Chile Pt IV: El Tatio Geysers

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El Tatio

Victor, owner of our hostel, offered tour booking services. We decided to sign up for the El Tatio geyser tour (18,000 CLP each) which would depart from SPA at 4am in the morning.

The tour bus picked us up slightly after 4am and made a few more stops around town before heading out to the geysers which was around 100km away.

The drive took almost two hours and I was asleep throughout.

I woke up when our bus reached the entrance to El Tatio Geothermal Park. The guide came around to collect the entrance fee of 5,000 CLP from the tour participants.

After the guide was done with the fees, we were driven to where the geysers were. It was really cold.

Too cold

Apparently early morning is the best time to see geysers

Beside ours, there were many tour groups as well. There were easily 200 tourists at the geysers that morning.

Apparently early morning is the best time to see geysers

The guide did some explaining but I was too cold to pay attention. Breakfast (sandwich and hot drinks) was served outside our bus and both of us were happy to seek refuge from the icy winds on the bus.

Ham and cheese sandwich

Breakfast station


After breakfast, we were driven to a hot spring where the water temperature was nice enough to let humans have a dip in.

Hot spring

Since we had experienced the hot spring in Bolivia, we were fine to just walk around the area.

Careful not to step on the ice


Patrick’s happy to visit the geysers

Steam emitting from the ground


After around 40 minutes at the hot spring and a toilet stop at the ticket office, we were our way back to SPA.

Ticket office

Chilean vehicles are definitely newer and nicer than Peru’s or Bolivia’s.

Unlike the drive there, the guide would talk more and share more information on the sights and animals en-route.

Our guide in action

“Wah vicuña!”

More vicuñas

Putana river

Vado Putana

Can you spot the vizcacha?

Gorgeous mountain – not that different from the ones over in Bolivia

There was a short stop at the village of Machuca where tourists could pick up some alpaca kebabs.


Alpaca kebabs

Sadly it was sold out before we even joined the queue.

The rest of the ride back to SPA was uneventful and we were dropped off at the town centre by around 1pm.

Nearing SPA

It was lunch time and we decided to try out La Casona.

La Casona

We took the set lunches – ribs for me and chicken for Ying. Very impressed with both the quantity and quality.



Grilled chicken

Happy diners

Ice-cream for dessert

The meal came out to be a very reasonable 23,000 CLP or 40 USD with drinks. Definitely recommended!

Both Ying and I didn’t enjoy the tour to El Tatio geysers every much although to be honest it was through no fault of the tour operator. The day started too early and it was really too cold at the geysers.

Furthermore, we were at Salar de Uyuni before coming to San Pedro de Atacama and therefore found the sights (still very beautiful) slightly underwhelming. Nevertheless, El Tatio geysers is still an interesting attraction and is worth a visit.


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