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.
The sun began to set and the sun quickly disappeared behind the rocks are we slowly cycled back to the town. Landscape that took my breath away! Which breathtaking landscapes have you seen?
Follow along on Bloglovin’ :D//
This post first featured on Adventitious Violet in July 2014
love all of your photos!
Thank you 😀
I’m made for the Dakar, so I’ve wanted to go there for while (your pics are beautiful) – you didn’t see the hand in the desert?
Thank you, you would love it! Ohh, where is the hand? Did I miss it?! I haven’t heard of it and I just checked with my Chilean partner and he hasn’t either. Although I did see the hand on the beach in Punta del Este, Uruguay 🙂
My gosh that is amazingly beautiful! Definitely a place I want to visit next time I’m over there! And I definitely want to sand surf haha some breathtaking views I have had recently were definitely in the Scottish highlands! Slightly reminiscent of your photos but with green everywhere 😉
Highly recommended followed by the overland trip to Bolivia! Can’t wait to see your pics from the highlands, I’ve heard great things about its beauty 🙂
These photos are breathtaking! I especially love those with the footprints in the desert sand – incredible!! What a beautiful part of the world and no doubt an unforgettable travel experience for you! I would LOVE to visit Chile some day! x
Thank you, Carly! It really was an incredible journey. Hope you make it to Chile one day 🙂
Okey, I officially want to visit a desert now! Your pictures are amazing!!
Thanks Van 🙂 Desert scenery was so much more beautiful than I thought it could be!
Thanks Mani 🙂
Are these mountains for real?! You just keep amazing me with all your wonderful experiences over the world!
I know, right! They are insane, I really couldn’t get over all of the colours as they just don’t look real at all!!
The Atacama is truly amazing. The fact there s actually life there when it is the driest place on earth! We went and visited a small farming village out in the middle of nowhere. Their water source was a “river” (more like a creek), that was from the snow melt in the Bolivia Mountains. Incredible!
Oh wow, that sounds incredible, what an experience. It is really crazy that there is life despite the dryness, hard to get your head around!
Wow. these photos are unreal!! Love all the mountain landscapes – just breathtaking!
Thanks so much Sara. The beauty was out of this world!!
San Pedro is one of my most favorite places in the world! Valle de Luna..wow. Haven’t been back since my early 20’s so great to see it through your beautiful photos :).
Aw, glad it bought back happy memories for you. These were from my trip in 2009 when I was also in my early twenties 🙂
Wow I love all the color contrast! Desert landscapes are so fascinating to me. I love that first picture with the heart sticker 🙂 Did you try to sand surf?
The colours were so vibrant but I preferred to just look at them, I’m a bit of a scaredy cat when it comes to things like sand boarding – the dunes were so steep!! And that heart was made out of paper from our travel journals, just for fun 🙂
Wow wow wow – my jaw dropped open right at the start and stayed that way for the whole post! Those are such incredible landscapes! Gorgeous shots.
Woah that looks straight out of a western movie or something! If I would’ve just seen those photos I would’ve never guessed they were taken in Chile! I’ve never seen a landscape like that in person, I would love to check it out!
It’s so true, because of Chile’s size it has sooo many different landscapes so people don’t always know what to imagine. I’ll never forget these desert scenes 😉
Wow that looks incredible! I’m a little jealous I’ve to admit 😉 xo
It really was incredible 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!
It’s so nice to read these lines and especially about your excitement about the landscape! I have just traveled through Chile, and I have been to San Pedro as well as to Torres del Paine. While the desert was surprisingly special and impressive (I wasn’t expecting a lot about a desert, to be honest), I had just the exact same feelings you are mentioning here when I was hiking the W trek in Torres del Paine. So, so special! It’s nice to find people who understand these feelings of excitement. 🙂
But yeah, the desert was very special as well. I especially liked the lagoons of Salar de Atacama. One of them was so incredibly silent, I just couldn’t believe it and tried to burn this experience into my memories forever! No bigger streets, no cities nearby, no aircrafts, not many people, no wind, no running water, only two flamingos – nothing there to make any noises! How awesome is this! And such beautiful colors! The light blue of the lake, the reddish color of the hills, some yellow and green bushes in the front, the blue sky – simply amazing!
Lucky you you are moving down there again! Thank you for sharing your travel experiences!
Thank you SO much for your lovely comment 🙂 Travelling and seeing places like San Pedro is the thing that makes me the most excited so I know where you are coming from! I have seen a bit of Patagonia but in Argentina, and I am absolutely dying to see as much of it as I can when living in Chile, it seriously looks like the most perfect place especially as mountains are my favourite type of landscape 🙂
I also loved all the lagoons in the Atacama, it was just the most incredible and I was surprised at how beautiful it was. Thanks for stopping by my blog!
I didn’t manage to get onto your blog from the link, please could you link me it again 🙂
Hey Marcella! If you like mountains, then Torres del Paine is a must see for you! You will love it!
I also thank you for stopping by my blog yesterday! That’s how I ended up here. 🙂 Here is the link again: https://jennyblockphoto.wordpress.com/
Thank you!! I couldn’t get back on the blog but now I can 🙂 Cannot wait for lots if mountain trips
I envy you! 🙂 Enjoy!