Blogs from San Pedro de Atacama, Antofagasta Region, Chile, South America - page 2


The journey to San Pedro de Atacama from Valparaiso was a long one, over 24 hours with 2 lots of buses. Our first main bus was Cama standard and a little bit luxury for Chilean standards. Within South America they have 3 classes of buses depending on how much money you have. Came is the highest with bigger seats and more leg room, going down to Semi Cama which is a smaller seat with less leg room, but can be on a par with European buses, then there is no Cama which is with the proper locals and their chickens! The prices are very cheap and most bus journeys I’ve taken have been Semi Cama as I can sleep anywhere. This time with discount given, me and the boys were in first class luxory ish. The ... read more

Direction l'Amérique du Sud Je crois que j'ai pris plus souvent l'avion pendant ce voyage que de fois où j'ai pris le tram depuis que je suis à Bordeaux. C'est devenu banal pour moi. Rien que pour aller de la dernière ville visitée en Nouvelle Zélande à Ushuaïa il m'en faudra 4. L'avion que je prend depuis Auckland pour Santiago du Chili décolle à 18h30. Pendant ce seul vol de 10 heures je vais assister au coucher du soleil puis à son lever, changer de jour et arriver avant de partir... Sensation très bizzare. Je ne pense pas que je revivrai ça dans ma vie. On s'apprête à atterrir et j'essaie de remettre mes chaussures mais elles sont devenues trop petites. En fait c'est mes pieds qui ont gonflé du fait de l'immobilisation dans l'avion. Je ... read more
canal de beagle
canal de beagle
canal de beagle

R: We started with a quiet day after our bus adventures overnight. We used the time to explore the town, and book a tour for the following day. Most of the sights are outside of town, up to 150km, in some cases, so the tours are a cheap and easy way of seeing them. We opted for the Altiplanic Lagoons for the second day. We are staying in a small hostel here run by an elderly gentleman by the name of Gustavo, who speaks no English, but loves the sound of my name. So we go by with "Buenos Dias, Gustavo", "ROJER! y, er, CATERINA!" , "BUENOS DIAS!" shouted back at us. The afternoon receptionist helped a lot in explaining anything else. Though I have to say, my crash learning of Spanish before we left has ... read more
San Pedro backstreets
Inglesia de San Pedro

We crossed the Bolivian boarder at the end our salt flat tour and kept the wheels in motion. We knew that after leaving Bolivia our pace was going to speed up a bit and we weren't wrong. We had our first taste of Chile when we arrived in San Pedro de Atacama, a small town within the driest desert in the world. Unfortunately we only spent one night in San Pedro but could've devoted much more time exploring the surrounding desert landscape. But anyone who knows Kristine well enough knows that she does not want to let a single minute pass without getting everything she can from it....not a bad quality but be prepared to have activities from morning to night! So with our one day in San Pedro before catching an overnight bus we rented ... read more
Chilean barbed wire
"Oh you think you know how to sandboard?  I can't wait to see this!"
Rock on!!

And so began the longest bus journey I have ever taken. My previous best was an 18-hour one in Sweden three years ago but this was about to be surpassed. We were lucky to able to have a shower at the hostel before such an undertaking – we were going to need it. The first twelve hours (!) or so were actually pretty comfortable. We left at 11pm in the evening and I managed to get to sleep fairly quickly, waking up again around 10am feeling nice and refreshed as we pulled in to Copiapo. It wasn’t great sleep though so I slept quite a bit for the next 3-4 hours after as well. By about 5pm I had passed the duration of my longest previous bus ride – and I still had six hours to ... read more
Valle de la Muerte
Laguna Cejar

Geo: -22.9058, -68.1951Oruro to San Pedro de Atacama in Chile - 2nd to 9th NovemberWe left Oruro by train and it was a lovely journey, partly due to the standard of comfort of the train itself but also to the scenery. The train leaves Oruro twice a week and is quite an event. We checked our luggage in, as on an aeroplane, and did not see it again until it arrived in the luggage office in Uyuni. People were allowed on the train an hour before departure time so it was very relaxed with many Bolivian people having their families on board to settle them in, buy them drinks, papers etc then make their farewells when the train was due to depart. The train was in excellent condition, comfortable and clean, and the meal we ate ... read more
The train 'cemetery'
Train 'cemetery'
He is too young to stay here

Ok so it was time for my final land crossing as I headed from Bolivia into Chile. The border: Having already completed the forms on the bus as we got to the border we got off the bus & queued with our passports at the Police control. They stamp your white police form & give it back to you (this is your immigration form). Then all the luggage is unloaded and once the doors open you can go into customs control. You place your bags on the table & hand over your customs form which states you aren't bringing any fruit/veg/animals or their related products into the country. You're then asked to unzip your bags (only the main compartments though?!) & they search them. Exit at the opposite end & get back on the bus. Other ... read more
2015-11-03 21.52.47
2015-11-04 10.58.03
2015-11-04 13.48.42

With time and money almost anything is possible. I don't know anyone who has limitless supplies of both, so then it's all about choices. The last time I came to South America five years ago I ran out of both time and money, and I couldn't visit some of the places that I had been dreaming about. But five years later I'm back and this time my choices will get me there. First up is the Atacama Desert - the driest desert in the world, with scenery that is truly spectacular. It was a very long journey to get here, with two flights and one bus, however thanks to the magic of the international date line, after leaving Sydney on Saturday morning I arrived in San Pedro de Atacama on Saturday evening just in time for ... read more
San Pedro de Atacama
Flying into Santiago
Early evening, long shadows, San Pedro de Atacama

We have been very lucky on our travels having hiked through some truly awe inspiring scenery with largely perfect weather, however, there has been something lacking. Gazing at the granite towers of southern Patagonia and witnessing the majestic peaks of the Andes range inspired a question in us - what is it like to climb one? Having never climbed anything over 2,000m and not knowing how our bodies react at altitude we set forth to find out in the safest way possible. We found a 5,600m (18,300 ft) volcano called Mt. Lascar that has a reputation as a good introductory mountain (in summer), we hired a highly regarded guide and we drank as much water as we could. This was a one day climb and it began at 4:30am for us, unlike other mornings when something ... read more
Sunrise on Mt. Lascar
Fully fuelled and ready to go!

As we were enjoying the wines of Mendoza our next destination, Northern Chile, was experiencing its worst flooding in decades. The Atacama desert is the driest desert in the world and areas in this region were receiving more rain in one day than the total average rainfall it receives in 4 years. As the rain continued unrelenting for several days the flooding intensified, roads were washed out, mines closed and a state of emergency declared, the Atacama was now the wettest desert in the world! After the weather subsided and normalacy returned we arrived in the little oasis town of San Pedro situated at 2,500m (8,200ft) above sea level. This is one of the oldest settlements in Chile dating back to 1547 when the Spanish established their first mission here. The single-story adobe houses and unpaved ... read more
San Pedro's mainstreet
San Pedro in the early morning
Carving up a dune!

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