From Puerto Varas to Antofagasta

My birthplace. Antofagasta. Back to the roots :) It took us a little more than two weeks to travel from green to yellow. From wet to extremely dry. The Atacama desert is one of the worlds driest places, but still feels very alive. The colours of the mountains shift constantly and although not even cactuses live here there is always something new to see.

On our way here we alternated between the Andes and the beach, often on the same day. We found really nice camping spots along the coast, wild camps as well as campgrounds.

We heard about a green lagoon high up in the mountains and decided to seek it out. We wanted to see the lagoon and also test how the bikes handled high altitude and how far we could get with roughly 21 liters of gas per bike.

The bikes had no problem climbing from ocean level to 4800 meters. We, on the other hand, handled it worse. We read up on altitude sickness and then went straight on ignoring most of the advice we found. We slept one night at around 2500 meters in a small village called El Salvador and then climbed up to the lagoon at around 4500 meters where we put up our tent. Here the altitude really affected us and led to a quite horrible cold and sleepless night. But the way up to the lagoon was beautiful! The desert shifted color constantly and we took a lot of pictures and video. Our heads felt fine even though we felt the altitude every time we jumped of the bikes.

The day after our heads felt…not so very fine and the focus was just on getting down fast. We started early which led to the added bonus of cold on top of a head splitting headache. But in the end we came down to the coast and found a beautiful spot right on a beach. We learned that oxygen really is a good thing to have a lot of :)

Oh, and that our bikes easily gives us more than 600 km with 21 liters of gas which feels really good since it can be quite long between gas stations here in the desert. The last week we have been searching for a 5 liter gasoline tank that we can bring with us on our bikes. It has proven quite impossible. To the lagoon we used a 6 liter water bottle, but that isn’t a good solution. Hopefully we’ll find something here in Antofagasta…but so far no luck.

Next stop is Calama where we hope to be able to do the 10.000 km service on Christians bike (we did mine i Chillan). After that San Pedro de Atacama and on to Bolivia!