The border in Chile involved two sets of paperwork and after passport control we had to get our luggage scanned. It is prohibited to bring any fresh food produce into Chile. Of course one of our bags got stopped while Gavin was in charge of both and I was focusing on not fainting after my very ill finish on the Bolivian salt flats. The bus we took from the Bolivian border to San Pedro very kindly dropped us straight to our hostel. That was all from me until the next day when I had slept it off!
I was a bit sad to have missed a day in Atacama as our stopover was short but I was feeling much better and able to explore the following day. It’s a desert town offering sandboards, bikes and tours to the salt flats at every corner.
We booked a stargazing tour for that night as we had enjoyed the views so much during the salt flats and this would be an actual dedicated tour with telescopes. We booked our tickets with a company called la Estrella… and punctually showed up 15 minutes before departure as advised, to learn the tour wasn’t running. It was annoying as it was the only activity we were able to fit in to our time in Atacama, lucky for us we spotted another agency nearby who had space left and we just had a wait and few minutes for our new group with Andes travel! It was a really cool informative evening and I am much more conscious of how insignificant we are in the universe now!! We learned about different consolations and planets and then looked at the Milky Way. We used the telescopes to view different consolations under the guidance of the astrologer. The pictures included to give an idea of the evening are courtesy of the agency, Andes Travel as we didn’t have the right cameras or equipment to capture any of it but it was really cool to see again and as we had paid for a tour with a guide who was an actual astronomer we learned a bit more detail from our night on the salt flats.
We took a bus from San Pedro the following morning with a company called AndesMar and it took us over the border into Argentina and our first stop, Salta. The service was really efficient with the border offices out of Chile and into Argentina housed in the same building and it took about an hour to get the bus in and out. Argentina, like Chile, was strict on bringing any fresh produce into the country and as a result there was a full scan of all the luggage before we could leave the border.
While this was only a short stopover in Chile, our South American adventure will actually end in Chile too as we visit Santiago and Valpariso in a few weeks time.