Monday, February 18, 2013

Geysers de Tatio

Early on Sunday morning we caught a tour bus at 4:00am and drove 90km north of San Pedro to the Geysers de Tatio. The geothermic basin is the largest in the southern hemisphere and one of the highest in the world at 4,320m above sea level. The geyser field lies in a massive crater and is surrounded by rust-coloured mountains and pointed volcanoes.

Geyser plumes in the crater

The hot magmatic rock of the volcano causes the cold water to boil and steam

El Tatio means 'grandfather' or 'old man crying' in Quechua (natives of northern Chile). It was incredible to see the white vapour streams shoot out of the ground, and to hear the earth groan and grumble and boil and bubble. The geysers were spectacular in the early morning light as the sun rose over the edge of the crater.

Sunrise over the crater

A big geyser

A big spurt of boiling water, about 1m high

The geothermic field

Us in front of a geyser

After viewing the geysers, we warmed up with some hot chocloate which had been boiled in one of the little fumaroles, heated by the 85˚ water from the earth. Thanks Mother Nature! After breakfast we had an opportunity to see the geysers in the full sunlight.

On the way back to San Pedro we passed some small villages, rivers and wetlands. It was strange to see so much water in the desert, and we were lucky enough to see wild vicuñas and llamas in the area.

A wetland in the desert

Wild vicuñas

Vicuña in the wetland

Shaggy llama in the wetland

Mommy and baby llamas!

Funny looking creatures

1 comment:

Kate said...

The more photos you post the more convinced I am that Chile is truly gorgeous! How on earth do you manage to go on all these exciting trips all the time?