TRAVELS WITH NINA

is the online portfolio and journal of Australian travel writer Nina Karnikowski.

CHILE’S ATACAMA DESERT

Welcome to Chile’s Atacama Desert. The driest desert in the world, peppered with volcanoes, high-altitude salt flats, hot springs, spluttering geysers, exotic wildlife and ancient adobe villages. 

A place that snuck a part of my soul and never gave it back.

Here, I hiked through craggy Death Valley under the milky light of the supermoon, then ran down steep sand dunes howling at the moon. I explored Los Cardones Ravine, standing in awe of monolithic cacti, some of which are up to 900 years old. I watched bright pink flamingos search for the brine shrimp that colours their plumage in high-altitude salt lakes. And I hiked Moon Valley, which has been shaped by intense winds that have constantly whipped at it for the past 90 million years. 

San Pedro de Atrápame. That’s what the locals nickname the main town San Pedro de Atacama, a play on words relating to how this place catches you and keeps a part of your soul. 

“It grabs you and it changes you, this desert,” said my guide Rayen. “And because it’s one of the driest places in the world, it gets you very clear on what you want.”

It certainly did that for me… but then that’s a post for another time. As is the Alto Atacama Desert Lodge and Spa, my luxurious launch pad, which I’ll review in detail for you guys soon. 

For now, just let me say that if there’s a place that makes you feel close to your essence, Chile’s Atacama Desert is it. Hopefully that comes across in this video.

I travelled courtesy of Chimu Adventures, specialists in travel to Latin America.

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