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Atacama to Macchu Picchu

Chile: La Serena, Atacama Desert Bolivia: more Atacama and Salt Flats Peru: Macchu Picchu

“You say ‘Gee-ser’, and I say ‘Guy-ser’,” one of our tour member, John, joked about the difference in pronunciation of the word ‘Geyser’ between the Australians and British. Humour aside, the geysers and thermal springs in the Atacama Desert had made it one of the most interesting landscapes I had ever seen. Largely dominated by bare red hills that resemble the Hollywood depiction of planet Mars, the monotony in landscape is occasionally broken by vegetation that resulted from oasis of thermal underground water. Every now and then, smoke from the hot springs will erupt into the cloudless blue sky. 

The Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia, or Salt Flats was another major highlight of my South America journey. The natural phenomenon of a large desert saltpan lies 3653 m above sea level. It occupies an area of approximately 9065 square kilometers, containing a staggering 64 billion tones of salt. As we watch the sun rise across the massive white terrain surrounding us apparently for ever, the changes in colours brought about a spectacle so breathe-taking that I nearly wanted to weep.

Macchu Picchu, the lost city near Cusco, Peru that requires no introduction. I did not find the architecture too impressive, though one could hardly dare contest the achievements of a civilization that built and sustained a city at astonishing heights of over 4000 m above sea level.


Above: 1. Rock formation in Atacama  2. some copper mine in northern Chile  3. more rock formations in Atacama  4. Geysers  5. More Atacama 
Below: 1. Strange texture on thermal ground  2. Inca ruins in Atacama  3. Laguna Verde (natural underground water) in Bolivia  4. Salt Flats, Bolivia  5. Salt Flats detailed  6. Macchu Picchu classic vista  7. Wall of Macchu Picchu  8. Vendors on train to Macchu Picchu