San Pedro de Atacama: Day 3

Monday 12/13/15:

I felt that I was at about 90% recovered from the flu so I proceeded my first activity of the day, breakfast.  Then sandboarding at 09:00.  

I needed to pick up water to bring with me on this activity.  So I stopped at the first market I see on the way to the tour:

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I only had large bills on me because I left all my change at the hotel.  I needed a 1.5L bottle of water according to the tour guide. I went in to buy a water but the store owner didn’t have any change for me.  He didn’t speak much English and I didn’t speak much Spanish.  But I understood that he was giving me the water on the conditions that I came back later to pay for it.  I agreed and made a mental note to definitely come back.

The tour was about $24USD for 3-4 hour of sandboarding.  We drove about 20 minutes outside the city to these sand dunes, put on snowboarding boots, grabbed our boards and hiked up the sand dune.  The sand was pretty soft but that made it extra difficult to hike up the dunes.  Each time we hiked to the top, it took about 30 minutes with breaks.  I went up 4 times which was all I could manage.

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I drank a lot of water, got sunburned and fell a lot.  It was a heck of an experience and I’m glad I did it.  The people on the tour with me were pretty cool and easy going.  After the tour I bailed right away so I didn’t get a chance to exchange any contact information with them.  My main priority was to go take a shower then eat.  You burn a lot of calories sandboarding and hiking.  I was also covered in sand.  Balance is not my strongest skill.

With my 3 hour break before my next tour, I went back to the hotel, drank more water, took a shower and then searched for food.  San Pedro de Atacama is a tourist city and is 90 minutes from the nearest city.  With those things in mind, be prepared to know that everything is expensive in this city.  Most meals averaged between $10-15 USD. Those were just very low quality meals like pizza or a burger.  Not wanting to overpay, I go out in search for a decently priced meal.  I find a place where the food is around $4 USD and is packed with people.  That’s a good sign to me since the food is edible and affordable.  As I went in, I ran into someone from the tour I just took.  That’s how I became friends with a foreign exchange student from Germany studying in Santiago.


 

After lunch, I went back to the hotel and rested up for my next tour: Salt Mountains/CavernsValley of the Moon and the Valley of Death.  

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This was a pretty rad tour.  There was a lot of light hiking.  I was feeling pretty good so I wanted more of that.  The group was generally pretty slow.  We had to hike through this awesome cave and do some rock climbing.  I took the tour with “Grado 10” and was very happy with it.  The guide was funny and insightful.

For the Salt Mountains/Caverns:

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I also can’t read Spanish.
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Pictures from Valley of the Moon:

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By sunset, we were at the Valley of Death.  The sunset there was amazing!  You can also take your picture on a rock that hangs over the cliff.  Very dangerous.

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I was trying to stay low cause it was windy.

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With this tour complete, I went out for dinner and called it a night.  My tour the next morning starts at 06:00.

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