Snowstorms on the way to El Tatio Geyser Field
At one stage we really thought the El Tatio Geyser Field was going to elude us as we had made two previous attempts to get to see them, and the weather created quite an obstacle for us, yes we had snow. The problem wasn’t driving through the snow for us, we could manage that, or should I say for the truck , it was easy, but the visibility was very poor, as when we got there (lst attempt) we could see nothing. So decision time, would be stay and park up there at 4,300 m.a.s.l with the wind howling, blowing snow, with the temperature to go as low as possibility -20 , and wait to see what tomorrow would bring,or travel back about 25kms, park up at a lower altitude with less of a gale and perhaps not so cold! Obviously we decided on the second option, and fancied our chances for the next day. It wasn’t too cold were we parked overnight, only went down to -11 , but as our truck is small it is always cozy and warm inside, believe it or not we didn’t use our heater. We do have a heater but doesn’t always work over 3,500 m.a.s.l.
Some snow had fallen overnight, but not a lot where we were parked, and so at about 11.am we decided to give it another try. So our 2nd attempt, the sun was shining, clear bright blue sky above us, how bad could it be, we were soon to find out. In fact we met two back-packers walking towards us, whom had spent the night in a tent, now there’s hardy souls, so we asked if they would like ‘a cuppa tea’, but they said no thanks, they were all sorted as they were heading to a sheltered hut to have their breakfast!. We drove slowly back up towards the Geyser Field, stopping to admire the wildlife en route, the llama’s, the vicuna, ducks as they walked across the frozen ice on the lake, and of course my favorite the Andean Foxes.
El Tatio Geyser Field Wildlife
We met very little traffic, that in itself was telling us something, but never the less we continued on, until we met with a 4×4 pick up stopped in the middle of the road who told us that he had to turn around due to the lack of visibility. He wished us luck, but I guess in his mind he knew we would be stopping also, how right he was. After another 5 kms or so, the visibility was just impossible, you couldn’t see the road/track with the wind blowing the snow from one side of the valley to the other. There wasn’t any snow falling, it was just been blown around by the wind, very freak weather indeed! We decided to have our lunch, wait out the storm so to speak to see if it would change , but sadly it didn’t and so we made our return journey to San Pedro de Atacama. We were like locals along this route now, and returning back to the town meant we could do all the other great things that you have read about in our previous posts.!
So we had a two day window of opportunity for our 3rd Attempt, us Moglanders do not like to be beaten, so we reckoned 3rd time lucky, and we were not disappointed. A great 83km drive back up in glorious warm sunshine, the other extreme of a few days ago, see what I mean about the freaky weather and parked up for the night in the Geyser Field. The best time to see these Geyser’s really is between 6 and 8 a.m. There are about 40 different geysers , and when the steam meets the sub-freezing dawn temperatures spectacular columns of steam are formed, up to 10 metres high, amazing sight.
This was no place for lightweights! 🙂
Some information about the El Tatio Geyser Field!
Yes, these are the highest Geysers in the World! According to some 🙂
El Tatio Geyser Field Photos
Some of the great pictures that you can get up here!
There is still some very rusty pipework here, as many years ago attempts were made to harness some of this energy , but it wasn’t successful, and is no longer working, which is obvious from the photograph!
El Tatio Geyser Field has a nice hot pool
The hot pool here is also a great attraction, so what better person than Merv to try it out. Mind you he did wait until about midday before hopping in, I guess he thought it would be too cold to be exposing his body to the elements before then, how right he was!!!!, but once in he said it was glorious, I believed him but still decided to take the photographs for a change.