Trip Start Dec 14, 2007
300Trip End Nov 04, 2008
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Where I stayed
Claris Loa - $5k pesos pp - shared bath - no breakfast
Anyway, the reason for coming to Calama was to find a bus that would take us to Bolivia. We already found out that the famous train Calama to Uyuni (Bolivia) stopped working four months ago. We also had information on a bus company called "Buses Manchego" that travelled to Uyuni, however we had not been successful in trying to contact them on the phone (probably meaning they no longer existed).
So we risked travelling to Calama to find out instead of going direct to Iquique (about 400 kms further North of Chile). We knew for certain there were buses to Bolivia from Iquique, but that would add a couple of days to our target city of Uyuni and the South of Bolivia
So what happened?
As usual in these trips, things result totally differently to expected:
- Chuquicamata is closed since end of February to Tourism as they are changing the "Mirador" (place where you look at the mine). So tours are only to the smaller mine of Nicanor Cosic, and transport is normally via taxi.
- There are 2 bus companies travelling to Uyuni from Calama, which is good news. We decided on "Frontera del Norte" buses which has a strange arrangement but which makes sense. Buses only leave on Wednesday and Sunday (which was good for us arriving on a Tuesday..if not we would have to decide whether to stay until Sunday in a town with little to offer).
The bus will leave Calama at 10 p.m. and travel to the frontier with Bolivia until 3 a.m. At this time we are allowed to stay on the bus to keep sleeping as the Bolivian frontier post does not open until 8 a.m. It will be an interesting sleep at 4.000 meters height and probably quite cold.
Then at 8 a.m. everyone passes the frontier (probably not the fastest admin there) and gets on board a bolivian bus to Uyuni. So basically all the travellers on the bus from Calama occupy the bus just emptied by travellers going from Uyuni to Calama.
All sounds great, but lets just wait and see how it works out...we have everything prepared for a long cold (and hot) wait at the frontier, sleeping bags, winter clothing, food and water, book, backgammon...
Anyway. Hopefully we will be able to send some pictures when we are on "the other side", but this might take a couple of days.
As a last note, all of you in Europe who are just clinging to your armchairs to see Eurovision one more time, our vote goes with the Spanish entry which rightly puts Eurovision where it should be...here is the video