...and the moon shines down
San Pedro de Atacama Travel Blog› entry 9 of 129 › view all entries
Got up at 5 for a 7 am flight. Lovely views of the Andes and sunrise not long after takeoff. Approx 2 hour flight. John N it was a 3x3 configuration. I had a window seat on the east side, which I booked on the LAN website the day before flying. Landed around 9, then many people queue for the 2 toilets, get their luggage and if going on to San Pedro de Atacama, find transport. I think that Calama is really only there for the copper mine and most people choose to go straight through to San Pedro. They have the tourists down to a fine art ��" bus leaves at 9:30, just long enough to go to the loo, get your bag, pay for a ticket (8.000p, AUD18.48) and get on the bus.
Bus takes about an hour and drops me off at my hotel. San Pedro is very expensive and I had tossed up where to stay and decided on a reasonably new hotel with heating in the rooms. Hotel Altiplanico is about 10 minutes walk from San P.
Decide to go for a walk into town, which I am told, takes 10 to 15 minutes. Go out the front gate, giro a la izquierda. I walk for about 20 minutes and am a bit annoyed that it’s much further than they say it is. I wasn’t even walking as slowly as usual. After around 45 minutes I think that I must have gone the wrong way and turn to go back. It’s quite hot and very dusty, particularly when the cars go by. I think that the gire a la izquierda (turn left) must have been for when I went out of reception and I probably missed the receptionist saying gire a la derecho (turn to the right) at the front gate.
Once again I say that it’s the experience that counts and every wrong turn is an adventure. Not long after I turn back a local woman says “hola” and catches up to me. We walk back the 3 kms to Altiplanico, where I take her photo, and we then walk into town together. All the time we talk and enjoy each other’s company and have a good laugh. She has two daughters, aged 8 and 11. She likes living in San P, has lived there all her life and has never been to Bolivia or to Santiago. She speaks no English.
I walk around San P, have some yummy ice-cream and book a tour that night with the local astronomy expert 12.
Hotel Altiplanico. Domingo Atienza 282 - San Pedro de Atacama, Phone: (56-55) 851212, Fax: (56-55) 851238.
US$160 pn incl. breakfast (double room, single occupancy)