Archiv der Kategorie: Chile

San Pedro de Atacama – in the driest desert of the world

From the town of Uyuni, we took a bus across the boarder to San Pedro de Atacama, Chile. What sounds simple took the whole day…from 5.30 am. We were not keen on waking up that early and spending the whole day on a bus, but there really wasn’t any alternative (other than going on another Uyuni Tour which would end in SP – we were even tempted to do that, but the first day would have been the same as our last day, so that would have been a waste of money). The wait at the boarder was long, all luggage got searched by hand and with dogs, as well as the bus. But in the end we arrived in the little desert town and were greeted by desert temperatures and sun! Ideal for yet another camping adventure. This time we camped next to some sheep and llamas.

On our first real day in San Pedro, we rented mountain bikes and took on the Valle de la Luna. I think last time I was in San Pedro, I went to Valle de la Muerte only – so it was something new for me as well. I just hadn’t expected it to be quite as exhausting! The sun was burning down, there was lots of dust in the air and the roads were really shitty. But of course it was still very pretty!

We had rented the bikes for 6 h which in the end wasn’t enough to see all the sights, but it was enough for us and more than enough for me and my body. Lol. At some points we parked the bikes and hiked up to various viewpoints. Really cool views and rock formations!

However, we were a bit spoiled after the Uyuni Tour and Tupiza, so didn’t find it as special as maybe someone else would. After handing back the bikes and recovering for a bit, we made our mind up to go on a tour the next day, the „Lagos Altiplanicos“ one. In San Pedro there are hundreds of tour agencies, all selling more or less the same, but prices differ a lot, so it pays to shop around. The tour took us first to Toconao, a sleepy little village with a photogenic bell tower but not much else going on.

Next, we went to Salar de Atacama, a quite picturesque lake/salt lake setting with some flamingos to photograph once again. It wasn’t as pretty as some landscape/flamingo combinations we had seen during the Uyuni tour, but still really cool.

Then we stopped at yet another little village with a photogenic church – Socaire. We also did some photo stops along the way to be able to take pictures of the mountains, which was really nice.

In the end, we finally got to the actual „altiplanic lakes“ Miscanti and Miniques whereas the first one was beautifully blue with mountains in the back that were still a bit snowy. Very pretty!!

The other lake, Miniques, was also nice but just not as special. All in all, we were glad that we did the tour and feel that we saw some nice places still. Even after the Uyuni Tour, we are still not sick of pretty lakes and flamingos. Was it absolutely necessary to do? Probably not, but like this we feel like we’ve really „done“ the Atacama desert – the rest of the other places you could see on tours just looked very similar to places we had seen on the Uyuni Tour already. So after this short stop in Chile, we ventured across the boarder again – to Argentina…

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Santiago – a taste of mainland Chile

From Easter Island, Mathijs and I had separate flights to Santiago which turned out much cheaper. We were couchsurfing for the first time on our trip together and our host lived in a nicer neighbourhood with a beautiful sunset view over the mountains.

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Unfortunately, during our days in Santiago the weather was cloudy with the occasional drizzle, and rather cool to walk around. That, and the fact that Santiago’s center is anyways not really pretty but full of grey and ugly buildings, made us not like the city very much. Maybe it’s better in the sun, but it’s definitely not pretty.

The only cool thing are the views…if you get any. In addition to the clouds, there’s often a big layer of smog hanging over the city which prevented us from having the nice mountain views you would get, for example from Cerro San Cristobal where we went up by funicular.

There’s also a bar area where there’s some nice graffiti to be found. But bars are not too cheap, you really have to look out for happy hour deals! We’ll probably be back in Santiago later during our South America trip. Maybe there’ll be some sun then and the city will look different to us…

Chile & Argentinien – Fotos & Summary

Leute: Chile kann ich nicht wirklich beurteilen, ich habe ja nur 3 Tage dort verbracht. Die Chilenen, die ich getroffen habe, waren aber alle sehr sympatisch und hilfsbereit. Das hat sich auch in Argentinien fortgesetzt – bis auf Buenos Aires. Dort kamen mir die Menschen sehr sehr kühl vor. In etwa so wie in Paris, wenn man nicht Französisch spricht. Wobei ich Spanisch gesprochen habe – und selbst das hat nicht geholfen. Außerdem gab es seit Peru mal wieder eklige Kommentare von Männern. Hmmmm…hätte ich nicht damit gerechnet!

Essen: Lustigerweise hatte ich „Angst“ vor Argentinien als Vegetarier. Und dann…stellt sich heraus, dass es das einfachste Land in Südamerika ist!! Von wegen nur Steaks… Argentinien ist so westlich (und hat viele Einwanderer), sodass die Speisekarte sehr bunt ist. Und es gab immer vegetarische Speisen im Angebot – und wenn nicht bekam ich gleich 2-3 Vorschläge, die immer sehr lecker waren. Besonders toll fand ich, dass es sehr oft selbstgemachte Pasta gab! Hmmm 🙂

Wetter: Bunt gemischt. In Chile pralle Sonne, in Salta mal ein bissl bewölkt, in Buenos Aires am Ende ungemütlich und regnerisch.

Kosten: Chile war teurer als erwartet, Argentinien günstiger, als erwartet. 😉 Genau zu Tagesbudgets kann ich schwer etwas sagen, da ich viel Geld umgewechselt habe und wegen der kurzen Aufenthalte natürlich viel auf Transportkosten gegangen ist.

Unterkünfte: Schöne, ordentliche Hostels – aber auch nicht anders, als schon gesehen. San Pedro war zwar nett aber teuer für was es war… Auch das Loki in Salta war für seine Lage nicht günstig (30min außerhalb der Stadt) – aber dafür recht nett!

Infrastruktur: Ich war eigentlich schon eher enttäuscht. Alle hatten mir von den tollen Bussen in Argentinien erzählt… Für meine letzte Fahrt habe ich dann einen solchen erwischt: Essen wie im Flieger, mit Rotwein, breite Sitze, Filme. Aber halt: Hatte ich das nicht schon in Peru (abzüglich dem Essen und Rotwein) für einen viel günstigeren Preis!?

Krankheiten: War ja nur kurz, also alles palletti.

Sicherheit: Buenos Aires reiht sich ein in die (sehr kurze) Liste von Orten, wo ich mich bisher nicht sicher/unwohl gefühlt habe. Alleine am Sonntag oder in bestimmten Vierteln oder sobald es dunkel war… nicht angenehm!

Persönliches TOP: Die Mountainbike Tour in der Atacama Wüste!

Persönliches FLOP: Buenos Aires, bis auf das Stadtviertel La Boca.

Ich habe beide Länder eigentlich zu kurz gesehen, um ein wirkliches Urteil fällen zu können. Die Landschaften haben mich auf jeden Fall sehr positiv überrascht und machen Lust auf mehr (Patagonien – irgendwann…)! 🙂

Hier findet ihr alle Fotos von Chile (klick links) // und hier von Argentinien (klick rechts):

All pictures of my time in Chile (click left) // and Argentina (click right):