We checked out of Talar Hostel in San Pedro at 9am, and then walked the short distance to the bus station where we had booked our 10.5-hour bus journey to Salta from San Pedro Atacama to Salta (20,000 Chilean /£21 each).
We were told that the bus may not run today due to the icy winter weather on top of the Andes, but thankfully all was running on time. We chose the best seats when we booked-up at the front so we could stretch our legs out over the rail. They were also semi-reclining seats again and the bus included a cheese and ham roll for lunch and a biscuit and cup of tea in the afternoon!
It took about 3 hours to the Chile-Argentina boarder crossing. This was very straightforward; queue up in the Chile isle at the shared customs office (there was only our bus load there at the time), get the passport stamped, then move to the Argentina lane to get the passport stamped. We then had to take our rucksack off the bus and put it through the scanner. Then back on the bus. All within
about 40 minutes.
The only downside is the boarder crossing is right up the top of the mountain at an altitude of 4800 meters and I had a terrible headache as soon as I stepped off the bus. I had to leave the queue twice to go outside for ‘air’, which was obviously pointless as there isn’t any.
The rest of the journey flew by, we read, slept and watched the incredible scenery across this section of the Andes mountains range.
We arrived into Salta about 8pm. There were a lot of English speaking people on the bus, which is always nice, when we tried to retrieve our bags from the coach hold, these two Argentinean guys jumped in to get the bags out, taking one bag at a time and requesting to see the bag counter part ticket. None of us were given tickets for our bags, so then he was fairly aggressively asking for money for our bags-ridiculous. We all refused to pay for our bag, so people started to drag their bag off and move away quickly. Our bags were right at the back though; so Neil and
this Japanese guy jumped on to get our bags out.
After getting our bags we started to chat to these English lads from Leeds way, we agreed to share a taxi to town to the hostel Loki that they wanted to stay at. We hadn’t booked anything, as we weren’t sure if the bus was going to run today. So we got in the taxi with them, what none of us realised though was that this taxi was 30-40 minutes outside of Salta! We were starting to regret asking to share a taxi to this hostel as we could have walked into the center to find a hostel but thought it would be safer in numbers.
After finally arriving at Loki hostel from the bus station (155 Pesos /$15) we went to find out if we could actually afford to stay here. It turns out its only 50Pesos a night, much cheaper than town, the bus back into town is only 4Pesos, and they have a laundry service.
They were cooking a bbq when we arrived, which we ate (though the cost of an all you can eat bbq is wasted
on me as I’m so fussy with meat & fat-yuck). It came with a glass of wine though.
We headed to bed about 22.30 to watch a Jim Jeffery’s stand up, but we should have stayed out, after all it is a party hostel. Tomorrow night we will!
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