Wednesday, 19 February 2014

San Pedro De Atacama, star gazing and sand boarding

Nick and I had set off on our journey at 9am on Saturday, it was 10am on Sunday and the bus was in the middle of the desert. On the brink of grouchiness, I asked the man who was dishing out a less than appertising breakfast, what time we would arrive. When he said a few minutes, I glanced out the window, taking one look at the sandy hills and cactai and thought that I must have got my Spanish muddled up.

But low and behold, a few minutes later, a few buildings popped up in the distance. As we approached the buildings morphed into little mud huts and I realised that it must have been the worker who had got mixed up and thought that I was asking about another destination.
San Pedro de atacama
When we pulled into the station, everyone got off, apart from the other travellers who were peering out the window in disbelief at all of the bags being unloaded. Surely this dusty little town couldn´t be San Pedro De Atacama. Nick went down to ask and nodded when he came back up. We´d arrived!

We forlornly watched the bus disappear into the distance, thinking that we´d made a terrible mistake. All there was around us was dust and sleeping dogs.

Within 5 minutes we were approached by 2 people, offering rooms to rent. To be polite, we offered to think about them and asked one man if we could keep his flyer so we could find him again, but he told us that only people who stayed in his room were allowed a flyer. Bizarre.

It took us a while, but we eventually found a place to stay, a hostel called La Florida. It was pretty expensive compared to other hostels we stayed at, and didn´t include breakfast, but it was one of the cheapest we'd come across and the midday sun was really hot with our big bags on our backs. After 2 nights, we decided to change to the Youth Hostel Association Hostel as it was cheaper for a private room and offered breakfast. I have to say that I would strongly recommend that people DON´T stay at this hostel. It was really noisy, the toilets were filthy and the breakfast was appalling!
San Pedro de atacama
San Pedro de atacama
The main street, Caracoles, was completely white washed and filled with Artesan shops and tour operators trying to sell more activites than you could imagine possible. Within 10 minutes of us checking in, we heard lots of music from outside, so we went out and found a carnival was taking place!
San Pedro De Atacama Carnival
San Pedro De Atacama Carnival
San Pedro De Atacama Carnival
San Pedro De Atacama Carnival
San Pedro De Atacama Carnival
San Pedro De Atacama Carnival
San Pedro De Atacama Carnival
San Pedro De Atacama Carnival
San Pedro De Atacama Carnival
San Pedro De Atacama Carnival
San Pedro De Atacama Carnival
We spent 5 days in San Pedro, our time in this lazy little dirt town was spent lazing in hammocks and reading, sandboarding in the desert, looking at rock formations that we were told looked like the three Marys, checking out old salt mines, climbing in caves, star gazing at midnight bonfire parties in the desert, eating the most amazing lemon merangue pie. All topped off with an awful eye infection for Nick.
Sand Boarding in San Pedro De Atacama
Sand Boarding in San Pedro De Atacama
Sand Boarding in San Pedro De Atacama
Sand Boarding in San Pedro De Atacama
Sand Boarding in San Pedro De Atacama
Sand Boarding in San Pedro De Atacama
Sand Boarding in San Pedro De Atacama
Sand Boarding in San Pedro De Atacama
San Pedro de atacama
San Pedro de atacama
San Pedro de atacama
San Pedro de atacama
San Pedro de atacama
San Pedro de atacama
San Pedro de atacama
The Atacama desert is the driest place on the earth, and the landscape was absolutely breath taking- I´d never seen anything like it before. Santiago and Valparaiso were beautiful, but they are reminiscent of things I´ve seen before. This is one of the places that really reminded me that I was travelling in a completely foreign place. Amazing.

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