El Tatio: a steaming landscape
It takes a certain amount of sacrifice and discomfort to visit El Tatio. For one thing, you will sacrifice sleep, as all tours leave very early in the morning. The steam from the geysers is most active and visible at dawn, so you need to be there before sunrise. You must also be prepared to be very cold and to cope with altitude; the geyser field is at 4,200 metres above sea level. So is it worth it? Oh yes!
Gallery: the flamingos of the Salar de Atacama
The only way to properly appreciate the vastness of Chile’s Salar de Atacama would be to fly over it; but a visit at ground level offers a spectacular sight of the varied colours of this unworldly landscape. Before you visit the Atacama you will no doubt read or be told that it is the driest non-polar desert in the world, with no significant rainfall for 400 years. It is surprising then to arrive at the Laguna Chaxa and see so much water!