Tag Archives: Atacama

Dining in San Pedro

It was really hard to imagine good food was going to be possible in the driest hot desert on earth but good food was all we could find! In fact, all the food we had in Chile was outstanding. Our guide told us, “Unlike the food grown in America, we do not use chemicals – it’s all natural and better tasting.” One of the most important  local crops to Chileans is quinoa, a now super trendy global food once rejected by Americans. We found ourselves one afternoon dining in San Pedro, a tiny Atacama desert town, where we tried all the dishes with quinoa on the menu at La Estaka we could find, including a quinoa risotto!

Food is very important to me…it fills your soul in a way nothing else can and sometimes, it can be the best part of my day. I was quite nervous about what the quality of food would be like in South America especially considering I live in one of the food capitals of the world. I was so pleasantly surprised at what was placed before me. Every single meal we ate was better than the last and almost all the restaurants we dined at had menus that changed daily to reflect what fresh produce or seasonal item they received that day.

Also, writing this post has officially made me starving.

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Atacama Desert

After the exploration of Santiago and Valparaiso we took a dramatic turn to the northern part of Chile and the very remote Atacama desert. Though I’ve seen some beautiful desert landscapes, nothing compared to the foreign view we found here which reminded us more of MARS than any place on this earth. Even the name of one of the expansive vistas, Moon Valley, solidifies you are not alone in your galactic references. It’s hard to imagine that something so obscure, otherworldly and barren can be so beautiful but it is! The endless sky, the ever changing colors, the sculptural nature of rocks from behind massive dunes. Over our 3 day tour of the Atacama desert we would discover llamas in the wild, a town kept alive by 15 people, no stop signs or red lights and nothing even close to an advertisement, salt flats and volcanoes, rock engravings, valleys and geysers and the *most* unbelievable night sky I have ever seen you can find #onlyinsouthamerica 

I was quite enchanted with the colors of the salt flats, the O’Keeffe nature of the gradients, especially just after the sun had set and the mountains were a wash of early evening violet. These low valley salt flats, a result of the surrounding volcanic mountains, are very shallow and when I touched my hand under the surface I watched my skin wrinkle and dry out as if I was instantly aging myself by 30 years. 

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