AT 14,000 FEET, YOU CAN SEE THE EARTH FORMING, RIGHT BEFORE YOUR EYES

[EL TATIO GEYSERS, ATACAMA DESERT, CHILE ] — You get up early in the morning, when it is still dark and head out for the long drive up, the dawn sun gently rising behind the silhouettes of jagged mountains. You go from the warm desert to the early morning chill of 14,000 and just as the sun crests above the mountains, the rays open up a great, steaming, boiling field of geysers — El Tatio, the third largest geyser field in the world, and certainly the highest. It is breathtaking. You spend hours just wandering between each bubbling hole into the

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HIKING THROUGH THE DRIEST PLACE ON EARTH

[ATACAMA DESERT, CHILE] — I am seriously months (and many countries) behind on posts; damn work keeps getting in the way. So forgive me, dear reader, as I try to catch up….. The Atacama Desert. Good lord. I’ve read about it, saw films about it, including this remarkable one, and was just totally consumed with getting there.  So I combined it with a Fire & Ice Tour of both the Atacama and Patagonia, with layovers in Santiago. Nestled in the upper right corner of Chile, one of the longest and skinniest countries in the world, is this freak of nature — the

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IN THE DRIEST PLACE IN THE WORLD… A SALT LAKE… AND FLAMINGOS

[SALAR DE ATACAMA, CHILE]  — Only miles from the driest valley on the planet is the Salar de Atacama, the great salt flats of the Atacama Desert, a salty oasis in the middle a great pan of caked soil…and a calm resting place for flitting, sipping and slurping Andean flamingos.  At about 7,500 feet above sea level, the air is clear and the sun strong. This is the third largest salt flat in the world, and it sits in its own chunky basin, ringed by a great string of volcanoes in every direction.  You literally can set a string line for

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YOUR OWN OASIS IN THE DRIEST PLACE ON EARTH

[ATACAMA DESERT, CHILE] — The two Chilean sister hotels of Tierra Hotels are one of the best experiences I’ve had in my life. They’re expensive, but worth every penny. Everything is included: room, breakfast, lunch, dinner, booze, and the best part — guides. When you had it all up, and being in one of the most remote and foreboding places on the planet, it actually is a great value…an experience that you’ll remember for the rest of your life. Set just the right amount outside of the little desert oasis town of San Pedro de Atacama, the Tierra nestles nicely

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