Biking and hiking in San Pedro de Atacama

Trip Start Jan 21, 2009
1
16
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Trip End Apr 04, 2009


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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Another day of travel means another bus story. We decided to take a night bus from Iquique to Calama and then catch a connecting bus to San Pedro de Atacama. Little did we know that the bus arrived in Calama at 4am, and the connecting bus was not for another 4 hours. We had nowhere to sleep, no idea where we were and were all a little groggy. Somehow, we convinced the bus driver to let us sleep on the bus for 1000 pesos (2 bucks) and he drove to the outskirts of town and parked. He locked the door so we couldnt get out but we were all glad to get some sleep. At 8 he drove us to the main bus station and we caught our connecting bus.

San Pedro de Atacama is a very touristy town, as most people are doing the 4x4 tours either to or from Bolivia. It is small, but is pretty nice. We found a hostel and then looked around for a tour that will get us to Bolivia in the 4x4 going throught the salt flats for 3 days. Unfortunately we couldnt find one leaving the next day so we had to wait until Thursday to leave. Because of this, we had to change companies to one that would take credit card so that we would have enough money to spend an extra day in San Pedro (more on the company switching later...)

On our second day, Mike, Steve and I rented Bikes are rode out into the mountains. We stumbled upon some really cool caves and go to do some spellunking (sp?) and hiking. Our tour leaves at 730 tommorow morning and then we are off to Bolivia!

Final thoughts on Chile:

Chile was by far the most developed of the countries we have been to so far. Nicer cars, American fast food places and nicer shops and malls. That being said, it was much more expensive than the other countries and I personally found the people in the Andean countries to be more welcoming.
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