Imagine a resort that looks like it is one with the mountain, that feels so tucked away in its own corner of earth so far from anything that all you hear is the sound of silence. I love silence. I love what I can discover about myself in these moments, to purely hear my thoughts and have nothing to disrupt the cadence of my imagination. We had more time here at the Hotel Alto Atacama on our #onlyinsouthamerica Chile tour than in Santiago or Valparaiso, more time to swim in one of the six pools, nap on our private porch or have Pisco Sours at sunset. The landscape here is like nothing else…more often than not while driving in or out of our desert adventures, we would all say how it “looks like we landed on Mars!” Yet there was something also familiar to the resort: it reminded me of that western charm and solitude I found in Texas here, one of my favorite retreats. I love a place where you can fill your days with exciting activities or do absolutely nothing at all. I love a resort in the middle of nowhere with incredible food… and I really love a good spa day no matter where I am.
Between the food, the hospitality, the fire pits at night, the endless amounts of desert excursions and the JAW DROPPING VIEW OF STARS AT NIGHT (I saw 3 shooting stars!) this place was one you’d never want to leave. I bet that’s why the President of Chile was staying there at the same time…and who can blame him?
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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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Throwing on our souk purchased packs, Kelly and I ventured out of the ancient walls of Marrakech onward to the Agafay desert at the base of the Atlas Mountains. It is quite a strange sensation feeling the heat of the desert sun on your skin while looking out onto snow capped mountains…
Day four in Marrakech, the adventure~
It was tan as far as the eye could see until we came over the hill and spotted our desert oasis “Le Pause” waiting for us.
We relaxed away the late morning sun under heavy woven tents and soft corner couches where the breeze off the earth swept through keeping us cool from the heat of the day.
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Puma’s desert adventure as we stop over in Abu Dhabi for the Volvo Ocean Race!
Outside the city lights of Abu Dhabi is a desert safari where SUVs surf the sand, camels are the only things in sight and the sunset ignites the sky like fire…
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