It’s not often I would happily set my alarm for 4am and jump out of bed, but this was set to be one of the most amazing excursions any traveller could ask for.
It was dark as we gathered in the hotel lobby and sipped coffee while we waited for Stephanie our tour guide to collect us. We left the hotel in complete darkness. Driving up a mountain in the dark wasn’t the most pleasant when you have a headache, but I knew it was going to be worth it. As we made our way through the darkness, the sun eventually peeked up from behind the mountains, and we got a glimpse of what was ahead. The scenery was unbelievable, barren desert surrounded by impressive sweeping mountains.
Our first view of the scenery
There were plenty of other buses heading that way, a sure sign we were going somewhere truly impressive. As we approached the geysers, I gazed in awe at what we were approaching; it was unlike anywhere I had been before. We had been warned to rug up today, the temperature here at sunrise is -10C, and I can feel it as I step off the bus, but the scenery more than makes up for the chill!
Steam blows from the gesyers
We made our way around the set-out path, taking in the impressive billows of steam erupting from the ground. When the steam blows on you, it is quite warming; these hot springs reach over 80C! You can hear the water bubbling away, and it’s fascinating to think how they maintain their heat. The altitude means I have to walk slowly, but that’s okay because it allows me to take everything in around me as the sun blankets the surrounding mountains in warming light.
Walking through the geysers
More steam from the geysers
Next, we make our way to a special hot spring to take a dip. It’s ‘muy frio’ (very cold) as you change into your swimwear, but once you get in the spring, that melts away. Getting out was a harder task, but we were welcomed with a delicious hot breakfast prepared by Stephanie and our driver, complete with hot coffee! It was nice to enjoy such impressive surround while enjoying our food; we even spotted some native vicunas walking in the distance.
The swimming hot spring
The drive back to our hotel revealed all that was hidden in the darkness, and it far exceeded what I had imagined. The changing dessert scenery continually impressed me, as did the wildlife. On our journey back we spotted more vicunas as well as alpacas, steamer ducks, southern vizcachas (closely related to rabbits) and even flamingoes! Stephanie offered cups of coca tea to those of us feeling the effects of the altitude and I quite enjoyed the pleasantly mild taste.
Free roaming alpacas
It’s safe to say that after our early morning start, we warmly welcomed our afternoon at leisure back at the hotel, where we relaxed and recharged in our rooms and by the pool. Experience the impressive El Tatio Geysers for yourself on a Bunnik small group tour to Chile, see our website for more information.