El Tatio to San Pedro de Atacama
Looking at the map, you will notice I made a big detour through the city of Calama after leaving the El Tatio Geysers. I was not in need of any supply and I could have driven to San Pedro staying in the high mountains, but my goal was to visit the mine of Chuquicamata, near the city.
The open-pit mine of Chuquicamata is one of the biggest one in the world. Unfortunately, after getting in the city, it ended up with a big disappointment. Due to the ongoing protests in Chile, the visits had been cancelled for an indefinite time...
This detour allowed me to discover some nice additional sites.
Road from El Tatio to Calama
Village of Caspana
Pukará de Lasana
The word pukará means fortress in the Quechua language.
The fortress was built in the 12th century.
Chiu Chiu, also known by its complete name San Francisco de Chiu Chiu, is home to the oldest church of Chile. It was built in 1540 using adobe bricks. The roof and doors are made of cactus wood.
Yerba Buena Petroglyphs
This site protects more than a thousand petroglyphs, with a few of them still looking good and well preserved.
The petroglyphs were created by the Atacama culture some 10,000 years ago.
From this point on, the petroglyphs are not very old and authentic. I am in an isolated part of the main site where the ranger’s protection is minimal.
Valle del Arco Iris
The valley Arco Iris (Rainbow Valley) is a magnificent place with awesome landscapes.
Its name comes from the numerous colours of the rock formations. There was no better place to spend a night wild camping.