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San Pedro de Atacama

November 20, 2012

The drop down from Bolivia at over 4300m into San Pedro de Atacama, only 2400m, is steep and straight – we sat in 2nd gear using the engine to brake to the max as we crawled down at under 20kph. The only other vehicles on the road were car transporters taking new cars from Chilean ports to Paraguay.

When we finally reached San Pedro it was to mixed feelings . “Is that it ?” was our initial thought followed quickly by “At least its civilization !”. We found the los Perales campground, after a few abortive turns, and were immediately welcomed by Helen & Paul, www.goingoverland.com , the first British couple we’ve met on the road. They were temporarily stopped in San Pedro with mechanical problems but were hoping to be on the way shortly to continue their world circumnavigation.

We also finally met www.liferemotely.com, a US/South African combo who have caught us up after following in our tracks for almost a year ! They are Jared, Jessica and Kobus.

After a lovely hot shower we were ready to hit the delights of San Pedro – ten minutes later we’d hit the highpoints of the town and were in shock at the prices of anything. We’ve been assured that San Pedro is the most expensive town in Chile but even so US$20 for 4 drinks (2 of them non-alcoholic)  was a shock to the system and of course the wallet.

One thing about San Pedro is that wherever you go there are giant dogs. These were honestly the biggest dogs we’ve seen all trip.

Still after the Bolivian Southwest Circuit we were ready for a couple of days of R&R and chilled out in the scorching sunny days – which coupled with cool nights was just what the doctor ordered.

We’re not ones to sit around too long though so we headed off on an excursion to a lake in the desert that we had heard about. Laguna Cejar is not too far from San Pedro and a plus point is that the road is pretty good. Its actually one of 3 lakes but the other two are reserved for Flamingos. The attraction is that the lake is very salty, like the dead sea, so floating on the surface is a piece of cake.

The down side though was that the water was really cold – all that is apart from a couple of inches on the surface – incentive indeed to float!

After hitting the lake we drove up to Valle de Luna – one of about a million of these worldwide. It was an otherworldly landscape which looked fantastic in the late afternoon sunshine.

 

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Ebs permalink
    November 21, 2012 3:06 pm

    “A couple of inches on the surface” – I thought you were wearing shorts in the photo?

  2. Ebs permalink
    November 21, 2012 3:08 pm

    Enjoy Chile! Your football team is now “La U” (lah oo) or La Universidad de Chile and your rugby team is “de Prince de Gales”.

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