Day 44 - Tatio Geysers and Moon Valley

Published: November 19th 2018
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Up at 4:30 for 05:00-05:30 pickup. While we were waiting met a nice German couple also visiting the Geysers but with a different company. Finally at 05:36 out bus turned up and off we went. It was about a 90 minute drive to the geysers so the guide told us to rest which was good. By the time we got there, there were already a lot of tourists roaming around and it’s not even peak season. I’d hate to come in peak season. The guide was very strict about following the guidelines, but for good reason as people have been killed at the geysers in the past. The last death was in 2015 when a Belgian woman who was taking photos, slipped on the ice into the boiling geyser. Her husband managed to pull her out and was also burnt in the process but unfortunately, she died later in a Santiago hospital. That explained why there are now stone fences around the bigger geyser holes.

After following the guide around for 20 minutes or so we then were driven to another site where we had 40 minutes free time to walk around while they set up breakfast for 08:35. The site was bigger than the one we visited in Bolivia but still nowhere near as big as the Rotorua ones. Breakfast was good as they even cooked up scrambled eggs and we had nice rolls, hot tea, coffee or hot chocolate.

After breakfast we drove to Vege de Putana, a small lake with a viewpoint (Mirador) of Volcano Putana. We had a short walk along the lake to the mirador.

Final stop at 10:30 was at the small town of Machuca, where walked up to the church for a look and then lined up for our first llama kebab. We actually liked it more than the alpaca we’ve had as the meat was much more tender.

We arrived back in San Pedro around 12:15. We walked back to our hotel and I caught up the blog, washed some clothes and rested before our Moon Valley tour.

At 14:50, our guide turned up and walked us to the corner to wait for the bus. We really did get special treatment because everyone else had to go to a meeting point in town, so my unhappy email ended up making things much easier for us. We were so happy that our tours got swapped again today because Moon Valley proved to be the highlight of our tours from San Pedro. Is is very close to San Pedro.

Almost as soon as we left town, the landscape already looked moon-like and within minutes we were looking at a most amazing looking place. The first stop was looking down into the valley and gave you an overall view of the area. I was looking forward to hiking through some of it.

After around 30 minutes there we were driven down into the valley and the first hike was through a very narrow slot canyon and cave. It was described as an easy 35 minute hike. It was easy in some respects, but you did have to use your hands and bend your body over in parts or crouch down and walk along. It was a little difficult for Daisy with her bad knee to bend her knees that way but she got through, then at the end, there was a climb up some rocks to get out of the canyon which looked a bit daunting, but she made it up with no problems. Overall it was a lot of fun and pretty cool.

After descending we were driven to an unusual natural rock formation known as Tres Maries (3 Marys). Beside the 3 Marys was another rock formation that our guide said was a dinosaur and that within the 3 Marys there was a pig, and we agreed with him. The site should be called The 3 Marys and their pig and dinosaur.

We were then driven to another parking area and given instructions on where to hike to for the sunset. We weren’t really expecting a hike for the sunset but our guide had different ideas as he said the most popular spot was always overcrowded and this spot was much better. So off we went with our guide staying back with us to make sure we were OK, seeing as we were the only oldies on this particular tour. It was very kind of him, but we were fine. Being a lower altitude (2,500m asl) than many of the other places, I felt quite energized and Daisy was having a little discomfort from her knees but coped really well. This hike just kept going up until we reached what looked like the top from below, but we discovered that it actually went much longer and we found ourselves walking along the ridge of the mountain with a precarious drop on one side. We met one of the girls from our tour who is from Singapore and Daisy decided to stay with her and not go any further. I went a little further but then came back as we watched the sun set behind the mountains.

Luckily there was a short cut back to the car park bypassing the first lookout we had passed and we made it back to the bus just after 20:00 and we weren’t even the last back.

It was a short drive back and because the guide knew Daisy was having some knee pain, he asked us if we’d like to be dropped near our hotel rather then the usual parking area, so we got dropped off first before everyone else. Special treatment again for the old folk.

Before the short walk home we decided to have dinner at a restaurant on the corner and I enjoyed it because they had live music (like a lot of the restaurants here). It was two guys on drums and guitar singing songs we didn’t recognize but some of the customers sang along with a couple of them. They sounded a bit like The White Stripes at times. Meal was OK as well.

By the time we got home it was 21:30 and we had to pack for the next little road trip to the far north of Chile. I got to bed at 12:45 but pick up wasn’t until 09:00.

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