– I never thought I’d see anything like this in my life. Everything here is impressive … A beauty from another planet!
exclaims Frederick, unable to control the tears. From Piedra del Coyote viewpoint, this German tourist observes overwhelmed the spectacle of colors the Moon Valley unfolds generous at dusk when the massifs, volcanoes and salt caves transform into beautiful sculptures with the last glimpses of the sun.
Is that the magic that people talk about?
Is that the famous spell of San Pedro de Atacama?
In the north of Chile, 98 kilometers from Calama, a small adobe and peaceful village welcomes tourists from around the world: is San Pedro de Atacama. I invite you to explore it together starting from Caracoles Street, a temptation of delicious restaurants and endless panoramas that tourist agencies have prepared for the demanding and varied guests. – What do you think if we also visit the market? Come and let ourselves be captivatep by the local crafts and the passion you can find in each of its creations made of wool, volcanic soil and cactus wood.
There is so much to visit in this magical town, that’s for sure! However, I propose to go a little further, just two kilometers west and travel together to Mars. Yes, Mars, you heard right. The red planet lives in a valley of incredible rock formations and salt that in the 50s and 60s were the fascination of researcher and Jesuit priest Gustavo Le Paige. “Valley of Mars,” said the priest. “Death Valley” baptized the locals the most inhospitable place on Earth, name that remains until today.
We went to the moon and to Mars. What if we fly a while without lifting our feet off the ground? 18 kilometers southeast of San Pedro de Atacama is a place where we can do it: Cejar Lagoon. Don’t hesitate and dive with me in its turquoise waters; it will feel like a trip to the clouds but you will never fall down. You will float effortlessly thanks to the high concentrations of salt and lithium of this lagoon, superior even to those of the Dead Sea. And when you’re there, flying in the desert, soak up with the beauty of Cordillera de la Sal.
I have shown you wonderful places just near the village of San Pedro de Atacama. Since you have been so kind to accompany me, I decided to share with you a treasure that I discovered in Laguna Tebinquinche: a giant mirror of salt! We’ll go tomorrow, at dusk, to this place where the sky is printed on the water and you lose yourself in the colors, clouds and mountains reflected at your feet. Remember to bring your camera and get ready to take the most beautiful pictures in your life.
Whoops! It’s dark, time to rest. Let’s go back to Caracoles street and recover our energies with a homemade corn pie and Chilean wine from a local restaurant. For dessert, I recommend you try the rica rica ice cream and entice with all the stars of San Pedro de Atacama, the best place in the world to observe the firmament.