We had a 5am start to head to the Tatia Geyser field 2 hours north of San Pedro de Atacama. We were in the bus/truck again which had comfy seats that recline so we could nap on the way. It was quite cold out so we were dressed warmly with our down jackets and wool hats.
The reason for the early start was that as the air warms the steam from the geysers gets less visible so it's best to be at the geysers when the air is still cold so you can see everything steaming away.
We arrived at the Tatia geyser field, 4,300 meters above sea level around 7:30am. Our guide Marcus explained the various types of geysers and that this field was the 3rd largest in the world after Yellowstone National Park and a geyser field in Russia.
We saw hot water bubbling and spitting out of various geyser cones and the venting steam gave the landscape an eerie feel. I took advantage and utilized the warm geyser steam to thaw my bottom.
There was a hot spring on the site where you could bathe but we didn't go in,,.too cold out.
We then had a nice breakfast cooked on site at our bus which had a pull out kitchen and grill complete with tables and chairs.
The cutest black faced gulls flew around us, begging for food.
On our way back we stopped at the small town of Machuca where we visited the picturesque little church and bought some barbequed llama meat to have for dinner.
After a few more stops for photos of the scenery we headed back to San Pedro de Atacama arriving around 1:00pm.
We bought some food supplies for dinner then relaxed the rest of the afternoon.
We spoke to another guest (a guy from Germany) who just came in from Santiago. He said he had been staying in the centre of the city where a lot of the rioting action was centered. He arrived in the late afternoon and got into his hotel room just in time. He was watching the riots down below on TV but could hear the same yelling coming from outside. He said he also felt his eyes burning when the police released tear gas. Fortunately John and I are not staying in that area of the city.
Everyone who either lives or has recently been to Santiago says the same thing, you are fine in the morning and early afternoon but come the late afternoon and at night people in masks come out and start rioting and burning things.
We will be staying at an AirBnB with a Chilean couple in a safe neighbourhood.
I made dinner in the hostel kitchen: pasta with the llama meat added and we finished our bottle of red wine. We invited one of the hostel guests, a girl from France, to join us and then we were joined by a another guy from Germany who is motorcycling around South America. Together we chatted about travel and politics until it was time to head to bed.