It's A Desert Life For Me: Atacama Desert, Chile
There Is Something About The Desert That Makes My Heart Sing and sets my mind free. I've visited many deserts in the world, and it was a dream-come-true when my husband and I visited the Atacama Desert in Chile, the driest desert in the world. The flight from Santiago to Calama was breathtaking as we watched the terrain and changing colors while we flew between the Andes Mountains and the Pacific Ocean.
The Atacama Covers A 600 Mile Strip of land full of sandy plains, river gorges and white-capped volcanoes as high as 20,000 feet. We were there only four days, and saw very little of this enormous desert land, but we felt like we'd seen a lot since there were so many different views, terrains, and formations shown by our guide, Paz.
We Stayed At The Awasi Atacama Resort near the town of San Pedro, and Paz was our assigned guide for the duration of our stay. The Awasi was an absolutely luxurious oasis, literally, because one hour after we arrived they experienced the heaviest rainstorm they had seen in fifteen years. For us, it was magical! The lightning was so close and powerful we didn't dare to leave our casita until the storm had passed five hours later. As a result, our excursions the following day were spectacular, with rainwater settling in the desert reflecting the snow-capped mountains.
Llamas, Donkeys, Guanacos, & Flamingos were drinking from many different pools of water left by the storm. We hiked and toured different parts of the desert for three days, including Moon Valley, Rainbow Valley, Salt Flats, and the huge sand dunes. A highlight for me was getting to slide down the sand dunes barefoot using walking sticks, and looking like a "sand skier". It was spectacular.
One Day We Drove 14,000 Feet High to a salt flat where flamingos were feeding on the tiny shrimp that live there. Paz prepared a beautiful picnic that we brought to enjoy while watching the multi-hued scenery. Back at the resort, we dined each night in complete luxury, tasting traditional Chilean foods prepared by Chef Juan Pablo. One evening, I took a Pisco tasting lesson from Felipe, and another night several other guests and I tasted Chilean wines with different food pairings. The Awasi staff was extremely accommodating and we were never disappointed in the food, service and accommodations.
The Days Spent In The Atacama Desert Were Spectacular, and the night sky full of stars was beyond imagination. You can take me to the beach anytime, but for some reason my heart belongs in the desert. The Atacama was paradise for me.