In the north of Chile lies the legendary Atacama Desert with its breathtaking mountains and fascinatingly varying rock colors. From brown to yellow to red or green, you can find a whole rainbow there, especially at sunrise and sunset. We went far into the desert with our mountain bikes and snowboards strapped to our backs to find a special spot for sand boarding.
In the deepest winter I have already climbed the mountains with the snowboard on my back to get to awesome spots. But this adventure here was something completely new. At first it was not so easy to buckle our equipment to us, so that you can still ride your bike normally, without making a crash accident directly at the next corner or landing in the ditch. It is important to keep in mind that after the already bad streets of San Pedro it goes on gravel roads and then shortly thereafter on very uneven terrain. The mountain bikes were great and definitely necessary, we wouldn’t have come far with a conventional bike.
In any case, it is important to bring enough water, some food, a good map and above all a sunscreen! Sun cream, a towel around the head to protect the neck, then the helmet on it, perfect. You should bring more cloths to protect your face, especially during sand boarding, to avoid getting the whole sandbox in your mouth or nose. Sunglasses, of course, also keep out the sand, flies and the bright sun.
After a few hours drive through a beautiful and secluded landscape in the Valle de la Luna we finally reached our destination. In between it was simply wonderful to hear only the sounds of our bikes, but also from time to time a bird of prey in the air or in between a lizard on the roadside, which quickly rushed away. More about the bike tour can be found here in the article “Trail through the Atacama Desert Mountains”.
In the village San Pedro they offer as well day tours with all the trimmings. But the prices are not quite cheap and you are not flexible at all. We recommend that you rent only the bike and board at a reasonable price and explore the area yourself. But let someone know before you go on a tour like this. And of course the rules of respect for nature: Don’t destroy anything and take your garbage with you.
We recorded some of our more or less successful tryings. It´s definitly harder than it looks, especially if you are not used to be on a board at all. Artually we are very used to stand on boards. But in the snow. So it´s quite interesting, a lot of little factors change, and it´s a completely different element. Sand makes your board slower and you have to move quite different to get speed, as well you have to bend much more and try to use your weight to get forward less than use it for making breaks. Be happy when you reached some speed! Have a look on our little video:
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