Taking the Kids to Chile
The spectacular Atacama Pools
In a desert oasis beside a roaring river, the handsome young Chilean reaches for my hand to help me over the rocks. He smiles. "Gracias," I say.
It's not a dream. The longhaired, 29-year-old Chileano is
My daughters Reg and Mel and Reg's boyfriend,
Though the Atacama region, less than two hours by air from
"I just don't think Atacama has hit the U.S. market yet," says
San Pedro and TierraAtacama are 1,000 miles north of
"Chileans are a resilient people and we are hard at work to get the country back on its feet quickly, said
While at the moment, the
As for the TierraAtacama,
At the hotel, we are happily ensconced in desert-like casitas, which boast outdoor and indoor showers. There is a spa and a pool overlooking the desert and mountains with seating areas around the outdoor fire pits, ideal for cuddling and especially welcome in the chill of the desert night. (Massages are welcome after all that exercise.) I love that the tiny resort -- like others here -- are all-inclusive (
I can't think of a better spot for an adventure with teens or grown children.
The atmosphere is conducive to making new friends, whatever your age. We meet a music producer and his wife from
"We get bored on beach vacations," says 24-year-old
My adventure-loving gang would certainly agree. The place where we hope to cross the river to the hot springs -- our destination -- is so high that we climb higher and higher until we find a spot where a small rudimentary bridge has been constructed at a much narrower point.
Those hot springs -- spectacular pools, one after another -- are a welcome sight after our three-hour trek, which required a gain of elevation from 8,000 to 9,000 feet. Just as welcome are the snacks our guides have waiting -- everything from wine to smoked salmon to cheese and olives. A lot better than granola bars and water, that's for sure.
While we hoofed it to the hot springs, others from the hotel simply took a 40-minute ride there. When we go to the
The Harbells, meanwhile, try to cram as much into their visit as possible -- sand-boarding down the huge dunes, star-gazing with a French astronomer. One thing is for sure; you won't get bored here. In fact, there is so much to do, "You've got to pick and choose," says
Same goes for
Meanwhile, I'm angling for another hike with Max.
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(c) 2010 Eileen Ogintz
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