Published: February 28th 2012February 26th 2012
We have finally made it into Chile! However, since my last post we´ve had a few extra obstacles to overcome than expected.
We left Cusco last Sunday night for an overnight bus ride to Arequipa. We arrived at our hostel, Wild Rover, an Irish run hostel, around 11am which gave us the day to explore. The city was very busy and nothing too special, however back at the hostel everybody we talked to seemed to have loved Arequipa. We had to leave early the next morning for our next stop, so we will never know what was so amazing about the city of Arequipa.
We woke up early the next morning for our bus to take us to Tacna, which is the lowest city of Peru and its before you cross the border into Chile. As soon as we arrived at the bus station and were going over our plans for crossing the border, a man interrupted our conversation and told us the bad news. The borders of Chile/Peru have been closed and were expected to stay closed for atleast the day and possibly longer due to a landmine hazard. Apparently, the landmines were laid during disputes between the two countries in the 1970´s. Due to the excessive amounts of rain the landmines were washed on to the roads. Well this made for a long 24 hours in Tacna especially since we were excited to get to warm Arica, Chile where we had reservations. However, all adventures have their bumps so we rented a hotel room this time because the hostels in this town were without a question unbearable to stay in.
At breakfast the next morning we heard the good news, the borders had been opened and it was safe to travel to Chile. We hurried to the bus station, got in a collectivo (a shared taxi) and within the next two hours we had arrived at our hostel in Arica, Chile. We stayed at Arica Surf Hostel which was nice and the people who worked it were very friendly. We went to 21 de Mayo, which is their main street for dinner and explored a little of their town before night fall. The next day we were up early and on the beach as soon as we could. I was able to have my first dip in the Pacific Ocean which was really refreshing since the sun is extremely hot and remains hot till atleast 6 pm.
We left the next day for a 21 hour bus ride. Our bus left at 9 am from Arica and we arrived in La Serena, Chile a day later at 8am. I had my advil PM so it was not too bad of a ride. La Serena is Chile´s second oldest city and still just a little north of Santiago. The town seems quite pleasant and have several stores and vendors but when they open and close we could not figure out. Chileans also have a much stronger Spanish accent than what we were used to in Peru and with a completely different type of currency made communicating with a taxi driver even harder. We checked out the beaches here as well, they are nice but nothing to rave about except that I have a tan in February!
Today, I went for a run in the morning which was just awesome. The weather wasn´t hot yet and the streets were empty which gave me complete freedom to explore. I came across a bridge that had a small stream below and a man on a horse who was herding his cows and goats. It was an amazing jog. Tomorrow we leave La Serena to head to Valparaiso for a night and then to Santiago and later this week Mendoza, Argentina! Busy and exciting week!