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…