On our third day in San Pedro de Atacama, we headed toward the Cathedrals of Salt. The journey took us into the Andes, across the world’s largest extinct volcano crater, past a number of volcanic rock features, and around several high altitude lagoons.
But first we had to drive toward the mountains. All of the peaks in the distance here are volcanoes.
We stopped to eat a breakfast of bread and cheese on the side of the road.
Eventually we passed by the volcanoes we had seen on the horizon.
We stopped at a lagoon.
Where we played,
and danced on the ice.
Later we approached rocks made of volcanic ash that have been eroded into surprising formations.
Can you make me out lounging in the shade of this one?
Here it is a bit closer up.
We were encouraged to use the shade and crannies of these rocks as our Pachamama (mother earth) toilet.
Next we drove into the largest extinct crated in the world. Everything until the mountains is a crater and there’s as much space on the other side. The specs of black are pieces of obsidian that have been resting there for millions of years. (we were encouraged to take some home and we obliged)
Nearby we found the ‘White Monks.” The two distinct lines that run across these rocks, mark the 3 different eruptions that created them.
It’s cool to wander around them.
Eventually we arrived at the Cathedrals of Salt.
It’s a great place to stroll.
Eventually we ended up at this lagoon.
Where we watched vicuna. (an endangered species)
Our guide was the one who popularized this tour a few years ago. He told legends about the family relationships between the volcanoes. All in all it was a surprising and incredible day.
Check out our other San Pedro de Atacama Galleries:
Day 4 Valle de la Luna
Will & Elizabeth