Desierto de Atacama: Day 1

April 16-19 was an excursion to the Atacama Desert with my study abroad program, CIEE.  I'm not used to doing so many touristy things in a short period of time, so it was definitely a change in pace, but I'm glad I went.  The energy of a desert is different from anything I've ever felt before.  We flew to Calama from Santiago, and then bussed to San Pedro de Atacama - a route that showed a combination of desolation and beauty.  

 Sunrise on the plane, Sky Airlines, 8am (plus one for free breakfast and a newspaper on the plane) // 16 april 2015

Sunrise on the plane, Sky Airlines, 8am (plus one for free breakfast and a newspaper on the plane) // 16 april 2015

 Landing in Calama, Chile // 16 april 2015

Landing in Calama, Chile // 16 april 2015

 Windmills, Atacama Desert // 16 april 2015

Windmills, Atacama Desert // 16 april 2015

 Petroglyphs at Hierbas Buenas, en route from Calama to San Pedro // 16 april 2015

Petroglyphs at Hierbas Buenas, en route from Calama to San Pedro // 16 april 2015

 Petroglyphs at Hierbas Buenas // 16 april 2015

Petroglyphs at Hierbas Buenas // 16 april 2015

 Site of the petroglyphs, with our group busses in the background // 16 april 2015

Site of the petroglyphs, with our group busses in the background // 16 april 2015

 Valle del Arcoiris (Rainbow Valley) // 16 april 2015

Valle del Arcoiris (Rainbow Valley) // 16 april 2015

 Stacked rocks as an offering to the gods, Rainbow Valley // 16 april 2015

Stacked rocks as an offering to the gods, Rainbow Valley // 16 april 2015

 Rainbow valley // 16 april 2015

Rainbow valley // 16 april 2015

 Photo by Clara Rosebrock: Me in Rainbow Valley // 16 april 2015

Photo by Clara Rosebrock: Me in Rainbow Valley // 16 april 2015

 Rainbow valley // 16 april 2015

Rainbow valley // 16 april 2015

 Enclosed deep cave, previous site of a waterfall, Rainbow Valley // 16 april 2015

Enclosed deep cave, previous site of a waterfall, Rainbow Valley // 16 april 2015

 Vista en route to San Pedro // 16 april 2015

Vista en route to San Pedro // 16 april 2015

"We don't have a word for the opposite of loneliness, but if we did I could say that's what I want in life" - Marina Keegan

 en route to San Pedro // 16 april 2015

en route to San Pedro // 16 april 2015

 Rock found en route to San Pedro // 16 april 2015

Rock found en route to San Pedro // 16 april 2015

 en route to San Pedro // 16 april 2015

en route to San Pedro // 16 april 2015

San Pedro de Atacama (elevation 2,438m) is located in Northern Chile, a region with high quantities of copper and quartz.  It is the top tourist destination in the region, 106km southeast of Calama, and is used as a hub to reach destinations such as Valle de la Muerte (Death Valley), Valle de la Luna (Moon Valley), y los Geysers del Tatio (Tatio Geysers).

Sources: Lonely Planet, Wiki Travel