El Tatio is one of the world’s highest geothermal field located in the Andes mountain range at a height of 4200m (close to San Pedro de Atacama). The geothermal field has many geysers, hot springs, and associated sinter deposits. These hot springs eventually form the Rio Salado, a major tributary of the Rio Loa, and a major source of arsenic pollution in the river.
Activity is best at the early hours of the morning between 6 and 7 am with the temperatures reaching 85°C, and the water shoots out of the ground reaching heights between 7 and 8m.
The term “tatio” is Kunza and means “to appear”, “oven” but it has also been translated as “grandfather” or “burnt”.