8th Apr 2012 - 10th Apr 2012
San Pedro de Atacama
We managed to make our way to our hostel, albeit stumbling and sweating in the super bright hot sunlight. It was a bit out of town, about a 15 minute walk to the centre, but it was nice to have somewhere quiet to rest. The main point of our stay in this small town was to book and leave on a 3 day 4x4 jeep ride over the Chile-Bolivia border and through the desert passing several tourist spots on the way. So as soon as we had settled in and had a quick (ice cold) shower we ventured into town to seek some advice on the best company to book with.
After speaking with several fellow travellers, and doing some fairly uninspiring research on trip advisor (including something along the lines of, "we broke down several times in the middle of nowhere, the food was scarce and our driver refused to communicate with us....but it could be worse - at least he wasn´t drunk like some of the other drivers....."), we settled on a small family run business which was also one of the more expensive options. We had been informed by a few different people that money = safety so we were happy to hand over a little more.
Unfortunately Cordillera was super popular, and didn´t have any spaces available until the following Wednesday, which left us with two and a half days to kill in a very small town.
We took it very easy the next day, catching up on reading and researching what to expect during the tour. However we were ready to do something a little more exciting by Tuesday so we booked in for a bit of adrenaline rush - sandboarding down some local dunes followed by a drive to watch the sun set at panoramic spot close by.
The boarding was awesome. A little different from snow....firstly there aren´t any ski lifts, so it´s a good 10 minute slog up a steep dune at altitude. No easy feat. Once you´ve recovered enough it´s a quick (but awesome) 30 second run to the bottom before another hike to the top. The biggest difference to the snow though is a complete inability to carve - you´re stuck going down a diagonal. Mike and I both attempted to twist it up a little, but with minimal success and a lot of sand on the face, down the shirt, up the pants etc. However it was a hell of a lot of fun and we were very happy to enjoy a cold beer once we were done.
The sunset was pretty awesome - we were basically on the edge of a bit of a canyon, the cool rock formations stretching out. We took some snaps, see below. We were also treated to our first taste of a local alcohol, Pisco Sour. A bit like margarita mix....but not mixed with anything.
We had a fairly quiet night as we were due to leave on our big tour the following day.
|9th Apr 2012 San Pedro de Atacama|
|Now THIS is what I pictured South America to look like...|
|10th Apr 2012 Jess watchng the sunset at Moon Valley, San Pedro de Atacama|
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