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ruta del desierto part 2
Written by sophie et jeremy   
Monday, 16 April 2018

Once again we leave the altiplano via a vertiginous downhill which makes us loose 3000m altitude in less than 30 km.

route du desert 1 route du desert 1

The road goes through the dunes and sometimes disappear below the sand, until our arrival in the oasis of Pica, a huge green spot in the middle of the desert. We stop there and enjoy the delicious fruits and its (almost) hot water, which is a gift after the cold of the altiplano, then we continue to the west coast.

route du desert 2 route du desert 2 pica pica

On the way, we visit ‘Cerro Pintados’, a hill covered by geoglyphs dated from some centuries before JC, probably used to guide caravans and travelers across the desert. Geoglyphs are drawings done on the ground using piles of stones (or removing the stones). They are particularly abundant and well restored and show humans, lamas, and some others curiosities as a kayak or a whale with a little imagination.

Cerro Pintados 1 Cerro Pintados 1 Cerro Pintados 2 Cerro Pintados 2

We then explore the impressive ghost town of ‘Humberstone’, an old saltpeter mine, abandoned since the 60’s. There are more or less collapsed housings, a church, a metallic swimming pool, a scary hospital, an old fashioned power plant and a multi purpose city house!

Humberstone 1 Humberstone 1 Humberstone 2 Humberstone 2

Humberstone 3 Humberstone 3

After those cultural stops, we arrive in Iquique, one of the biggest port of the continent, nested amongst huge sand dunes. The city is a surprising mix of tall building on the shore, long beaches with huge waves, poor neighborhood and giant shopping centers.

route vers Iquique route vers Iquique Iquique 1 Iquique 1

Iquique 2 Iquique 2 Iquique 3 Iquique 3

We have there some rest days, near a swimming pool, cooking ‘asado’ with Chilean wine, before Geraldine flies back to France.

Iquique 4 Iquique 4 Iquique 5 Iquique 5

 

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