The dusty desert town of San Pedro de Atacama


This dusty village in the heart of the desert and is a backpackers Mecca, with good quality hostels and vibrant outdoor restaurants lining its main strip, along with countless numbers of tour providers arranging a whole host of excursions to the surrounding Volcanos, lagoons/lakes, geysers and valleys.

Given the hefty price tags on everything here, we decided to opt out of the tours in favour of a 4 day 4×4 tour into cheaper Bolivia who share this truly fascinating part of the world.

Given the popularity of the Salt lake tours into Bolivia we had to stay a couple of nights in San Pedro to enjoy the town; a welcomed rest from the constant coach trips of recent weeks.

We stayed in a cheap, comfortable hostel (Corvatsch) which had the cleanest bathrooms we have ever seen! A result of the 3 miniature humans that cleaned the hostel and the toilets every 30 minutes. Whilst a pleasant surprise at first, it became increasingly annoying when trying to do what one does in the loo! Another annoyance was the bizarre set up of the men toilets!

We met some interesting fellow travellers during our stay ranging from a bald brash she-man of a woman originally from Jersey who now was a high-flying corporate accountant doing M&A at Deloitte to a really interesting ( somewhat batty) 50 something single mother from Venezuela (Laura Ceacco) who was on holiday for two weeks with her strange and clearly gay 10 year old son.

Laura is an intelligent, well-travelled published author who has been black listed by what is effectively a dictatorship government in Venezuela that could talk for England about pretty much anything; reminding me of the great chats I used to have with Laida´s mother many many years ago. She also suffers from bi polar depression and was able to articulate a fascinating insight into the disease, something my mother has never truly been able to explain to me. She referrers to it as an emotional disease rather than a mental one which it is so often described as being. Her explanation of the various highs and lows one can experience whilst being in a complete clear state of mind, really hit home, helping put the many years of my mothers suffering into context.

On a lighter note we also spent our time here finally putting Andres tri-pod to use. Given that the nights in the desert are so dark we figured out how to use the long exposure on his fancy camera which was hours of fun!

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By garyabela Posted in Chile

One comment on “The dusty desert town of San Pedro de Atacama

  1. It sounds like quite an emotional rollercoaster of a trip…but an educational one too. You must have needed a rest after speaking with a lady that would have given my mum a run for her money on the talking front! Liking the experimentation with the camera lenses! Must get that book by the Venezuelan lady! Take care xxx

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