Read and rate Travel Journal Entries for Antofagasta, Chile

Sep 27, 2011 - Day 9 - Walk along the Boardwalk next to the ocean

Took an evening walk along the ocean boardwalk the stretches for several kilometres to the south of town. Saw a mural made up of numerous types of seashells. A variety of birds can be seen along the shoreline including gulls, cormorants and pelicans. Passed by the Huanchaca Ruins which are the remains of one of the oldest silver foundries of the country. This particular site located in Antofagasta was closed in 1912.

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Sep 26, 2011 - Day 9 - Antofagasta - near hotel

Went for a long walk along the beach near the hotel. Nice little church with a Spanish theme. Huge crashing waves. A bit of everything from rocky shores to beaches. Tried to order a coffee at McDonald's today, but got an orange juice instead. We went to a Chilean version of YIG. they sold furniture, clothes, groceries and wine for two bucks a bottle. Took a community taxi to the downtown section tonight. This type of taxi has a defined route, you flag him down, jump in, pay him some small amount of money and get off later on the route....

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Sep 24, 2011 - Day 7 - Flew from Santiago to Antofagasta

Said goodby to Santiago. Must say the people in Santiago are very polite and helpful. Today we flew from Santiago, north along the Chilean coast to Antofagasta. The view from the plane was amazing as we could see the immense size of the snow covered Andes. Chilean airliners are different from those in Canada. They hand out free beer like pop, give designer cookies rather than pretzels. When we landed in Antofagasta, it was another cultural shock. The area is more desert like. You have to look hard to find a blade of grass. Lots of sand and...

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May 12, 2011 - Money, sandboarding and the end to luxury accomodation

I have spent this morning wondering around San Pedro by myself as the rest of the group have gone to float in a lake, which for $50 US I thought was a bit over priced. I have spent about an hour going between money exchange houses looking for the best exchange rate, however none has quite tickled my fancy. Everything here, including the exchange rate, is overpriced as it is the last place to buy anything before the desert crossing. Thus, I have decided only to change a minimal amount of money and live on practically nothing until I emerge...

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May 11, 2011 - San Pedro de Atacama

After enduring an eighteen hour bus journey up north, we finally arrived in San Pedro de Atacama, a small town on the edge of the Atacama desert. I have never been to anything quite like it, everything is covered with sand and one could be mistaken for being in the Wild Wild West. It is very hot here and I was finally be able to whip out the shorts and sunglasses :) I went on an excellent excursion today to the Valley of the Moon. The valley is famous for its many varieties of rock formation, its dry saline lakes and for being one of the...

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Apr 1, 2011 - Friday San Pedro de Atacama

A 4.30 am start to visit the Tatio Geysers. Nearly 2 hrs to arrive at 4300m where the temperature was -8 degrees C! You need to arrive at this time to seee the steam condense. Not huge geysers but loads of them scattered around a large site so you could really get up close. Later we visted a river in the desert margin where there were ducks, grebes etc which were fun to identify. At the end of the trip we scrambled along the rocks beside the river following it into a gorge with cactus plants studded around the hill above and pampas grass...

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Mar 31, 2011 - Thursday St Pedro de Atacama

We were up early today to bcatch the dawn breaking at the Atacama salt flats. Today was a a tour of theNational park in which there are lots of lagoons in margins of the desert. We saw flamingoes , a desert fox and some astonishing colours. The lagoons are at 4000 to 5000m Visited lagunas Miscanti, Meniques and Chaxa and the towns of Toconao and Socaire. so we all had some altitude problems headaches etc but nothing a couple of paracetamols couldn´t handle. Got great photos and had a picnic lunch in the desert.

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Mar 30, 2011 - Wednesday St Pedro de Atacama

Went on our first organised trip ¨Death Valley¨ and ¨Valley of the Moon¨. Riding out of this oasis town onto the Atacama puts you into the middle of a beautiful but very hostile environment. We did short treks into these areas where there were amazing dried valleys and weird landscapes sculpted by the wind. WE watched sunst at a famous spòt andd took lots of photos. This town ( St Pedro) only exists for tourists but manages to be reñaxed and entirely constructed of locally fabricated buildings. Food is good but expensive as you would expect...

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Mar 29, 2011 - Tuesday St Pedro de Atacama

Arrive in the Atacama at dawn after a 3 am journey to Santiago airport and flight to Calama. It is completely barren except for this oasis town. Our booked transfer worked perfectly and we have spent the day looking around the small town which is constructed entirely of mud and straw buildings (Adobe buildings) - including our hotel. Arriving early at the hotel ( 9 am) we found that check in was 13.00. Immediately after us a large group of grumpy Scandinavians arrived and were given breakfast. Meanwhile the staff at the hotel prepared our...

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Mar 7, 2011 - Adios San Pedro de Atacama

I took a personal day away from the office ´Allen´ and headed to the village of Quitor to visit pre-inca ruins and hike up a mountain where Atacameños defended their town successfully from the invading españoles in the 1540´s. As we all know, eventually the natives lost. The Spaniards hanged the heads of the chiefs on top of the mountain for everyone to see. After one hour of hiking uphill I met a young woman from Valparaiso who had come to Atacama on vacation. She told me that when her money ran out a few days after she arrived she got a...

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Mar 3, 2011 - Valle de la Luna

We began our bike ride at 09:30. Starting in San Pedro and out along flat terrain to the entry of the Valle de la Luna National Park. At that point the flat lasted about another two miles - then uphill, and mind you, we are starting at about 8000 foot elevation. The air is a bit thin, and the sun relentless. We are soon to find out why neither plants nor animals live in this place. But the scenery is amazing. The variation in colors and shapes of the rock and sand formations are other-worldly; maybe that's why they call it the Valley of the...

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Mar 2, 2011 - San Pedro de Atacama

We flew from Santiago to Calama, and then a one hour bus ride to San Pedro de Atacama, 23 degrees south latitude, just north of the Tropic of Capricorn (23.5 degrees). The Atacama Desert is the driest in the world. San Pedro is at 2450 meters above sea level; about 8200 ft. The terrain/landscape is a combination of volcanic activity, earth tectonic plate movement, and wind/rain erosion. The colors, shapes, and contours are from a surreal color palette applied to a `canvas´ of various compounds. When you add the 16,500 to 20,000 foot snow...

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