Thursday's Child: El Tatio geysers, Chile

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Being on holidays can sometimes be a great chance to catch up on the sleep you've missed the rest of the year.  To stay in bed luxuriously long, then gracefully rise to greet the day.

So if you’re setting the alarm for 4:30 in the morning, it must be for something really special.

In the case of the El Tatio geysers in the Atacama desert of Chile, the early hour was more than worth it.  The geysers were about a two-hour drive from our hotel, and they’re most spectacular in the cold air of dawn before the air warms up and the mist disperses.  Thus, the early morning wake up call.

This is the kind of adventure you hire a guide for.  The roads to the geysers are terrible, and the idea of navigating them at night is unimaginable.  As we slowly climbed the winding roads, some of us slept, but I gazed into the impossibly black sky that was punctuated by the brightest stars I’ve ever seen.  The geysers lay at an altitude of 4200 metres, and I could almost feel the air getting cooler and thinner as we traversed the hairpin turns uphill.

El Tatio is home to 8% of the geysers in the world. And it was amazing to walk from one geyser to the next – gingerly, because the ground is fragile in places.  If there’s one thing you don’t want at 7:00 in the morning, it’s a geyser bath. 

When we arrived, our guide Veronica put some tetra packs of chocolate milk into one of the geysers, which we later enjoyed as hot chocolate with our breakfast.

From some vantage points, it felt like we were watching the fountains at Versailles, except these were bursts of hot water and steam gushing into the air.  Some of them erupted, some bubbled, but being in the midst of this field of geysers felt ethereal, like we had stepped into a land of our imaginations.  A land where a variety of heavenly beings might emerge from behind the next column of steam.

Surrounded by the misty air, drifting from one geyser to the next, we could have been in the middle of a Monet landscape.  And as the sun rose, we witnessed an ever-changing view of these wispy miracles.
Veronica at El Tatio geysers


37 comments:

ezsrecipes.com said...

What cool photos, and what a cool experience. I haven't even been to Yellowstone in the States to see the geysers there, much less anywhere else in the world! ;)

Kayte said...

Oh, how exciting and beautiful!

Belinda said...

I can only imagine - these photos are unreal!

Barbara said...

Truly amazing and beautiful, Beth. Nature is both frightening and awe-inspiring.

Joanne said...

What a beautiful planet we live on, it's breath-taking, really. Thanks for giving us a look ...

Wilde in the Kitchen said...

These photographs are beautiful, Thanks for sharing!

Valerie said...

Breathtaking photos! And what a fun way to make hot chocolate. :D

Carol said...

Stunning shots! Love the Geyser Hot Chocolate. What fun!

justine said...

Wow. Remarkable. I hope that we get back to this kind of travel someday ... your photos are making my bucket list longer!!

comfortablydomestic.com said...

I would set an alarm for 4:30 in the morning to see a sight like that--and I am decidedly not a morning person. Gorgeous!

Margaret said...

That sounds like an amazing way to enjoy hot chocolate.

Claudia said...

I feel like I have never "experienced" hot chocolate. What beauty you have conveyed - the natural world astounds.

Rebecca from Chow and Chatter said...

wow amazing so worth getting up for

Ruth said...

You have been on some truly remarkable adventures!

Mary said...

Amazing photos, and geyser hot chocolate--how fun! I am enjoying Toronto, especially all the French bakeries lining Mount Pleasant and Bayview. Yum...
:)

Sue said...

That is some unique hot chocolate that you were able to have:) Great photos!

Julie said...

Another wonderful trip. I enjoy reading about your travel adventures.

We went to Yellowstone a couple of years ago and set the alarm to get up early to see the animals. Well worth the 5 am wake up call.

Susanne K. Fletcher said...

Beth your writing is as awe inspiring as the photos.

Angela Felsted said...

I'm amazed at how powerful they look. I bet they were hot. It's a good thing you didn't get too close.

Lydia K said...

Wow. You got to see all that AND have hot chocolate? I'm uber jealous.

Mary said...

What a fantastic experience. I'm sure you'll remember it for years to come. Have a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

LDH said...

Such an exciting tour to have taken us along on! Such beauty!

Jess said...

Wow! I've been to the geysers in Yellowstone National Park, but these look even more amazing. 8% of the world's geysers in one location--that's incredible! Thanks for another lovely post :)

Ann said...

What beautiful photos of a wonderful experience!

Linda Hoye said...

Hi Beth, I just popped over from Joanne DeMaio's Whole Latte Life blog. You have a beautiful blog here with amazing photos and stories!

allieksmith said...

GORGEOUS!!! I love all of the pictures :)
I think you have literally been everywhere!

Hester Casey said...

Hi Beth, I love it when nature does the cooking - it was probably the most memorable hot chocolate you've ever tasted. Your photo diary is beautiful and your account makes me want to visit for myself.

Joanne said...

This sounds like SUCH a thrilling experience. Definitely worth waking up for!

jillbert said...

I love the hot chocolate story! Getting up before the sun would definitely be worth it to see these geysers.

Medeia Sharif said...

Great pics and a cool way to make hot chocolate.

Enjoy your weekend.

Xinmei @ Pudding Pie Lane said...

Wow.... the bursts of water look so amazing, I would love to see that. And I agree with the 4.30am thing, the last time I set my alarm that early was to go for a hot air balloon ride over the Dubai sands! Amazing what we miss when having those lie ins :)

The Words Crafter said...

Mmmmmm, that sounds heavenly! I've never seen a geyser, but I would love to one day.

I miss living in the country. There was no light pollution and we could see so many stars....

Lovely post!

Fresh Local and Best said...

You certainly captured the mystical experience of witnessing these geysers well. The images of billowing steam and silhouette of a body are celestial.

Monet said...

Wow...these look magical. Truly another of God's many gifts to us. Thank you for sharing your sweet self with me tonight. I always know I can find something beautiful and uplifting when I visit. I hope you have a safe and happy Sunday. You mean more to me than I can say...

Katerina said...

I would love to be there and see all these natural beauties even if I didn't have any time for sleep!

Amie Kaufman said...

Oh, what a trip that must have been! I've never seen a geyser, but I'd love to. One day, one day...

Rita said...

Spectacular! While reading about your adventure, I was thinking this is something I would have have been brave enough to do when I was younger, but as I am now older, I am also more timid. Thank you for sharing this. Enjoy!
Rita

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