Thursday's Child: Destination Atacama

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Terrace at the Tierra Atacama Hotel

DestinationAtacama Desert, Chile

When we visited: March 2009 (which, in the southern hemisphere, is late summer/early fall)
A desert hike
Why to go:  

The Atacama Desert was the best adventure trip our family has ever taken.  Every day was completely different from the last, and we had a real sense of exploring the unknown.
El Tatio geysers

What to see:

We stayed in the Atacama desert for four nights, and barely scratched the surface of available activities.  We relaxed in hot springs; we hiked through a moonscape; we watched the sun set over salt flats.  One morning we woke early to drive into the mountains and see an active geyser (at an elevation of 4200 metres above sea level).  Two of us went horseback riding while the other two hiked a river bed.  We swam in a salt lake and visited two tiny nearby villages (Tokonao and Machuca). 

If we’d had longer, we might have biked Devil’s Glen, climbed the Toco volcano, seen local petroglyphs or gone bird watching.
Atacama salt flats
 Where to stay:

We were fortunate to stay at the wonderful Tierra Atacama Hotel right after it opened, when they were offering special introductory rates.  If we were to go again, it would definitely be a splurge, but I’d think seriously about it.  This lovely hotel, simply decorated in a Chilean style, offered volcano views through the picture window at the end of our room.  Several evenings we relaxed by a firepit on the terrace before entering the dining room for dinner.

Where to eat:

Meals at the hotel were included in our rate, and they were unbelievable.  Food was fresh, local and flavorful.  Much of it was grown in Tierra Atacama’s own gardens.  And the sensational fruit, and fruit desserts, were among the best I’ve ever eaten.

23 comments:

Kayte said...

Never would have known about this so this was very fun to get to hear about, see, etc. Want to go back and see the Petroglyphs with me? Love petrogylphs, could spend uncounted hours with those...have to see them at different lights during the day you know, etc. Nexttime.

Claudia said...

You give me wanderlust. Just the idea of hikes through moonscapes thrills me. The photos look magical. One of our best vacations in the USA was the sparse, desert landscapes of Moab.

jillbert said...

This sounds like a fabulous place to visit, with or without the great hotel.

Joanne said...

It must have been exciting to explore such a different environment. It can almost look, at times, like another planet.

laxsupermom said...

Wow! What a beautiful place to visit! Sounds like you all had a wonderful time! Thanks for sharing.

Carol said...

Looks like you had a fantastic trip, what an exciting adventure. Looks beautiful!

Barbara said...

You take the most fascinating, adventurous trips, Beth. I do love hearing about them. What a lovely place to stay, too! I've traveled a lot, but rarely to such interesting place

Belinda said...

Looks amazing! I need to come with you next time.

Bridgett ~ La Bella Cook said...

What an adventure! I bet it is a photographer's dream there as well. Lovely.

Janet Johnson said...

I have to admit, any place with the word "desert" in it isn't really on my list of places I'd like to visit, but you make it sound so wonderful! You almost tempt me. ;)

Heather said...

How strangely beautiful the scenery is. I know so little about South American countries - it's quite a treat to get travel information and pics like these.

tenaciouslyyours.com said...

How beautiful is that terrace ?!

Ironically, in some far-off lands, having a hotel with a good meal service is really not the worst thing. Especially since it's SUCH an easy way to learn more about local favorites.

Reeni said...

What a gorgeous place! Sounds like you crammed a lot into a short time. The moonscape sounds particularly interesting!

Rita said...

What a fantastic trip! Great memories that will stay with you.Sounds like a peaceful place.
Rita

Monet said...

How beautiful! I have just added another destination to my bucket list! Thanks for sharing, sweet friend. I hope you have a great Friday. I need a long and relaxing weekend, and I'm sure you do too!

Velva said...

When I think of traveling to Chile...I am thinking of discovering wine country. My mind is small because Chile obviously has a lot more to offer.

I love to travel. Take every opportunity to do so, and posts like this give me the travel bug itch.

Have a great weekend. Thanks for sharing this travel adventure with us.

Velva

comfortablydomestic.com said...

What an adventure! I love to hike, so that is my kind of vacation. The desert is so beautiful, in a way very different from what I am accustomed to.

Emma said...

I agree, what a wonderfully exciting adventure, am v. envious of this trip (as I am with all of your travels but this one really resonated with me).

:)

5 Star Foodie said...

Amazing to learn about this destination, it must have been a terrific trip!

Sue said...

That desert hike looks like one I would really enjoy! Beautiful.

FOODESSA said...

Although I've travelled quite a bit, I admit to not having heard of this place...how interesting it seems.

Thanks for adding such excitement from your life ;o)

Ciao for now,
Claudia

Amie Kaufman said...

Oh, wow. I've always wanted to visit Chile, and that was before I'd heard of Atacama. I'll have to wave this under Husband's nose, it'd be right up his alley!

Rosita Vargas said...

Es una maravilla el desierto chileno mi querida Bet un viaje soñado verdad??Chile tiene mucho que ofrecer y la invito a conocer mi otro blog que trata de fotos de Chile .Yo quisiera leer tus libros infantiles porque soy educadora de niños pequeños,abrazos hugs,hugs.

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