November 18th, 2009 – by: Sads79
Plaza de Armas
We arrived in San Pedro town, and at first glances it seems like a lovely little town - dusty streets lined with nice looking hostels and cafes. As soon as the bus stopped we were hounded by a few hotel/hostel owners and while Paul and Aideen went to the HI hostel, I went down to Hostel Corvatsch. The price seemed ok and the rooms clean, so I decided to stay.
There were plenty of tours on offer in San Pedro, but pretty much all go to places that are very similar to those I had seen on the Uyuni salt flats tour (geysers, salt flats etc etc), so I decided just to spend a few days chilling out. Unfortunately, the buses to Salta, Argentina, my next stop, are only every three days so I had some time to kill. I booked up my exorbitantly priced 10 bus trip to Salta (CP24,000/£30/$45) with Geminis - its a bloody rip what they charge, but they are the only operator who do the international crossing and you pay dearly for the lack of competition.
Paying over the odds was to become a theme of San Pedro - it really is a place where tourists are taken for a ride - expensive prices and crap service. All the cafes, restaurants, hostels and tour operators are in on the act, and after 3 days it really left a bitter taste in my mouth, so if you can avoid spending more than a day here, then move on as quickly as you can.
I chilled out and watched the France-Ireland return match with Paul & Aideen before they got their bus to Santiago (which Ireland drew, but went out of the competition anyway 2-1 on aggregate) and bumped into dutch Peter (who I met on Inca trek) who had just finished his salt flats tour. We caught up over a few beers before he too headed off for Santiago. It was nice kicking back and taking it easy in the very nice weather (its scorching during the day and cool at night), but unfortunately San Pedro will remain a less than enjoyed part of my trip due to the rude, arrogant people who run the tourists joints in town - they really need to realise that tourists bring money to them for a service and expect to be treated with respect and honesty - something they sadly lack.
San Pedro de Atacama Hostels review
Avoid these idiots!
We were approached off the bus by these people, and at first glance it seemed very nice:
Outside garden space: tick
Clean rooms: tick
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