One of my favorite parts of my #onlyinsouthamerica adventure, was the actual adventure! I mean, don't get me wrong, I luuuuuurve fancy hotels and amazing food, but I also love exploring. My hotel, Alta Atacama offered a ton of amazing Atacama Desert Excursions to crazy beautiful destinations around the property. Growing up in Arizona and traveling around the Southwest for tennis tournaments during my childhood has afforded me to witness some gorgeous landscapes across that part of the country. But being in the Atacama desert was like nothing I've ever experienced before. It felt like I was on a completely different planet, Mars to be exact. And apparently llamas live on Mars, because I got to see a ton of them!
We scooted around the desert on various half day and full day excursions, trying to pack in as much as humanely possible.
When you go to the Atacama desert, because I know you want to, you can choose from excursions depending on your style. They have mountain biking, trekking and/or driving around and exploring by van. Our agenda consisted of visiting the Atacama Salt Flats (and channeling my inner flamingo), Cave Painting, Tatio Geyser, Rainbow Valley, and a sunset happy hour overlooking Valley of the Moon. It's crazy to think that such a dry and isolated place can be so stunning, but it truly was. No matter which way you look, you're witnessing a beautiful vista, gorgeous sunset, colorful mountain or a valley that looks like you just landed on Mars.
Take a look....
First up... Valley of the Moon! You get the moon/Mars feel right?!
Photo cred to the fab Jamie from Ann Street Studio of the above pic!
The next day we ventured out to the Salt Flats...
Had I been brave enough, I could have thrown on a bikini and floated in the salty water!
The third day we got up at 5 am and headed to the Tatio Geysers - about 2 hours away from the hotel. Situated about 4,200 meters above sea level, these are some of the highest geysers in the world!
I mean, how freaking amazing are these llamas? I need a hair piece just like them!
We visited the Rainbow Valley which showcases a series of hills and peaks that vary in color from red to white to green and blue!
And that was it! You could easily spend an entire week in the Atacama desert exploring even more gorgeous destinations! But we packed up and headed to the airport to embark on a 6 hour journey south. Waaaaay south. Patagonia here we come!