San Pedro de Atacama is an extreme place. The barren climate, remoteness and inaccessibility earn it a reputation as an adventure hotspot. But to those that know, it is also the gateway to a whole different world.
Just an hour's drive from San Pedro lies the Bolivian border. If you wish to cross to Bolivia from the north of Chile, you might well find yourself crammed into a rickety mini bus, whose driver will take great delight from the thrill of overtaking lorries loaded with stolen cars destined for the Bolivian black market round blind corners. Across the no-mans land that lies between the Chilean and Bolivian customs posts, you will find a line of stout, Bolivian mountain hardmen, proudly standing in front of their souped-up 4x4s.
It is advised to procure a place in one of these vehicles through one of the numerous agencies in San Pedro before arriving at this remote outpost. At the border, after some confusion, we located our driver. We nervously strapped our bags to the roof and jumped into his motor to begin the 3 day off-road drive to Uyuni.
It would be unjust to the world of travel-writing for us to attempt to describe the formidable landscape that lie in this unspoilt corner of the Andes. But never fear, we have cobbled together some of the clips that we managed to capture with our permanently numb fingers - a side effect of the bone chillingly high altitudes that grace this part of the world - into a film for your viewing pleasure.