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Read and rate Travel Journal Entries for Antofagasta, Antofagasta, Chile

Sep 22, 2012 - Antofagasta

Moving right along we have a short stop over in Antofagasta on our way to Calama before we head into Argentina tomorrow morning. The trip was pretty much uneventful except for the couple of times that we got boarded by police to check baggage at 3am and the other time for a bus rider to complain that the driver was going way too fast. The bus driver then had to provide a print out of the registered speed at every km as they are required to do so by law. Then the cop got back on the bus and told the person that there was not one point where...

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Oct 8, 2011 - Day 20 - Arrived in San Pedro de Atacama

Today we travelled from Calama to San Pedro de Atacama. The 5 minute taxi ride in Calama (and it was a ratty old taxi, like so many of them in South America) from the hotel to the bus terminal cost us $4.60. The bus ride that lasted 1.5 hours in what was a luxury highway bus cost us $5.20. Their bus system here is amazing and cheap. They have different classes of buses from our regular coaches to sleepers where the seats lie completely flat. The bus ride into San Pedro looked amazing. Can't wait to start touring the country side tomorrow....

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Oct 7, 2011 - Day 19 flight to Calama

Today or actually yesterday was our last day in Antofagasta before flying out to Calama. Was a relaxing day, we took in a museum on the local culture and history followed by some of our favorite walking tours. Once again we spent time at the fisherman's wharf, saw the sea lions and pelicans and then went for a walk by the ocean. Tomorrow we take a bus to San Pedro de Atacama, about an 1.5 hours away. Will try to send pictures tomorrow.

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Oct 6, 2011 - Day 18 Visited a huge..mine high up in the dessert

Today visited the really huge Escondida Mine, which means 'hidden' in Spanish. The mine is made up of several pits, the largest which is currently 4.0km x 2.5km x 600m deep and will continue to grow for several decades. It is located 170 km southeast of Antofagasta in northern Chile. It is located 3,100m above sea level. A lot of people can feel the change in conditions and have symptoms of altitude sickness. For me it was a queasy stomach. I don't even like standing on a ladder. The mine accounts for more than 25% of Chile's copper output,...

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Oct 5, 2011 - Day 17 - Stopped by the hand in the desert

Today was a 3 hour trip into the desert to see yet another mine. This ride keeps getting longer and longer and you can add very dusty to the description. Our little bus doesn't have air conditioning and the dust just seams to flow up into the bus. Add a little dry dessert heat and you have the makings of another fun bus ride. Imagine seeing no vegetation for hundred's of kilometers, not even a blade of grass. For the non geology people Louis saw a big pit with local bright green rocks and blue rocks. The mine had a 12 foot water tap in...

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Oct 4, 2011 - Day 16 - Another trip to the desert + underground mine tour

Cool weather in Antofagasta and hot dry sun in the desert. Another long day. A 2 hour bus ride to the south of Antofagasta through the desert followed by a another 2 hour return ride. Did an underground mine tour of the El Penon Au-Ag mine. Tight security at the mine. Had to do a full body metal scan and all my stuff x-rayed on the way out of the mine. Felt just like going through an airport security system

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Oct 3, 2011 - Day 15 Visit to an an Xstrata mine

Visit to Xstrata Copper's Lomas Bayas mine located to the east of the city of Antofagasta. The mine is big to Canadian standards. Got to see a blast. Drive to the mine brought us over the coastal range and through the central plateau. Very sunny and dry, very much a desert atmosphere. Nothing grows here. Not even a cactus.

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Oct 2, 2011 - Day 14 Trip to La Portada and boat cruise

Today we ventured out to see the La Portada arch, a natural monument located about 20 km to the north of Antofagasta. Got to see the desert type terrain in this area. The arch is 43 m high and 70 m (230 ft) long. It has a base of black andesite stone, around which are arranged marine sedimentary rocks, a stratum of yellowing sandstone, and layers of the remaining fossils of shells. All this was formed during a long process of marine erosion. Finding a bus to take us out to La Fortada was hard enough as the one we took left us on the side...

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Oct 1, 2011 - Day 13 Now those sea lions and pelicans

Today we tried to experienced the local culture and set off on the local community bus across town. Now these buses are a little old and ratty, but the good thing is that they only cost 400 pesos ($0.80) per person. There are not a lot of defined bus stops so you just try to find a bus number going in your general direction and flag him down. And in the evening just hope you remember the bus route back. Well the bus dropped us off at the by the fish market. You could smell you were approaching it before even setting foot in it. Didn't buy...

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Sep 30, 2011 - Day12 - Moved to a different part of Antofagasta

Today we moved around and changed hotels, but still staying in Antofagasta for a few more days. Will miss the life of the spa and casino and have to put up with screaming sea gulls. But will have a nice ocean view from the room and nice city view from the back of the hotel. Walked along the sea shore again today. Included a couple of pictures cormorants and pelicans against a nice surf. There were a couple of fisherman with small traditional fishing boats fishing just beyond the breaks. Further down we saw about a dozen surfers enjoying...

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Sep 29, 2011 - Day 11 - Antofagasta. Win big at the Casino but not enought to stay in Chile

Did the walking tour around the silver smelter today. Not sure why silver, the rocks around the museum look more like copper type ore by the pretty blue and green colours. If you like eating late, Chile will be your dream place. Most restaurants don't open till 8:00PM. Might as well eat when you are really hungry. Had to kill time so we went to the Casino. The trick is knowing when to walk away. We hit a couple of good streaks. OK not enough to stay in Chile but enough for supper tonight, tomorrow and the next night. Conference is...

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Sep 28, 2011 - Day 10 Woke to the sound of soldiers

Today we woke to the sound of Chilean soldiers doing their morning run and chant as they ran past the hotel. The army base is just out back from our hotel room, Always nice when you can see 2-3 tanks from your hotel room. If they start moving we know there is going to be a change in the government. Walked along the streets and saw a Moai statue (yeah its a small one). Similar to the ones they have on Easter Island just off continental Chile. We are not going to make it to Easter Island over our holidays, so it is the best we are going to...

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