Felipe, the domo man and a great friend

Posted: April 4, 2012 in Chile

I kept riding south while admiring the rocky ocean on my right and the really slowly changing desert scenery on the left. It was a great feeling hitting up some of the dirt roads the Dakar was gonna fly through a few weeks later. Most of the gravel and beat down hard clay back roads were in great condition and with my heavy, low powered and loaded up KLR I was able to hit around 100-120km/h so I can’t imagine the speeds those Dakar guys are able to reach.

Small fishing towns along the way.



At some point, a couple of BMW GS650s showed up making gestures trying to talk. So we stopped and we talked. Turns out that Jan and Remi were from Alberta, Canada as well. They had rented a couple of bikes and were doing most of the Western side of South America in about a month time. We rode together for a short while and then split up as they were trying to get to Santiago as fast as possible while I was still hitting up the coastline smaller roads. It sure was a nice surprise to meet some Albertans on the southern side of America!


It was getting late, but I made it back to the coast from the main road where I split up with Jan and Remi. It was time to find a place to sleep. Lots of empty beaches with much free space to camp were in front of me but I thought I would ask about camping in the town of Chanaral de Aceituna since it looked nice and calm.

At the campground, a kid told me to ride to the other side of the town as the lady in charge of the campground was living there. So I went, asked for the price and it was around 16$ for the night. I looked at her and said that it was quite expensive. She agreed with me but that was the price the town had set for the municipal campground. She then offered me to set up camp for free in her back yard but I didn’t want to intrude so I thanked her and said that I’ll just go sleep on the beach. She told me to wait and made a phone call. Afterwards, she said that Felipe was waiting for me and that I should go talk to him. Well, OK! I thanked her and went looking for Felipe. After asking around for directions, a nice lady got in her car and showed me the way. Felipe was living in a nice big house, overlooking the ocean about 300m from town.

I talked to Felipe for a few minutes and he offered me to sleep in one of the 2 domes he had constructed for almost half the price of camping. I had never slept in a dome before, especially not one that overlooked the ocean so that was an offer I couldn’t refuse. I was thinking of staying for a night but ended up staying for a week and the host became one of my best friends on this trip.

The view from Felipe’s house… and also from my room.


One of the 2 domes he built. This one was his bedroom, and connected to the rest of the house.


View of the desert on the east side of the house. As you can see, vegetation was finally starting to appear.


This is the 2nd dome, my house for the next week or so. By far the coolest place I stayed in on this trip. The windows you see on the right side are overlooking the ocean. It felt like I was in a spaceship in there.


Since vegetation was starting to appear in the desert, I took a bit of time to try and shoot it.














Work in progress at the bottom of the cliff by the ocean. A nice and simple structure decorated with bamboo. In the middle, a fire pit.


Felipe on the right, Fabiola, a friend of his on the left.





Seen some nice sunsets there.



After a few days, some woffers showed up. Travellers who will work in exchange for stay and food. We were a decent group now in the house. There’s Felipe in the back.


Nick, one of the woffers.


We were all watching the sunset off the cliff.


And here he is on the left.





I spent one of the most relaxing weeks of my trip there. Thanks Felipe!


  1. Artem says:

    NIce … very picturesque.. plus its nice to see some nice girls.. usually you have only dudes

  2. Artem says:


  3. Adam says:

    Great stuff once again. I can’t tell you how big my smile was when I saw that Dome and the views you had from it. Did you tell Felipe that he looks exactly like Paul Giamatti?

  4. E- says:

    Very, very Happy Easter!!! (hope you are enjoying a great egg-hunting on the beach ;-))

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