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Published: November 15th 2018
Today we travelled from Bolivia back into Chile. Issac and Enzo picked us up at 06:30, first stop was overlooking a huge borax mine and then next stop was the entry point for the Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve. We then went to look at the Laguna Colorado, also known as the Red Lake. Besides the colour the attraction of this lake are the flocks of flamingos who inhabit this lake.
Next stop was a Geyser area, similar to Rotorua but on a much smaller scale, but still interesting to see. We stayed for about 20 minutes and left at 10:30. M=Next was Laguna Chalviri which offers hot springs but we didn’t have time to partake and it was just a comfort stop. But just down the road from there was a surprise, an area known as Salvador Dali’s Desert, because the landscape is similar to some of Dali’s paintings featuring desert. However he never really knew of the area.
Then the final sight to see before leaving Bolivia were two lakes, Laguna Blanco (White Lake) and Laguna Verde (Green Lake). I should mention also that all the inter-town roads in Bolivia are ot well defined dirt roads
and some are quite rocky. Similar to outback Australia but much worse, so it was a real experience travelling these roads for the last 4 days. We got to the border crossing on schedule at 13:00 Bolivian time (Chile is one hour ahead) after checking out of Bolivia but we waited about 15-20 minutes before Issac used his satellite phone to call them. They were on their way and arrived soon afterwards.
Then at the Chile customs, our guide Chris advised us to be very careful about our declarations. At first I didn’t have anything and then I remembered I still had a half packet of coca leaves which is a no-no in Chile, so I declared I had vegetable matter but couldn’t find it and neither could the customs guy who went through my bags, but a younger guy was looking through my back-pack and he fiund the leaves in the medicine sachet. I’d forgotten I had put them in there as a medicinal aid. Just as well I had declared it or I could have ended up in a Bolivian cell. Daisy just had a couple of wooden items but they were fine.
It was then
a quick 45 minute drive down into San Pedro de Atacama where the altitude drops about 1,000 metres to about 2,500 metres. We checked in to Hotel Dunas and then walked around the town to the main square and to the Star Tour office to pay as you need to pay before 15:00 of the day of the tour. The man at the desk said they could only take payments on the day of the excursion which seems pretty strange. I explained we will be on a full day tour tomorrow which finishes at 18:00 but he said in that case we can pay later when we get back into town.
We then had great dinner at CKunna Restaurant and shared a carnivore plate of grilled pork, chicken and beef. At 21:00 we met Cecilia from Mayuru Tours and the annoying thing was that I had asked for the Friday and Saturday tours to be swapped as the Geyser tour started at 05:30 and I didn’t want that after the late night Star tour. Unfortunately they didn’t do it and now the tours are booked up. I guess we can try and sleep on the bus there.
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