A few weeks ago we were able to spend a few days in Chile – only two to be honest! It was the best deal: We made the Uyuni desert tour that practically ended in the far South of Bolivia, right at the border to Chile. Instead of driving all the way back up to Uyuni for 8 hours we chose to take a bus down to San Pedro de Atacama, the main city in the center of the famous Atacama desert in Chile. A girl we met along the way showed us some pictures of her trip to the desert, so we took the chance because it was convenient anyway.
Chile is known for being more modern and developed than Peru or Bolivia – even a little European – hence it is also more expensive than the countries we’ve visited previously. Still, the prices were shocking! Even higher than Europe and for accommodation we paid more than twice as much as in Bolivia! But the quality of the services, food, streets, infrastructure were significantly better. That said we enjoyed the warm weather in the desert – after cold Uyuni. ;-)
San Pedro de Atacama is a small town dominated by restaurants, tour agencies, hostels and people trying to sell you stuff. A hot spot for tourists and the main starting point to visit most attractions in the Atacama desert. The streets are colorful but characterized by clean white buildings. I immediately felt welcome in this place, despite the hordes of people. Only walking around the streets for a little while, you knew the place and that made it a really lovable little town. The meals we got served here were probably the best in South America so far. You will find great fish and sea food dishes!
After spending the last few days in the desert in Uyuni, we were already a little bit used into seeing deserts and thought that nothing would thrill us that much anymore. Oh man, were we wrong! We took a trip into the Valle de la Luna – the valley of the moon. And I must say the name is pretty accurate. Wherever you looked there were mountains, stones and sand covered in white – not snow this time, but salt. Walking up and down the sandy hills and along the rocks that just grew out of the ground was incredible and in the background you could again spot the one or the other snow-tipped volcano. On the way there was one formation of rocks they call “The three virgins” that are supposed to be praying. I guess with a lot of imagination you can spot them. Can you?
The Atacama desert is well-known for being the perfect place to watch the stars and that was so true. We were lucky to have great weather and open skies at night to see the stars and the moon clearly. A guy offered us to look through his telescope to see the moon which was the first time I got to do this and it was incredible. I wish I knew how to take proper pictures of the stars, but I still need some practice in that.
A funny thing that we encountered in San Pedro was that some restaurants and bars do not have the permit to serve alcoholic drinks without food. When we ordered only beer in the evening they brought us this little bowl of rice to cover themselves from the law. Sneaky! Unfortunately, most bars have to close down around 1 am and the party continues outside the village where they make a big bonfire, sell beer and sing to the guitar.
San Pedro de Atacama was the perfect place to recharge our batteries as well as our wanderlust, being a little bit “like-minded” to Europe and having great warm weather. Actually, we tried to find a place to do some voluntary work, but we were unlucky. Unfortunately our budget and time didn’t allow us to stay there any longer, but it was definitely worth the trip, showing us these quite similar but still so different landscapes and giving us insights from a new country that we can take home with us.
Have a great rest of your week! :-)