Day 19: Green lagoon and entering Chile
6:30 am early breakfast to leave for a short morning program before we were getting dropped at the border with Chile to enter San Pedro de Atacama.
First stop at 8 AM, dale desert. Here there are fresh water lagoons in the mountains, with lot of minerals in the mountains. The volcanic rocks piled up looks like it is a few hundred meters away, but in reality it is over two kilometers.
Second stop of the day was 30 minutes further, the green lagoon. Magnesium, copper and alseni make the green lagoon, near another volcano. We are near three borders, Argentina, Chile and Bolivia.
After that we went to the border, here Bismath took our passports and the 15 Bolivians per person to collect the exit stamp, after that we went through immigration.
We ended up paying 770 per person for the tour, 150 per person for the national park, 6 for the hot springs per person, 15 for leaving Bolivia to cross Chile border and 100 Bolivian just to buy some water and souvenirs (we had 6L bought, but during the meals we got coke, water and hot drinks so no need to buy a lot). Oh, DO NOT BOOK SALTY DESERT TRIPS. They promised us a night in the salt flats with stars and sunset, we did not get that. Other people who booked through Peru/Bolivia hop did.
Crossing the border > Chile
Our driver who was dropping us from Bolivia to Chile was a bit of a chaotic man, only speaking Spanish hurrying everyone up, while the Chile border patrol was quite relax, third country of the trip here we are!
After getting dropped by the weird guy, we met Alfonso and the Slovenians, Tina and Martina again. Had a nice local lunch after we left our hostel.
After that around 16:00 PM we went for the Moon Valley (Valle de la Luna) tour, just 15 mins later we arrived. 3,000 pesos per person for the entrance of the park, 500 pesos discount for students. We paid 52,000 pesos for this tour and the one for tomorrow to the Geyser together for two persons.
Since the 90’s it is a park, before it was a mining area. First we drove to the end to the park to get all the way to the entrance again to see all the hot spots.
We passed the central crater of the valley, which looks like a crater on the moon.
First stop tres marias, natural sculptures made by erosion. The moon valley is made by little particles that came from the mountains range. A lot of rain in millions of years brought a lot of light minerals, like salt. When they arrived, a lot of erosion, sand storms, vaporization and rise of the Andes created the Moon Valley. The tres marias and other formations around are formed by underground salt that escapes to the surface, creating unique formations. Some religious person saw praying women like maria in it, giving the name.
After that 15 min walk to enjoy the trail. To see the central crater. We passed a huge rock looking like a football stadium, with the elements of nature you saw some awesome views.
Next stop we will be walking for around an hour, to hike a bit between the scenery. Passing sand dunes, rocks with waves formations. We hiked up a sand dune to see the entire area. On top a huge sand dune between the mountains, unique! We saw this sight from both sides.
Last spot was Mirador de Ckari, a viewing point to see the sunset. First enjoying the sun going down on the mountains and lunar landscape beside you, after that the pink clouds from the sun setting down.
Heading back to San Pedro we had dinner with Alfonso, Martina and Tina enjoying food at el Carmen and playing cards and enjoying beverages till late night.