Friday, 9 January 2015

Geyser Del Tatio, San Pedro de Atacama - Chile

San Pedro is super touristy for a desert town. There was almost more tourist then locals and as you can guess the locals took advantage of the new hype to supplement their income. Tourist not only to the Gringo but also to the neighbouring Latin America countries. Hot desert very dry air almost everything dusty and rustic and about to crumble and flooded with tourist from everywhere. I did not like it but since I was here might as well do something

So walking around the gringo street where all the tour agency gathers around and could speak somewhat English try to lure you to purchase a tour or tours. The more tours the more discount, it was crazy and I thought it was very costly as well with the cheapest tour about 7000 peso. Cheapest package I found was 45000 peso for 4 different tours but it means I will be stuck in San Pedro for at least 4 days. Tours don’t include entrance fee to the national park as well so if one took the 4 tour package then another 20000 peso can be expected for entrance fee.
The four tours were not the only one around and supplemented by others more adventurous and off the tracks which cost more money. I decided to just go for one at San Pedro which was the Geysers de Tatio at elevation of 4300m above sea level. The geysers shoot out or boil out from below the ground due to the hot magma running underneath. San Pedro was about 2300m altitude and I jumped on the tour the 2nd day in the morning there at 4.30am not caring about acclimatising or altitude sickness.
I was a bit concerned that my body would not take it or acclimatised properly but then I did not want to spend time in an expensive gringo infested tourist city. The journey in the morning at 430am was pretty alright till a certain point when we nearly reach the place. I first got stomach cramps like the one that urge you to go to the toilet to let one big one rip but then when I got it under control, I got cold shivers. I was cold and shivering but I was sweating. Closed my eyes and just focus, hold that asshole in to not soil myself and just bear with the shivers. As fast as it came a few minutes later it was ok again other than the crazy urge and need for a toilet bowl.
We reached and thank the stars, there was a toilet at the entrance of the Geyser de Tatio National park entrance. Everyone went for a toilet break and I let that F*cker shit ripped and discharged from my body. Suddenly everything is ok. I think for me altitude sickness was a like a really bad hangover in the morning. Nothing like a big dump, some food and a cigarette to sober up
Geysers at 6am was freezing cold but thankfully it was not minus so I could still bear with it with my summer gear layering up (3 layers). It was spectacular to see all the boiling geysers steaming in the morning and photos was a sacrilege that must be taken on a tour. To my surprise while trying to get someone to take my photo for me the uncle sitting beside me, his wife with their son asked me to take a family photo for them. I took the picture and then I was somehow in the picture and I was standing there taking pictures with different combination and poses and we all became friends without ever speaking a word of Spanish or English. I did manage to get that they were a family from Ecuador on a holiday.
Next was the hot pool, constructed to collect water from the geysers and discharge continuously. It was a marvellous idea and a splendid way to wake up in high altitude in a cold morning. Once everyone had their enjoyment of a dip for an hour we headed off with the bus on the journey back to San Pedro.

The bus driver was one cheerful guy and would detour and stop and gave lots of explanation of San Pedro de Atacama and its wildlife but this was all in Spanish of course. We saw llamas, vicuna, bischucha, eagles, valleys form by tectonic plate movement and so much more that I could not understand. Back to San Pedro at 1pm and that was the end of the tour and the beginning of my preparation to head on to the next town Iquique.

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