Visviri Circuit

On Nov 3, 2007 in Blog, Travels | No Comments
Visviri Circuit

August 31 | My GPS Route Map This route of about 160 miles winds through the altiplano to the border town of Visviri and returns along the old train route. The road climbs over the mountains, at an altitude of over 17,000 feet, and requires navigating through streams, sand patches, and rocky terrain. Visviri lies […]

Desert Memories: Journeys Through the Chilean North

On Oct 29, 2007 in Blog, Travels | No Comments

“All of us, living in ghost towns though we do not know it.With the illusion that what we leave behind will not be swept away by the wind, that something will remain against the corrosion of time.Hand by hand, hand in handGloriously making believe we will outlast the desert” Ariel Dorfman, Chilean novelist, playwright, poet […]

Gasoline

On Oct 21, 2007 in Blog, Travels | No Comments
Gasoline

To truly immerse yourself in the landscape of northern Chile, it is essential to have your own vehicle, ideally one with high clearance and four-wheel drive. Driving in Chile does have its challenges–the distances are vast and the roads are often in poor condition. But then the only way to really comprehend the vast emptiness […]

Arica to Putre

On Oct 15, 2007 in Blog, Travels | No Comments
Arica to Putre

August 28 | My GPS Route Data Driving from the seaside port of Arica to the mountain town of Putre requires an elevation gain of 11,500 feet. Tours from Arica to Lauca National Park make the trip up and back in one day, which can be exhausting. I took my time driving up and stopped […]

Iquique to Arica

On Oct 15, 2007 in Blog, Travels | No Comments
Iquique to Arica

August 27 | My GPS Route Data On the way north to Arica I took a detour to Pisagua, first famous as a landing site for Spanish conquistadores, then a key port for mining industry, then a prison and death camp under Pinochet. A hundred years ago this was a bustling town of several thousand […]

Los Prisioneros

On Sep 30, 2007 in Blog, Travels | No Comments

My soundtrack while driving hundreds of kilometers along the flat, desolate Panamericana was the one CD I had purchased along the way, a tribute album to Los Prisioneros, arguably the most important band in Chilean rock history. The album contains 18 of their songs performed by a variety of contemporary bands, with styles ranging from […]

San Pedro to Iquique

On Sep 23, 2007 in Blog, Travels | No Comments
San Pedro to Iquique

300 Miles, Saturday August 25 | My GPS Route Data After leaving San Pedro early, I stopped in Chiquicamata, site of the largest open mine pit on the planet and the last stop for gasoline for over 170 miles. From here a pockmarked road cuts across 40 miles of brown sandy earth to the Panamericana, […]

Miscanti and Miniques

On Sep 17, 2007 in Blog, Travels | No Comments
Miscanti and Miniques

The trip to the alpine lakes Miscanti and Miniques was 154 miles round trip at an average speed of 18 miles per hour, as much of the route is on a dirt road climbing from 7,800 feet to 13,800 feet.   Miscanti and Miniques | GPS Map | My GPS Route Data from San Pedro […]

The Moon from the Southern Hemisphere

On Sep 16, 2007 in Blog, Travels | No Comments
The Moon from the Southern Hemisphere

San Pedro is bustling with tour agencies hawking their services, offering guided trips to salt flats, geysers, flamingo reserves and mountain peaks. One of the more unique offerings is a night time tour of the skies, led by french astronomer Alain Maury and his wife Alejandra. Their home and laboratory in the desert is surrounded […]

Valle de la Muerte

On Sep 16, 2007 in Blog, Travels | No Comments
Valle de la Muerte

A few kilometers from the Valle de la Luna is the Valle de la Muerte (Valley of Death). A trail winds its way between steep cliffs and strange rock formations. Halfway through the trail opens to an enormous sand dune, which attracts a handful of sandboarders. Otherwise the trail is usually empty and eerily silent, […]