Which translates to tour of the mountain and salt lakes of Atacama.
Tropic of Capricorn – Chile
Here you drive past it in the desert.
Pretty unremarkable really.
Salar de Atacama
The Salar de Atacama is a massive salt formation formed over 30 million years.
It spans across a whole valley 1,000s of square km across, a big valley.
The ‘Salar de Atacama’ is where water rises to the surface and evaporates in the desert sun depositing whatever minerals it has picked up along the way.
There are 30 million years worth of these deposit lying under the plain at Atacama.
These are some English girls, here we are in front of Laguna Chuxa which has some interesting life forms.
Like I, they did not speak Spanish.
One of them was from Wolverhampton, can you guess which?
I have picked up this rock showing some of the salt deposits.
I notice when I get the rock on the bus that there are a number of worms living in this piece of rock, which crawl out like maggots unto the dash-board and annoy/excite/entertain our driver.
Having a closer look indicates that the rock is made up of many beasts alive and in various states of death and decay.
Surprisingly rather than being a place of hot arid water deprived salty death, the lakes are actually supporting their own unique microcosm of life.
A concept strange and alien to the resident of an industrialised nation like myself.
These are no salt lakes located high in the mountains. These are fresh water lakes and are bright blue in colour.
There is another smaller lake next to Miscanti, this is covered in Algae cormorants burds of various descriptions.
Behind the lake there is an active volcano.
We stop on the way back to visit a lush valley. This valley is made remarkable because of its contrast to the surrounding deserts.
There is a clear stream flowing through.
The guide shows us cave paintings.
The back of my legs are burnt, from the salt lake I suspect.
I apply some of the English girls sunscreen.
On the way back we visit town Toconoa, I buy an ice cream Danky, like a Corneto and we drive back to San Pedro.
The girls moan because the guide has not be guiding as completely as they would have liked.
The tour costs $21m, about 20 quid.
It lasts from 8.30-9 till about 6pm and is worth the money, even if your tour is in Spanish, like ours.
One of the guides Cosmos does it in English but doesn’t accept credit cards.