San Pedro de Atacama

Whew, this feels like forever ago…
We started off our trip on June 30th by flying into Iquique, Chile…technically we left Quito on June 30th and arrived in Iquique on July 1st after an absurd number of stops (Guayaquil, Santiago, Antofogasta, Iquique). Exhausted and with a day to waste while waiting for our overnight bus to San Pedro de Atacama, we pretty much did all there was to do in Iquique…including napping on a park bench for most of the afternoon.

Although the fresh seafood we had for lunch was excellent, going to see Eclipse with a theater full of screaming teenage girls was probably the highlight of the day. Having read all the books in the Twilight series while living in Honduras, I knew I would like the movie, but the added bonus of hysteria and simultaneous oohing and awing whenever Jacob came on the screen made it that much more entertaining.

After finally wasting enough time, we wandered through the red light district on the way back to the bus station and got ready for our second night in a row without a bed.

The trip turned out to be not as painless as we were hoping although it still didn’t make our list of worst transportation (to be posted in the very near future). We found out quickly that the theme of the trip was going to be buses arriving at destinations early…something that sounds nice in theory, but in reality is often a pain. We got to the bus station in Calama at 5:30am and had 2 hours until our connecting bus to San Pedro de Atacama. 2 hours of huddling in a freezing cold bus station with no heat, no open coffee/snack counter, and a locked bathroom. Thrilled to get back on the bus at 7:30, we passed out for another hour before arriving in San Pedro de Atacama after 2.5 days of travel.
Chile is expensive. We knew this after our trip last Christmas so we had brought the tent along in order to save some money on rooms. Set up in the backyard of a hostel, all three of us (me, Alex, and Amanda) crammed out stuff in our two person tent and then set off to explore the town.

San Pedro de Atacama reminds me a lot of a desert version of Utila. A tiny town almost solely based on tourism with lots of small restaurants and bars, tour companies and hippie tourists that showed up and never left.

We gorged ourselves on delicious Chilean empanadas…cheap and fabulous
watched some world cup soccer

signed up for some tours, and shopped for warm clothes.

Amanda and I bought at least 5 pairs of leg warmers between the two of us.
All in all an excellent place to start a 6 week trip!

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