I still remember sitting open mouthed as the bus arrived to the desert of San Pedro de Atacama in the North of Chile; the driest desert in the world. It was unlike any landscape I’d ever seen before and it was stunningly beautiful, I couldn’t stop staring. The bright blue sky scattered with sparse clouds contrasted against the flat, rocky land which seemed to go on almost as far as the eye could see. I say almost because in the very far distance the snow capped mountains rose above the sand. I’d been travelling around South America for over three months by this point and this was unlike anything I’d seen before.
Once we arrived and checked into a hostel, dumped our bags and wandered around the small town to see what we could do. We hired bikes and set off with a very limited map with the aim of finding Valle de la luna (Moon valley). The land was flat but in the distance were the towering, orange coloured rocks we were heading for.We of course got lost, which is something that I did most days while travelling, and cycled straight past the turning but it didn’t matter at all as it was just so incredibly beautiful and was such a treat to the eyes. As we cycled further and further we were greeted with the view of golden hills of sand and spectacular views behind us; dry, pink land, more mountains and the odd tree.
After stopping a few cars to ask for directions, we then cycled back to the turning that we’d missed. We were then greeted by this beautiful view of horse riders running through the sand while it blew around to create a mist. This is one of my favourite travel photos from my five month trip.
We carried on further and found that we had the place to ourselves! Imagine it! There were beautiful footprints from visitors who’d arrived earlier in the day but for now, we had the desert to ourselves. My travel companion sand surfed down the towering hills; you can hire a sand board from the town too. While I read my book and just stared and stared at the dramatic landscapes that surrounded me. Then it was time to wander around the sand taking in all that we could see. Simply stunning.
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