The Driest Place on EarthSantiago, Fall 2009
Over Columbus Day Weekend about half of the IES Santiago group trekked up North to San Pedro de Atacama. The Chilean desert is the driest place on the planet (yes, it beats the Sahara) and so scientists flock here to do moon landing drills and the like.
The town is charming, although very small without much to do other than purchase souvenirs, eat out, and check your email for 50 cents at one of several internet cafes. Packing was tricky as the desert is hot hot hot during the day and then very cold at night.
Not much rest was had during this weekend as we were kept busy with sandboarding (super fun), offroading, sunset watching, llama gawking, view gazing, water hunting, and sun burning. One day we were up and in the van at 4am to go see the geysers after which we went swimming in a natural hot spring.
The trip was fabulous and it was great to get out of Santiago for a few days and see more of Chile. We had 13 IES students traveling together and that turned out to be a good number for group adventures and making dinner at the hostel together. Speaking of our hostel, we had a lot of fun meeting travelers from all over the world and exchanged information with a few from Australia. They offerred their house to us if we’re ever in country. I guess that will have to be my next trip.
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