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CHILE | Friday, 7 November 2014 | Views [234]

Much shorter time between blogs this time as we only had a 5 day stay in Chile. This was due to a time factor and also it was a bit expensive here. So we arrived in San Pedro de Atacama on the outskirts of the town to processed by immigration and then dropped off near the centre. AS we did not book a hostel we spent about 1 hr walking around viewing rooms and asking prices before settling on one with a decent room but a shared (clean looking) bathroom. This town is in the Atacama desert apparently the driest desert in the world. So lots of nothing for kms and mostly flat with the Andes and other mtn ranges in the distance. It is a cute little dusty town even if touristy and expensive. It is easy to walk anywhere bu hot in the middle of the day. We had to put our watches forward another hour so that meant it was hottest around 2pm.We were lucky that this hostel also had a kitchen so were able to cook a few meals to save money. WE ventured out on tours 3 of the 5 days we were there. The first one was afternoon sunset one to a couple of lagunas which have a high salt content. So we could swim in one or should I say float. The salt content is not as high as the Dead Sea but enough to keep you afloat. The water was cold but I managed a quick "float". Thank goodness they had showers there (cold) to wash all the salt off. You think at the beach in oz you have salt on your skin - that's nothing to this.On this same trip we also saw a couple of sinkholes oin the desert and another shallow salt laguna. Here we had snacks and pisco sour (alcoholic drink) whilst watching the sunset.The next morning we got up at 4.30pm for a tour up to the world's highest geysers but they forgot us. So it was back to bed at 6am. After getting up for a second time we rebooked the trip for the next day and instead took another afternoon one to the Valle de Luna - rock formations and sand dunes,and the Cordillera de Sal which had hills,small canyons and formations made of a combination of salt,gypsum and clay. All in all this area was fascinating and unfortunately couldn't spend more time there as we had togo a viewpoint for sunset over the valleys and hills. The colours at sunset were wonderful. So next morning and up early again for the Geyser del Tatio tour. This time we did get picked up and we went up to 4,000m to view these at sunrise - minus 5C. However it was impressive seeing all the steam geysers spouting upwards and then dying down as the sun rose and the temp rose. We did not partake in the swim in the hot springs at this hour,- too cold to undress etc. We got back to San Pedro for lunch and then indulged in a siesta. Our Last full day in San Pedro saw us taking a day "off" to laze around and catch up on a few "housekeeping" things. The next day we hopped on a bus in the morning for the 9 hr trip across the border into Argentina. It was only 2 hrs to border where we just jumped from one queue to the next to leave Chile and then enter Argentina. So a quick trip into Chile and maybe we'll be back to do the southern areas. It is a direct flight from oz to Santiago,Chile.

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