Altiplano Lagunas and Valle de la Luna

Monday 12th October 2015

We started the day early with a 6am pick-up in this funny big bus truck.

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Everyone slept most of the way, the sun woke up, here was a bit of the landscape we saw outside of the window.

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First, we saw Laguna Miscanti. After all the pretty lakes we had seen during the past week, I have to say I was not very impressed. Too spoiled already I guess?

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Viscuna walking towards a volcano.

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We walked towards the other lake.

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Laguna Miniques, pretty.

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We had breakfast there next to this lake. Apart from us three, there was a French couple in their sixties and then a dozen Brazilians! The guide was Brazilian and his Spanish was a bit weird and he spoke more in Brazilian with them but that was ok. The breakfast was pretty awesome!

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The truck bus seen by daylight. Pretty cool hey?

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Back on the road.

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We stopped at a small village where we saw this little church.

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Inside the church.

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The Inca terraces styles nearby.

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We shoot off again and went to the Salar de Atacama. However, it is not plain white salt like the Salar de Uyuni, but rather dust and muddy rocky ground like here.

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We got to the Laguna Chaxa where we went for a walk. Pretty touristy.

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The Laguna Chaxa.

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At the entrance was an area with information boards with birds photos and names, very handy.
I think that one is a Greater Yellowlegs.

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Some Andean avocets

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Puna Plover

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The Laguna

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Fabian´s Lizard

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Took off and went to check out this village.

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Main square

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It was a bit useless to stop over there, none of us were interested in buying souvenirs. The most interesting thing in this village was…this car which looked like the pumpkin cart of Cinderella after midnight!

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We came back to San Pedro de Atacama where we had just time to have some lunch and a little nap. Let me present you  one of the two cats of the hostel which was always trying to get inside the rooms, in particular in the morning when it was cold.

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One of the street of San Pedro de Atacama around lunch time.

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And around 4pm, off we were to Valle de La Luna. This time we were the three of us and…9 girls between 20 and 30 years old I would say, in jeans and no hats even if going to the desert. Right. Ahaha, I laughed. My dad was the only guy in the bus, along with the guide. Funny. Right, daddy? 😀

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First, we stop at the entrance to get the tickets. We were not the only bus…Very touristy spot!

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Nice landscape on the way.

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We went for a little walk up the sandy hill to go admire the view.

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And up, and up!

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View to the right. It does look like a lunar landscape.

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View to the left.

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More left.

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The valley

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Walking on the edge to the right to see the view from closer. Lots of people.

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Closer view

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Going back to the mini-bus.

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Then we drove to Cuevas de Chulacao I think(?) and had fun going in the cave in the deep darkness bending our knees and backs and going through on the darkness path. I was glad I had brought my head torch which proved really handy! I was impressed at my dad`s ability to go through that, it was pretty sporty to bend the knees and the back so much, what can you still do when you are 70, hey, lesson for all of us for when we turn that age!!

Entering the cave

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In the deep darkness

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Getting out maybe 10-15 minutes later

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Juanitette made it too!

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View of the surroundings. Pretty cool rocks hey!

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Getting down.

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After that, we drove to a sunset view point from which the view was pretty beautiful.

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To the right. Look how small this guy looks compared to the size of the rocks.

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The sun is going down, and the light doesn`t reach the valley anymore.

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Mountains turning reddish.

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Lots of people there too to see the sunset hey. As many as the Mirador del Condor near Arequipa, but without condors in the sky…

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Another view at the valley

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And then we went back around 7.45pm. We were back in San Pedro de Atacama within 10-20 minutes. Sunset colours above the church.

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Tomorrow, last day in San Pedro de Atacama, off to the Salar de Tara!