One thing I have always wanted to do is float in the dead sea. As someone who loves wallowing in water and doesn’t really love swimming, a place where the water holds you up sounds perfect! So, you can imagine how excited I was to find out that I did not have to wait until I visited Egypt and could actually experience floating in a salty lake right here in the Atacama desert!
The salt lake was outside of San Pedro in front of some beautiful mountains (is any of the scenery here not incredible?). Apparently the lake is really deep (about 40m) but as it consists of 75% salt so even if you can’t swim it is not a problem to jump right in – just don’t put your head under the water… more on this later.
When I first started walking into the lake I was bit confused because the water felt exactly the same as normal water. (I am not sure if I expected to be able to walk on the water?). I was nervous to just launch myself into the deep water because I could not figure out how it was going to work. However, once I could see Chris blissfully and effortlessly floating, I carefully launched myself away from the side and to my amazement… just… floated. It was honestly one of the most incredible experiences. I could literally sit cross legged and upright in the water and chat to Chris. Amazing!
This part of the tour also provided us with our first proper ‘stupid tourist moment’ (by ‘our’ I mean ‘Chris”). Our guide had very kindly offered to take a photo of both Chris and I while we were floating in the water. Our guide was giving us all sorts of instructions in Spanish and at one point used his hands to signal a circular motion. Chris suddenly looked at me and said ‘He wants me to do a somersault’ and then – without consulting any further with his very sensible wife – went straight into a somersault in the salty water. When he came up his face was bright red and he was battling to breathe because the salt was stinging his nasal passages. About 5 fresh water showers, 10 tissues and 20 minutes later he started looking normal and I think only his pride remained damaged…
After the salty lake we went to two craters filled with fresh water. This was welcomed because the salt water left you literally covered in salt. The best way to get in was to jump off the side and land a few meters down in the water. Chris did it several times while I took photos. (We know our strengths.)
We finished the tour at the Atacama salt flat. This was the first one we had got to stand on so we were very excited. We knew we would be visiting the much bigger one in Bolivia but this one gave us some time to practice our ‘perspective’ photos. We watched the sunset from the salt flat and had our first taste of pisco sours – a popular cocktail here. Luckily I had been warned about how strong it would be and was very grateful to have asked for only a little taste.