Read and rate Travel Journal Entries for Antofagasta, Chile

Oct 11, 2011 - Day23 - Geysers and Cactus Valley

Our tour today started at 5:00AM. They said we had to start so early because the El Tatio geothermal field / geysers are much better to view in the early hours so that the hot water and cold air have a much better visual effect. Yeah right! It looked just as nice 3 hours later. Next thing don't believe everything they say. It may not be a lie but it is not what you expected. The geyser were advertised as the world's highest geysers. What that really meant was that the geysers were at the highest elevation above sea level, 4,320m above sea...

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Oct 10, 2011 - Day 22 - Visit to the Lagunas-Salars-Flamingos

Today we visited the Laguna de Chaxa part of the Los Flamencos National park. Also got up close with the volcanoes. High enough up in elevation that there was still snow on the ground in places. First stop was at one of the largest salt lakes or salt flats in Chile since there is not much water. Here we got to see Chilean Flamingos (which have the pink tails) and the Andee's Flamingos (which have the black tails). We then visited the Lagunas Miscanti and Miniques. There was a pretty blue green colour with a white salty rings. Both of these...

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Oct 9, 2011 - Day 21 - Visit to the Valleys

Today we visited Death Valley, Salt Canyon and Moon Valley. The wind and blowing sand on top of Death Valley was just incredible, so strong. We had a sand shower and sandblasted like there was no tomorrow. Went to the top of Death Valley where we were pretty nervous of of being blown over the edge by the wind or very easily losing our new hats. Once in the valley the wind was a lot calmer. We did have to put up with a lot of sun and sand. Got a chance to walk around bare feet and just pretend it was a beach. After a while the sand was...

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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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