Yellowstone National Park is amazing, eye-popping, incredible, and much more. It is home to around 60% of the world's geysers - an astonishing amount. But, still, it doesn't have all of them and one of the world's geyser hotspots for the remaining 40% of the world's geysers is El Tatio.

El Tatio is an alpine geyser wonderland boasting one of the world's largest geyser fields in the famed Andes Mountains up in northern Chiles. It is the third-largest geyser field anywhere in the world and the largest in the Southern Hemisphere. The second-largest geyser field is located in the extreme Alaska-like Russian wonderland of the Kamchatka Peninsula


About El Tatio

  • Height: 14,170 Feet or 4,320 Meters
  • The Numbers: 62 Hot Springs, 40 Geysers, 5 Mud Volcanoes (Exact Numbers Differ On The Source)
  • Adjacent Volcanoes: Cerros del Tatio, Cerro Deslinde, Cerro Volcán, And Volcán Tatio
  • Proportion Of The World's Geysers: 8% Of All The World's Geysers
  • Highest: Highest Geyser Field In The World (As Well As Neighboring Sol de Manana In Bolivia)

El Tatio is more than just a geyser field. It has many hot springs and sinter deposits in its mountainous geothermal field. The hot springs can also contain arsenic and are a major source of arsenic pollution in the rivers flowing from this site.

El Tatio is easily one of the Andes' greatest natural wonders and is situated in a depression to the east of a chain of old volcanoes. El Tatio is dominated by stratovolcanoes as it lies on the western foot of a series of stratovolcanoes that run along the borders of Bolivia and Chile. While there have been no recorded eruptions at Tatio in modern history, they are the site of calderas and the site of historical super-eruptions.

Related: Yellowstone's Supervolcano Geysers Is Unusually Active But We're Sure It's Fine

Scientific And Geothermal Significance

As with other volcanic settings, the vents here are inhabited by various extremophiles that have evolved to live under extremely inhospitable environments. They have been studied to learn about early life on Earth and explore possibilities of extraterrestrial life - like on Mars. In fact, it is considered a better testbed for extraterrestrial life than Yellowstone National Park and the world's other geothermal sites.

Being a geothermal wonderland, it holds potential for harnessing the earth's natural geothermal energy. But nothing has worked out to date due to the remoteness of the site and various environmental concerns.

When To Visit And Tips On Visiting

Remember that El Taito is in a remote and mountainous part of Chile, so one will need to plan one's visit there.

  • Best Time Of Day To Visit: The White Steam Vents Are The Most Impressive Between 6:00 am and 7:00 am

Related: The Atacama Desert Holds More Secrets Than Many People Realize

Every morning the 40-60 geysers in the area along with hundreds of fumaroles spew their hot water into the sky, creating an other-worldly spectacle as the sun rises. They are located close to the border with Bolivia and are like a trip to another planet.

El Tatio is one of Chile's premier natural tourist attractions. Chile is an utterly stunning nation that is defined by contrasts. It has the world's driest desert (outside of Antarctica) but also some of the world's wettest temperature rainforests. It has coastal plains and some of the world's tallest mountains. It extends from the subpolar to the extreme south to tropical in the north.

Today El Tatio attracts tourists from far and wide - both from around Chile and from around the world. The main attractions are viewing the geysers, the other-worlding environment, and bathing in the natural thermal waters.

Related: Travel Argentina Vs Chile: 20 Photos (Taken By Real Tourists) To Help You Choose

  • Caution: When Visiting The Site, Tread Carefully, It Is Easy To Get Steam Burned In Mini Eruptions Like In Pixar's Ice Age
  • Largest Geyser Fields: Yellowstone National Park In America And Dolina Geizaerov In Russia
  • Note: Here The Geysers Are Quite Small, Don't Except The Monster Geysers One May Be Used To With Old Faithful
  • Administration: The Site Is Administered By The Local Atacameno Population
  • Altitude Sickness: El Tatio Is At A Very High Altitude, So Tourists Can Easily Get Altitude Sickness (Consider Having The Appropriate Medicine On Hand And Climatising To Minimise The Discomfort)
  • Cold Weather: For The Same Reason As Altitude Sickness, El Tatio's Elevation Is Cold, So Dress Appropriately, It Is Also Dry
  • Status: In 2010 El Tatio Was Declared A Natural Sanctuary

For those seeking to discover the many natural wonders of the South American continent, then El Tatio should be high on one's list of places to see and explore. It is an alien landscape that one can let one's imagination run wild. South America is a continent of contrasts and is just waiting to be explored by the intrepid traveler.

Next: If You're Visiting Chile For Its Landscape, This Is The Best Time To Go (And Why)