Blogs from San Pedro de Atacama, Antofagasta Region, Chile, South America


(Day 303 on the road)Visiting San Pedro de Atacama was special: It was the first place on this trip that I had been to before. Back in my student days, when I was doing an internship with a major airline, I was able to negotiate two free worldwide flights as part of my compensation package (the pay itself was pretty rubbish, if I remember correctly). I took one of those flights to Santiago de Chile and visited the Atacama Desert on that trip. Pretty much the only thing I remember about that visit in 2002 - some 21 years ago - was that it was bloody cold. And I can say that with certainty: That part hasn't changed much (a lot of other things have). I stayed in a guesthouse for three nights, and after freezing ... read more
Valle de la Luna in the Atacama Desert
Valle de la Luna in the Atacama Desert
Valle de la Luna in the Atacama Desert

So you’d think after three years of living here (Aug 23rd was our three year Chilean anniversario) that I would get it…I would understand how things work, and have adapted my ways to the Chilean way of living, of thinking. Well you know what they say, you can take the Gringo out of Gringolandia, but you can’t take Gringolandia out of the Gringo…wait, is that right? No matter…what I’m trying to say is that, no matter what, there are some things you just don’t adapt to, or change your ways with. For instance, why do all the sushi rolls have cream cheese in them? What’s that about? No one has ever explained that to me and I have not met a single foreigner to whom this makes sense. Why is it when the restaurant makes a ... read more
An actual family picture with everyone looking
What kind of dog is that?
Don't go chasing waterfalls...

Up at 4:30 for 05:00-05:30 pickup. While we were waiting met a nice German couple also visiting the Geysers but with a different company. Finally at 05:36 out bus turned up and off we went. It was about a 90 minute drive to the geysers so the guide told us to rest which was good. By the time we got there, there were already a lot of tourists roaming around and it’s not even peak season. I’d hate to come in peak season. The guide was very strict about following the guidelines, but for good reason as people have been killed at the geysers in the past. The last death was in 2015 when a Belgian woman who was taking photos, slipped on the ice into the boiling geyser. Her husband managed to pull her out ... read more

This morning no dramas with the alarms and we were ready at 08:00, but didn't get picked up until 08:30.. This time Alexander was our guide and driver so I got a choice to sit in the passenger seat which I did. First stop was a random place on the highway with a great view of the Licancabur Volcano which is right the Bolivian- Chile border. Interesting thing is that if you wish to climb it, you have to do it from the Bolivian side because the Chilean side had land mines left from the old border wars. Just after leaving there we had to stop the van as a couple of llamas decided to cross the highway. I asked Alexander if many get hit and he said yes, but the much bigger problem are the ... read more

Today's tour pick-up was 07:00-07:30 but Daisy's clock was on Bolivian time still and my phone had switched off so we didn't get up until 7.10! We frantically got ourselves ready until there was a knock on our door at 07:30. Luckily we were the second last to be picked up. The group was made up South Americans, two Dutch ladies, Mary from Oslo and two other Aussie girls from Brisbane, Charlie and Melanie. Today we visited the Salar de Atacama. Which contains the world’s largest source of lithium. Our first stop at 8.45 was Laguna Chaxa in Los Flamencos National Reserve. Here we saw 3 different species of flamingos and had breakfast. We finished there at 10.08 and stopped for 20 minutes at Iglesias Antigua built in 1664 in the small town of Socaire. At ... read more

25 juillet Iquique est derrière moi alors que le bus dans lequel je prend place vise la route qui longe l'Océan dans le but d'atteindre d'abord Calama plus au sud, tout là-haut dans les montagnes (altitude 2700 mètres) pour ensuite bifurquer vers le désert à l'est. Beaucoup de mineurs à la mine sombre occupent les bancs autour de moi. La colossale mine de cuivre de Chiquicamata se trouverait tout près de Calama, ville sombre gonflé par l'inflation, les casinos, les hôtels de surenchère et les bars louches. C'est là que logeraient beaucoup de ces travailleurs esseulés, gris et ternes qui arrachent aux montagnes le minéral en diluant jour après jour leur sourire jusqu'à oublier comment en faire. À Calama, je dois changer d'autocar pour partir plus creux vers la frontière bolivienne, en direction de S... read more

Here we are, back to Chile, for one of my preferred places in the world to come in the next few days...but first, we had a flight from Buenos Aires. We will come back to the Capital of Argentina, so wait for that blog! One way flights in South America are impossibly expensive! So I'm happy to see that Sky Airlines is getting us where we want, at a very decent price. So we took the low cost flight to Santiago and next straight to Calama. Not much choice, it's this or expensive Latam....but on Latam, you end up buying your own food too these days! I do remember one thing about San Pedro de Atacama that I visited 8 years ago, it is that the place is super expensive. So the idea was to go ... read more
Just magic!
I just love this place...
Valle de la Luna

Chile: My Final Country Hola, Chile! This long and thin, diverse sliver of a country running along the west of South America was my final (sniff) country to explore. San Pedro de Atacama (20/07/2018-23/07/2018) Our first Chilean destination sits in the middle of absolutely nowhere in the center of the world’s driest desert, with snow-capped volcanoes dotting the horizon. San Pedro de Atacama: a out-back desert town consists of dirt road narrow streets, one-story, mud brick houses, limited electricity, and basically no WiFi. It felt like we were in a movie set of an old time Western film. It was a very unique place indeed. Yes, it was touristy, but it was also very, very charming. Upon arrival, we headed to a cande lit restaurant with a cracking fireplace (there's lots here because it´s cold at ... read more
Double Rainbow

Having become avid hikers over the past year, we were really looking forward to Patagonia's iconic and most famous hiking route - the W trek: a hiking trail that covers a distance of 80km through the most spectacular parts of the Torres del Paine National Park in Chile, including the Base de las Torres, French Valley and Glacier Grey. Unfortunately we had the wind knocked out of our sails when we started making enquiries a few months ago...we were told that we would be arriving during peak season and that transport to the national park and 3 nights camping in the park would set us back over $1,000 each (this didn't include a sleeping bag, we'd have to pay extra for that!!). Having not taken leave of our senses just yet, we politely declined and decided ... read more
Mau trying to avoid been blown away at the French Valley lookout
Incredible views of the French Valley
Trying to take photos of Glacier Grey in gale force winds!

Suzanne here... The journey to San Pedro de Atacama was fine. As it got light we could appreciate the amazing scenery. The border crossing at Paso de Jama was closed when we arrived, which was a bit of a worry. But after a two hour wait they opened it up. Such a relief as we didn't fancy turning back. It took the best part of an hour to pass through both border controls, but in the end we were on our way. We arrived a couple of hours late, but we were just delighted it had all worked out. Because of the uncertainty we had not booked a hotel. Luckily the bus station had wi-fi so we did a bit of research and headed off to find our prefered option. It was a bit expensive at ... read more
Bus station area with the Andes in the background
Volcano overlooking San Pedro
Typical view of San Pedro

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