Rubbed, scrubbed and covered in mud

white towel
Day 365: San Pedro de Atacama, Chile

When Tierra Atacama first offered to host me at their resort the thing that intrigued me most was the spa.

You see one thing that no one factors into their travel expenses is the maintenance needed not to feel like a filthy backpacker.

Here in the desert you can literally feel the moisture escaping and dry cracked skin moving in.

You could age ten years in just a few days.

No one tells you that you’ll need pedicures and facials to combat the stresses of 20 hour bus rides where you cannot drink water because there is no bathroom and you cannot bear to pee into a bottle.

The last time I properly addressed this was when my family came to visit me in Ecuador in August – 7 months ago! I got a body scrub which involved me laying on plastic sheet, being scrubbed down and then bathed by a woman in a bathtub filled with rose petals – yes it was weird.

I wasn’t sure what to expect at Tierra Atacama but once I was at the resort the first place I wanted to head was the spa.


Body Scrub: Exfoliation with desert salts and hydrating massage with hazelnut cream

I’ll warn you that any body scrub is not for the modest. You need to be completely naked for most of it. But Maca, the esthetician was amazing. I never felt uncomfortable and she didn’t put me in some weird rose petal bath.

I like it here.

mud on arm

Body Wrap Mud herbal detox wrap

I was happy to see Maca again as we had already passed the getting to know you while I’m completely naked phase. I’ve never had a mud wrapย before but I liked it so much I considered changing the site name to mud is magic.


Facial: Deep hydration desert facial

Ecstatic to see Maca yet again and happier that this time I could wear some clothing. I’ve had facials before but this was different and they weren’t kidding about deep hydration.

Just when I thought I was done with the moisturizer she put on more. This was also a first for the Silence of the Lambs like mask – I should get brownie points for posting this photo.

Is it possible to live here?

tierra atacama pool

Tours and food aside, I love the spa facilities. You could go for treatments but also just lounge around the outdoor pool, indoor heated pool or sauna. And for some crazy reason if you were hungry there were apples and pitchers of water flavoured with citrus fruit.

I may not be able to continue traveling. How can I possibly continue life without Maca?


Full disclosure: Tierra Atacama hosted me at the hotel and spa at no charge. They did not request that I write about the spa or that I fall in love with Maca.


  1. says

    Looks wonderful. I’ve had a full body scrub before and agree about the whole “let’s pretend me being naked isn’t awkward” thing! haha. But it is so worth it once you feel how smooth your skin is afterwards. Hope I can enjoy a couple of luxuries like this when I’m travelling next year, although I doubt it…I’ll probably end up looking like SwampMan ;-p
    Julia recently posted..An Ode to Twitter

  2. says

    I still remember my dehydration and cheese-eating rituals to prepare for my Central America bus rides.

    Aching back from terrible hostel beds and paper-thin pillows. Aching joints and muscles from walking everywhere. Maybe I’m getting old…. Nope, it’s the traveling :-)

    Traveling is hard on a girl! You just reminded me… MUST GET A MASSAGE ASAP!
    Stephanie recently posted..5 Things I Love About Buenos Aires

  3. says

    Every girl deserves a little bit of pampering!!! Well deserved, Ayngelina :)

    Spas are my downfall. I LOVE massages, facials, body wraps, mani/pedi. Nothing like a healthy dose of pampering to scrub away life’s stresses. Of course in your case, you have the good kind of stress – the travel stress. Not like me, where I’m stuck at an office desk, in front of my computer, abosirbing some very harmful toxic rays…I’d rather be in the desert :) !!!
    Jen Laceda recently posted..Amazing Tourism Ads That Inspire Me To Travel

    • Ayngelina says

      I wasn’t much of a spa person before I started traveling but I would age 10 years if I didn’t get facials every now and then.

  4. says

    Love it! I’ve never really been much into spas or anything like that but while in Hong Kong three months into my trip, I let my sister talk me into having a fish foot spa (where fish nibble the dead skin and dirt from your feet). Let’s just say that tan I thought I had? Yeah, it was dirt.

    I’m looking forward to reading the stories about what happened when you went back to regular backpacking life after all this pampering…how will you manage?! ๐Ÿ˜€
    megan recently posted..Afternoon at the Mongolian Museum

    • Ayngelina says

      I’m not into spas much either but I really do think they are necessary on the road. My skin has been terrible and the spa made it so much better.

    • Ayngelina says

      I am only ticklish on the bottom of my feet but they were so cracked from the desert air I remained strong to let her do it.

  5. says

    I’m quickly learning how valuable water is alone. I used to hate it and now crave it every moment of the day. I’ve already started to not drink it when on buses. What am I going to look like in a year?! If you move in to Maca, I’m going to bum on your spa couch for a week or seven. ๐Ÿ˜›
    Erica recently posted..Wake Up Call in Sayulita- Mexico

    • Ayngelina says

      The worst is getting on a bus without a bathroom, you basically just learn to go long periods of time being dehydrated. It really takes a toll on your skin.

  6. says

    haha; mud is magic :p
    sounds pretty cool! I couldn’t imagine that being naked in front of a stranger would be very comfortable at all.. in fact–I don’t think I could do it, hehe. I love that you posted the mask photo! Great post :]

  7. says

    Ooooh, see I never enjoy those kinds of things too much because I’m usually too self conscious about being butt ass naked!!!!

  8. says

    This post reminds me of when I went to a Turkish bath in Istanbul. Picture this: a room full of naked women lying on a huge stone circle in the middle of a steam-filled room. I was young and hadn’t traveled much at this point. Getting scrubbed down (they were quite thorough) by a large Turkish woman while completely naked surrounded by of other naked women was a bit of a culture shock at the time :-)

    • Ayngelina says

      What the embarrassing photo of me with green paint isn’t enough for you, now you want my creepy Silence of the Lambs face there?!

    • Ayngelina says

      Well thank you because I seriously debated posting such a horrid photo but then it was so horrid I couldn’t pass it up!

  9. says

    I want to go here immediately. It looks divine.
    I notice in your pictures that there’s a lot of seafood, I don’t eat it, any of it. Its not I’m a picky eater it just makes me really really sick. Honestly would this be an issue?
    KatieAnna recently posted..My New Spring Lineup

    • Ayngelina says

      I always choose seafood when there is an option but like you, many others choose not to eat from the delicious sea so you wouldn’t have any problems in Chile.

  10. says

    Hi! Ayngelina. Thanks to YOU!!!! It was a pleasure being your “therapyst” for a couple of days!
    Maybe some day we will see us again ๐Ÿ˜‰ and, off course, you will get free treatments, hehehehe.

    PD: I’m sorry for my aweful english :S


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