The 250kms through to Calama was across the desert with more and more mining activities present. We had planned to use the Honda agent in Calama to do our second free service and when we arrived the owners daughter spoke English and was very helpful. We stayed the night in Calama leaving the bikes at the Honda dealership and booked into a B&B across the road.
The bikes were ready the next day at 12:30pm and after withdrawing money and getting lunch we were on our way to San Pedro de Atacama. As we climbed higher the bikes started to show signs of altitude sickness and after a few alterations we were able to get up to the 2400masl. The landscape became more rugged and mountainous and just before reaching the town we passed the Valle de la Muerte (Valley of the dead), a strange landscape with little vegetation, sharp rocks and white rocks/sand which looked like frost.
San Pedro de Atacama is much smaller than anticipated and very quaint. It feels like you’ve stepped back in time with buildings that look like they made out of clay, flat roofs and dirt roads, however it is a very touristy town with nearly every second shop being tour operators, restaurants, hostels or curios. The camp we found was 5000pesos per person and just on the edge of the town centre. After visiting the tourist information centre and getting a few flyers we had a bite to eat in the town square listening to performers with their drums and watching jugglers and fire throwers. The pizza was the closest we have had to pizzas at home, and while we were eating Nick was challenged by a 8yr old for a piece… having not eaten much that day Nicks reply was quite funny: “No…Para mi” which is “No…for me!” the kid was unimpressed and shoved the plate across the table
|Valley of death|
|San Pedro de Atacama|
|Unhappy birthday girl !!!|
|Cheers to the dirty thirties !|
|Floating so high|
|Vicuna in the El tatio geysers|
|Note the smoldering volcano in the background !|
The Puritama pools are come with a hefty price tag of 15000 pesos (R300) each for the day or 9000 pesos after 2pm. Luckily we arrived after 2pm and had a delicious lunch by the pools amazed at how warm and clear the water was.
|Sunset in Luna Valley|
|Our friends from Santiago: Pablo, Isidora, Nick (another Nick!) and Florencia|