...and the moon shines down

San Pedro de Atacama Travel Blog

 › entry 9 of 129 › view all entries
Leaving Santiago

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.

Always more Andes
  On arrival, to my delight I find that there is wifi in the reception, bar and restaurant.  I am shown to my room after a short wait.  Unpack, promptly lock my passport in the safe but can’t then unlock it.  I know the combination, but it appears that the safe doesn’t.  A new staff member later tells me that he’s been there for a week and only just mastered the vagaries of the safes.

 

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.

Sunrise over the Andes

 

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.

Scenery en route to Calama
000p, AUD27.70.  Tourist prices of course.  Have a wine and empanadas in a pub, go back to the hotel, have a sleep as I want to stay awake tonight.  Go back into town by 7:30 for the tour.  San P is one of the best places in the world for astronomy because of its clear, unpolluted skies; unfortunately it’s nearly a full moon.  Tour is run by San P of Atacama Celestial Explorations and is one of the best I’ve been to. Guy who runs it takes photos with everyone's cameras, looking through the telescope.  When I give him mine he says, "nice camera"; thanks John.  Am dropped off at the hotel and pleased to find that the room is lovely and warm.  I just wish that they didn’t make the doonas so heavy.

 

Hotel Altiplanico. Domingo Atienza 282 - San Pedro de Atacama, Phone: (56-55) 851212,   Fax: (56-55) 851238.

Scenery en route to Calama
 
http://www.altiplanico.cl/english/sanpedro/index.htm 

US$160 pn incl. breakfast (double room, single occupancy)

 

 

 

 

 

pepernoten says:
In case Mum didn't get back to you (haven't read further yet!) - wireless internet. Lots of people have it at home (eg I have it so I can use my laptop anywhere around the house without cords), but also plenty of cafes, airports and the like have it. It's often free in cafes, so you can check your email on your own laptop while having a coffee, or do some work if you have to.
Posted on: Jun 12, 2008
aussie_judy says:
Judy here - I know I must seem very dense, but what is wifi???
Posted on: May 18, 2008
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Leaving Santiago
Leaving Santiago
Always more Andes
Always more Andes
Sunrise over the Andes
Sunrise over the Andes
Scenery en route to Calama
Scenery en route to Calama
Scenery en route to Calama
Scenery en route to Calama
Calama aeropuerto
Calama aeropuerto
Calama - miners homes?
Calama - miner's homes?
En route to San Pedro
En route to San Pedro
Antiplanico Hotel
Antiplanico Hotel
Antiplanico Hotel
Antiplanico Hotel
Antiplanico Hotel, restaurant, cof…
Antiplanico Hotel, restaurant, co…
Antiplanico Hotel, bar
Antiplanico Hotel, bar
Antiplanico Hotel
Antiplanico Hotel
Road to San Pedro - well I thought…
Road to San Pedro - well I though…
Ruins on side of road - not on the…
Ruins on side of road - not on th…
Walking back to San Pedro
Walking back to San Pedro
My friend outside Altiplanico
My friend outside Altiplanico
Main street of San Pedro
Main street of San Pedro
Pub, San P
Pub, San P
Main street, San P, 7 pm
Main street, San P, 7 pm
Taken through a telescope image, b…
Taken through a telescope image, …
Saturn, ditto
Saturn, ditto
San Pedro de Atacama Hotels & Accommodations review
Not cheap, but very nice
Really enjoyed my stay here in May 2008. Certainly not cheap, but they provided a lot for the money. Helpful staff, unbelievable breakfast included.… read entire review
San Pedro de Atacama
photo by: eefab