Written by LESLIE MARTIN
I did not know what to expect when I signed up for my trip to the Chilean Atacama Desert and travesia into Bolivia. Of course, I knew where we were going (kind of) and thought I knew what we were doing but upon arrival I was completely blown away. The Atacama Desert was magnificent and the Hotel de Larache was lovely with amazing views of the Licancabur volcano. All of our guides were very knowledgeable and experienced.
Our four days acclimating there were fun filled with hiking, biking and exploring the town of San Pedro de Atacama. I thought it couldn’t get any better but I was wrong. Our crossing into the Bolivian Altiplanos was truly spectacular. Our guide, Oscar, was wonderful and we explored volcanic mountain ranges, wetlands and beautiful lakes with flamingos and that was just the first day.
The Salar de Uyuni was spectacular with miles and miles of crystal white salt plains and not another person in sight. You felt as if you were on a boat surrounded by a sea of white. We were all amazed at its beauty. Exploring the countryside, hiking through the salt plains and surrounding islands, and “glamping” at night with a three course meal and hot showers was an experience not to be missed.
Last but not least was my visit to Easter Island (Rapa Nui). What a magical place. The rolling green hills and blue ocean looked inviting after a week in the desert! Our Explora lodge blended perfectly into its surroundings and had ocean views from every room. It was a perfect place to explore this culturally rich oasis.
The island’s history is so amazing from the Maoi warriors to the Bird Man challenge. Not known as a tropical island, the landscape of Rapa Nui was so spectacular with volcanoes, wild horses and over 300 Maoi statues covering the island. The people were warm, friendly and proud of their culture. This was an unforgettable trip and I can not wait to take another cazenove+loyd holiday.