Last week Helen and I decided to take advantage of Santiago’s proximity to the Atacama desert, so we escaped the city and hopped on a plane for a multi-day micro adventure in the region’s largest (and world’s driest?) desert.

We set up base in the small (but super touristy) San Pedro de Atacama, where, between our time spent wandering the dirt streets and stuffing ourselves with fresh bread, we went on a hefty cycling adventure, sand-boarded some Chilean-dunes, (Vicuñas?), and got our heart-broken by a plethora of stray dogs.


We rented bikes for one of the days, which was definitely a highlight (and way cheaper, more exciting, and freedom-filled than the tour options!), so we spent most of our day venturing through Valle de la Luna and all its loveliness. We were the last ones to leave the reserve, so we had the pleasure of riding back to camp in the dark under a gorgeously bright sky full of stars. I love deserts.


So, it’s no secret I have a soft spot for canines. Or kittens. (Or really anything fluffy.) And seeing as there are stray dogs everywhere in Chile, it basically always kills me. But something about this one little dog was just the sweetest thing ever. And all the other dogs were just plain evil towards her, so I caved and bought her some food. Of course she ended up chilling with us at for the evening, shared our campsite, and ventured into town with us the next day with a new spring in her step. Then we were leaving for our sand-boarding adventure, and after being denied entry into the van (and looking absolutely doleful that she couldn’t come), she chased us down the street for a good mile… and when we eventually got out of site and stopped, sure enough, a few seconds later he came bounding over the hill after us.

Heart. Broken.

But seriously, how adorable is she?

(Moral of the story: go adopt a dog?)

Needless to say, it was an adventure-filled few days, and seeing as I am not at all a city person, it was a much needed escape from Santiago! Not to mention an awesome chance to put my Spanish to practice with some of the locals we met!

Ariel Body

A desert dwelling photographer, designer, adventurer, & climber of mountains.

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