11.07.2010 - 14.07.2010 15 °C
We were pleased to find that it was much warmer in Chile than it had been in Bolivia, during the day at least! San Pedro is an Oasis in the Atacama desert, the driest place on earth which in places they´ve never recorded rain...ever!
We'd planned on staying here for a while, but found that everything was REALLY expensive, especially in comparison to Bolivia! Also a lot of the scenery around San Pedro (the main source of touristy trips) was similar to that in the part of Bolivia we'd driven through. So we ended up only staying a couple of days, much to the relief of our bank accounts!
On the first day be booked a tour to the 'Valle de la Luna', which is just outside of the town. The landscape was incredible - like being on the moon! There were canyons, huge sand dunes and areas where the wind had scultped rocks into unusual shapes. We also saw the remains of some salt mines that were abandoned in the 80's. At the end of the tour we stopped to watch the sun go down behind the mountains.
Because of its height, and the fact that theres very little light pollution around, San Pedro is said to be the best place in the world to view the nights sky. So on our second day we booked a star gazing tour. The place was run by a French couple that did the tours themselves and explained some features of the sky in the Southern Hemisphere. This ended up being quite similar to the trip we did in New Zealand, except that they had 8 different telescopes to see different features a bit closer. We saw some distant galaxies and mars, but the highlight was seeing saturn and its rings (which actually just looked like one single ring)!
And that was all of our rather brief visit to Chile. The next morning we were off on a 10 hour bus to Salta in the North of Argentina.