North of Chile – the Atacama desert

From Iquique to San Pedro de Atacama

Humberston Ghost Town

From Iquique up the mountain and you are already in the desert! After a while there is the Humberston Ghost Town on the left hand side.

A Street

Clock tower


Church of Humberstone

The Theatre


Swimming Pool



The Humberston Ghost Town is really worth visiting!

Then we drove another 300km on Rute 5 and Rute 24 to Calama, where we stayed over night.

The desert is sandy, rocky, rocky, just a board, hilly, mountainous – just everything. It changes are off. As long as we rode on the rod 5 it was almost always flat. The colors change from yellow over beige to brown, gray, white and red, also greenish and bluish were included. It is monotonous and varied. It is easy to describe!

The road runs several hundred kilometers strait, but every few kms of smaller or larger memorials of died people by car accidents.

Center on the rod 5 there is then a special border – here not the persons but the vehicles are controlled – woe, you have not special papers for it! It is something like custom for cars and vehicles!

Or maybe the car get confiscated and you have to see where to stay … there is more or less nothing around!

After our stay in Calama we continued to San Pedro de Atacama.

San Pedro de Atacama

We are back in the mountains. San Pedro de Atacama is situated in a shallow valley through which a small creek – I am sure they call it “river” – flows. San Pedro is not an oasis, as we have seen in Peru (with a lake around which everything is grouped), but it is much bigger here.

The drive through the Atacama desert leads through breathtaking areas.

Aktuelle geht hier gerade ein Sturm, der einem pausenlos Sand in den Mund weht – daher haben wir uns nur ganz wenig im Ort umgesehen.

famingo in the desert!

Ok, well, not in the desert itself but in a lagoon in the middle of a salt desert.

We visit the “Laguna Chaxa”, which is in the middle of a salt desert (unfortunately not as great, as in Bolivia and you are not allowed to drive there).

A sandstorm prevented doing sightseeing for two days…

Lagoon Cejar

It’s cold, really cold. At about 11am we arrived at the lagoon and it has just 4 degrees!

The lagoon is different than the last one and it offers something special: you are allowed to go swimming!

Yes, I know there are people who hit a hole in an ice tocap to be able to go swimming, but we are not so mad…

We have thought that no one else will go into the water at this temperatures – a mistake!

Already on the way – a few hundred meters – from the parking lot to the lagoon, we saw several – almost only women – only wearing swimwear. It might have been a group of Germans (at least the spoke german). On the lake there was an area with deeper water and there where a group, who jumped into the water.

Apart from these intrepid (actually I wanted to write insane, which would certainly not politically correct) the lagoons very beautiful to the see.

Star Observation

One night we went out for doing a star observation. Unfortunately we had no camera which was able to take pictures. It was impressing!

Eating in Chile

In Peru we got quite good food whereever we go to eat. Here in Chile it is almost impossible to find a restaurant with good food (with few exceptions). Even in extensive restaurants the food is not really well tasting – at least not in north of chile (it got better around Santiago, but noting compared with Lime or Cusco!).

Swimming in warm springs

The hot springs are called Termas de Puritama, located at 3.500m and offer (almost) bathtub temperature. There are several pools that have different temperatures – the closer to the source, the warmer.

Since we where not able to go swimming since we left brasil, it was a very pleasent experience! No so pleasent was the way back from the basins to the dressing rooms – it was only 12-15 degrees…. Anyway it was very nice!


Antofagasta is like Iquique between mountains and the pacific. There is also a beach promenade, but not so nice. Sightseeing can be completed quite quickly!

There is the gate of Antofagasta.

The main square – with few beautiful houses.

The old pier.

And that´s it. There are 2-3 very small museums and a casino (seems to be mandatory for all chilean cities).

If you have a lot of time, you need just one day – including museums!

From desert into the green

Until now, we have only seen deserts in Chile. Going further into south it starts getting green again!
It starts about an hour before you reach La Serena, the desert turns into a green landscape. It begins with more and more small plants. Then we pass by fields of flowers – seemingly quite unusual, even the locals stop and take pictures and then the hills are still mur green. It is a lovely sight – even Max looks out the window longer – and then we come back to the sea at Los Hornos. From here, everything is green and the journey to La Serena is like flying.