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.

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 wrap before but I liked it so much I considered changing the site name to mud is magic.

facial

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.

48 Comments

  1. Julia on the April 21, 2011 remarked #

    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. Melvin on the April 21, 2011 remarked #

    What happened to your face? A sunburn normally looks read? Did you eat something bad or drank too much beer that you turned blue? ;-) LOL
    Melvin recently posted..Cross Over By Boat South Sumatera- Bangka &amp Belitung Island

  3. Ceri on the April 21, 2011 remarked #

    Ooooh, luxury. We all need to treat ourselves every now and again and you’ve certainly been treated in the best way, hun. :D
    Ceri recently posted..Using Insanity to get back to Reality

  4. Stephanie on the April 21, 2011 remarked #

    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

  5. Laurel on the April 21, 2011 remarked #

    I love spas, but don’t get to them nearly enough and I’ve never had a body scrub. Sounds like a fantastic place to be pampered.
    Laurel recently posted..My 1 Travel Safety Tip

  6. jaime on the April 21, 2011 remarked #

    Oh man I want one of these…. Maybe when I got home for a bit before heading off to Europe Ill get one.
    jaime recently posted..The “Traca Traca” in Granada!!!

  7. Rob W. on the April 21, 2011 remarked #

    So that’s how smurfs are made!
    It starts off with a blue facial mask that slowly consumes you…

    Yes, you definitely got brownie points there.
    Rob W. recently posted..6 things I have learnt being married to a Chilean

    • Ayngelina on the April 22, 2011 remarked #

      Hey hey, people used to call me smurfette as a kid, quite traumatizing. Well that and thumbelina.

  8. Ryan on the April 21, 2011 remarked #

    Jealous!!

  9. Andi of My Beautiful Adventures on the April 21, 2011 remarked #

    Find out if it’s possible to live there ’cause I wanta move in!

    • Ayngelina on the April 22, 2011 remarked #

      You would so fit in. It’s completely an Andi place.

  10. Jen Laceda on the April 21, 2011 remarked #

    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 on the April 22, 2011 remarked #

      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.

  11. Justin Hamlin on the April 21, 2011 remarked #

    You deserve major brownie points, because everyone looks sexier with the Silence of the Lambs mask on :)

    • Ayngelina on the April 22, 2011 remarked #

      Creepiest flattering comment ever ;)

  12. Katherina on the April 21, 2011 remarked #

    Could I have this spa in my garage, please? oh so jealous…. I’m going in the search for a spa in Tenerife now. I think I need some stress relief!
    Katherina recently posted..Photo Essay- For The Love of Tulips

    • Ayngelina on the April 22, 2011 remarked #

      If I could fit Maca in my backpack I would have kidnapped her…wait should I be writing that online?

  13. megan on the April 21, 2011 remarked #

    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?! :D
    megan recently posted..Afternoon at the Mongolian Museum

    • Ayngelina on the April 22, 2011 remarked #

      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.

  14. Sarah Wu on the April 21, 2011 remarked #

    It’s always good to pamper yourself once a while with a great spa time. Looks like you’re taking good care of your skin :P

  15. iamthewitch on the April 21, 2011 remarked #

    I have only been scrubbed once in a spa and I admit, it was not the most comfortable feeling! I get ticklish too easily plus I’m modest! LOL! But I am not going to argue that it didn’t do my skin any good ;)
    iamthewitch recently posted..A Venezuelan Gastronomic Festival

    • Ayngelina on the April 22, 2011 remarked #

      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.

  16. Candice on the April 21, 2011 remarked #

    I’ve never done the mud thing…other than rolling around in it in Shubenacadie. But damn that looks awesome!

    • Ayngelina on the April 22, 2011 remarked #

      If I recall correctly I went on a mud slide in the Valley when I was a kid. This is better.

  17. Randy on the April 21, 2011 remarked #

    Yes, I really want to move in there! If I could build my own compound, it would look very similar to this and have all the amenities of course.
    Randy recently posted..The Path To Angel’s Landing – Zion National Park- Utah USA – Somewhere In Time Weekly Travel Photo

    • Ayngelina on the April 22, 2011 remarked #

      If they had housing options I would definitely consider it.

  18. Erica on the April 22, 2011 remarked #

    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. :P
    Erica recently posted..Wake Up Call in Sayulita- Mexico

    • Ayngelina on the April 22, 2011 remarked #

      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.

  19. Seattle Dredge on the April 22, 2011 remarked #

    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 :]

    • Ayngelina on the April 22, 2011 remarked #

      Spend a year being a gross backpacker and you will welcome anyone who want to repair your skin.

  20. Kyle on the April 22, 2011 remarked #

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

    • Ayngelina on the April 22, 2011 remarked #

      After being bathed by the woman in Ecuador I lost all modesty.

  21. Stephanie on the April 22, 2011 remarked #

    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 :-)

  22. Camels & Chocolate on the April 22, 2011 remarked #

    The pic of you with the face mask should totally be your new Facebook profile shot! Love it. I’m not usually a fan of facials–they hurt, dude!–but this looks like one I could handle. Love the spa facilities, too.
    Camels & Chocolate recently posted..A Paddle in Pauoa Bay

    • Ayngelina on the April 22, 2011 remarked #

      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?!

  23. Roy on the April 22, 2011 remarked #

    Hey, so do they have jobs there? I’m willing to work for room and board :P
    Roy recently posted..My Biggest Travel Mistake Ever

    • Ayngelina on the April 23, 2011 remarked #

      Ha me too!

  24. Raymond on the April 22, 2011 remarked #

    I love the avatar face. “I’m blue da ba dee da ba daa…”

    Try NOT having that song stuck in yer head for the next couple of hours… :)
    Raymond recently posted..Semana Santa — Holy Easter Week in Antigua- Guatemala

  25. Grace on the April 22, 2011 remarked #

    Extremely jealous. By the way, I think you wore the mask better than Anthony Hopkins. =)
    Grace recently posted..Travel Photo Thursday- Sunrise in Siargao

    • Ayngelina on the April 23, 2011 remarked #

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

  26. KatieAnna on the April 23, 2011 remarked #

    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 on the April 24, 2011 remarked #

      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.

  27. Michi on the April 24, 2011 remarked #

    Oh, this looks divine!! I’m definitely not modest – I want to feel like a filthy backpacker and reward myself with a full body scrub!
    Michi recently posted..Semana Santa – it’s a holy moly kind of season

    • Ayngelina on the April 24, 2011 remarked #

      It really was amazing, I highly recommend it.

  28. KatieAnna on the April 25, 2011 remarked #

    Thanks, I’m always nervous if it would be a big deal.
    KatieAnna recently posted..My New Spring Lineup

  29. Annie on the May 2, 2011 remarked #

    I’ve seriously heard such good things about spas in S. America! I’m thinking I need to plan a special trip…
    Annie recently posted..Discovering and Re-Discovering My Inner Writer

  30. Macarena on the May 4, 2011 remarked #

    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 ;) and, off course, you will get free treatments, hehehehe.

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

  31. Paola on the July 7, 2011 remarked #

    Sounds perfect!

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