Moon). Both were beautiful dramatic landscapes which had been carved out by water and wind. You could easily be on another planet here. I was kind of confused about how the name Death Valley fitted in though but it made sense when learning that it was just a mix up after a visiting Belgium priest had wanted to name the valley after Mars (Marte) but the locals had thought he was just pronouncing death (Muerte) wrong.
I have no photos of Santiago. But I had a special time there. They say travel is not just about the places you see, but it's just as much about the people you meet. Travelling with Nils, Alicia and Niclas had been so much fun and it was sad saying goodbye on that last day in Santiago. We had three fantastic days there. We did our much needed admin like dying our hair (me badly, Alicia successfully), laundry, post office and internet. Cruising the abundance of sport shoes shops was also considered admin too... So pretty, so cheap (when compared to Australia)! We brought Halloween costumes and had a huge night out with our walking tour guide who we befriended and we celebrated Alicia's birthday the best we could by staying out till 8am then later, after sleeping all day, eating birthday cake on the dorm room floor. I have no photos of Santiago, but I have memories, albeit some hazy, I won't forget.