The Children of the Dune

New adventures set free our inner child, finds José Miguel Martínez Abraham, explora guide in Atacama

José Miguel Martínez Abraham Guide in explora Atacama

On the Cornisas exploration, we begin by walking up a grand canyon: in the distance, we can see the Andes and the Domeyko mountain range; to one side, the unique Salt mountains; and below, the town of San Pedro de Atacama nestles in the middle of the desert.


In the heart of the desert 

I tell the travelers how millions of years ago, the earth rose to give us those mountains and volcanoes. We close our eyes and imagine the roar. We remember the first inhabitants of Atacama, brave souls who came to conquer this wilderness. We breathe the dry air of the desert. In moments of silence, we dream. Step by step, we feel in the wind the breath of Pachamama, Mother Earth.


A journey of discovery

It’s on the way down from the canyon to the Valley of Mars that I meet the children of the dune. Without exception, whatever time of day, whenever we go down the dune, the children appear – and always in the same place. Wide-eyed, some look at me with excitement, others are a little scared.


Surprise yourself

I take them by the hand. Their laughter is shy to begin with and then rings out. Barefoot, we feel the soul of the desert. Girls and boys run, jump and roll. Curious, cheerful and disorderly, they don’t mind getting dirty and falling over. The ridiculous thing is to feel ridiculous. Sometimes they stop to look at the light brown color of the Salt Mountains and are overwhelmed with their mysterious form. In the background, the imposing Licancabur volcano seems to have a protective presence. And the dune invites us to continue the dizzy run down its back.



…If magic exists, I think I found it on that Atacama dune…



Relive the joy of childhood

If magic exists, I think I found it on that Atacama dune. It doesn’t matter where the travelers come from. It doesn’t matter if their hair is black, brown, blond or white. It doesn’t matter if the skin on their knees is soft or rough from past adventures. It doesn’t matter if time has marked their faces with wrinkles. It doesn’t matter what age they are. The only thing that matters is that this dune, with its unique magic, will always bring out these children. The children of the dune.

explora Atacama

Sign up to our newsletter
Subscribe to receive exclusive explora updates