Cycling Through the Atacama: The Driest Desert in the World


The Atacama desert, which happens to be the driest desert in the world, was to be our very first desert cycling experience. To prepare, we bought many three liters bottles and a six liter MSR hydration bladder, so that each of us could carry 11 liters of water on our bikes. Though that seems like a lot when you are carrying the extra eleven kilos up a pass, we now know that it barely lasts us two days. We then set out from Calama right at sunrise (7h30) for a very hot, boring, and different kind of ride. For the first sixty kilometers we steadily but very gradually climbed up to 3,400m (1,200m gain), the highest we have been since Georgia, yet one of the lowest passes we will encounter in the next four or five months, before a beautiful descent down into San Pedro de Atacama.

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