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Tatio Geysers

November 22, 2012

There are two major problems with San Pedro de Atacama. Firstly there is no supermarket which overlanders need after crossing into Chile and SAG liberating the bulk of your fresh food. Secondly the fuel is very expensive.

Fortunately around 100km from San Pedro is a large town with a big mall, several supermarkets and cheaper fuel.  After stocking up with a fridge full of food, and going a bit overboard we were ready to get off the beaten track and head into the mountains to the Tatio Geysers.

The road to the geysers leads past one of the world’s largest open cast mines, creating dust clouds on the horizon and evidenced by the number of truly enormous tyres at the side of the road.

Once past the mine the smooth dirt road rises up into the hills and into the Chilean Altiplano. Our quick progress ground down when we turned onto the road leading the Geysers. It was heavily washboarded and any speed over 20km/hr made us feel as though we were going to be rattled apart. Fortunately there was only 15km of this and we pulled into the car park at the Geysers just as night was falling.

The management allow camping in the car park as long as you buy a ticket for the next day. So we settled in for what proved to be a pretty cold night at 4310m. The geyser field is the highest in the world.

Even before first light in the morning the first minibuses of tourists arrived and as soon as it was light they headed down to the geysers themselves. The geysers are most active first thing in the morning.

We decided to walk down from the office to the main geyser field – around 1km – instead of driving and this meant that we were well away from the tourists. However when we got to the geysers there were quite a lot of people around – mostly in groups.

The geysers were enjoyable although not up to Yellowstone in the US and we spent around 2 hours wandering around before returning to the Beast to have some breakfast. By the time we had finished breakfast the geyser activity had really settled down.

The journey back to San Pedro was slow but uneventful with some beautiful mountain scenery.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. stephan permalink
    November 26, 2012 3:31 pm

    saw your truck in jumbo parking lot in mendoza! awesome stuff i’m reading some of the blog now -cheers

  2. November 26, 2012 6:45 pm

    You forgot to mention the other 5 big problems with San Pedro: the internet sucks, the camping is expensive, all the shops close at reasonable times of day to do shopping, the gas station is in the most retarded location possible, and it’s a desert so no one will let you do laundry and paying for it is about $30 a load. You know, but otherwise, my favorite place on earth 🙂 You photos are stunning! Make me wish we took the time to visit the geysers.

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