South America 2010 - Facts and Information
Day by Day 1: Chilean Atacama
From UK to Santiago then north to the Atacama Desert


 Atacama Villages
 Altiplanic Lagoons

 Into Bolivia
 To S Pedro de Quemez
 Salar de Uyuni
 To Potosi
 Potosi Streets
 Potosi Churches

 To Sucre
 Sucre Streets
 Sucre Markets
 Sucre Cathedral
 Sucre Churches

 To La Paz & El Alto
 La Paz Streets
 La Paz Churches
 La Paz Museum
 To Sorata
 Altiplano Farmland
 Lake Titicaca
 Isla del Sol
 Into Peru



6 April
Previous night at Premier Inn, Bath Road so a one minute drive to Quality Parking next door to get the short transfer to LHR. There in good time so relaxed in Business Lounge and gently sampled some surprisingly good Californian reds. Uneventful flight to MAD and long wait in the lounge there for the long haul flight which was very comfortable. All in all a very relaxed trip considering its length.

7 April
On time arrival at SCL and fairly quick processing, though Customs control on import of any non-processed foodstuff rigorous. No signs apparent to hotel but if you walk out of the terminal it is just across the road. Had late breakfast (as wouldn't be getting one tomorrow) as early lunch and chilled out in room. Had no plans to go into Santiago and as it was a rather dull, humid day with rain threatening we didn't change our minds. Wandered into terminal to sus out where we needed to go in morning and availability of breakfast there, discovered we could check in for the morning so did just that. Pleasant dinner in hotel. Holiday Inn Aeropuerto, Santiago Right opposite the terminal doors it was easy to get to. Quick check in, breakfast offered then as we would be away too early the next day. Room large, comfortable, clean and quiet. Breakfast extensive, dinner good in a fairly simple way and reasonably priced. All staff friendly and helpful with very good English. Only drawback was that breakfast starts too late for early flights. (There was a fair bit of noise from workers during the day but this was due to repairing earhquake damage.)

8 April
Up 0500 to cross road to terminal. Is 24 hour caff on ground floor so got a couple of empanadas there to eat before going through Security. (Check-in is on first floor, signs a bit confusing but international is to left, domestic to right.) Dropped bags, had brekky and went to gate. All very relaxed. Good flight and arrival at Calama while still reasonably cool. Fast run to San Pedro. Room not ready at hotel (not really expected to be) but offered breakfast while waiting which became lunch. Wandered around town. Observatory tour in evening well worthwhile with entertaining speaker and plenty of chance to look through telescopes. Cool but nowhere near as cold as we thought it would be. Hotel Altiplanico, San Pedro de Atacama Another very good stay at this excellent place with bags of character. Only real dislikes were connected with room lighting (little illumination with lots of glare). Breakfasts good though a bit late getting started (scheduled for 0700, usually mainly out by 0710, eggs around 0720). Dinners disappointing, especially second night when pasta was slow to come and cold on arrival - sent back. Staff friendly and pleasant, English good at Reception but variable elsewhere.

9 April
Early breakfast and then walk into San Pedro to museum. Not really hungry so some excellent hallula bread from a small bakery was consumed in the square while watching the town go about its business. Dropped out at hotel in afternoon to read books from museum and drink tea.

10 April
Full day trip round some of the traditional villages to the north of San Pedro, also visited Pukara de Lasana (hill fort) where we had so-so lunch in local restaurant. Interesting, but very hot day.

11 April
Trip to salt flats and altiplanic lagoons. Had agreed we did not want lunch in Socaire but preferred other option of picnic lunch. Stopped at Socaire to get bread for lunch then on to lagoons. Walked from top down to lower lagoon. Very hot sun but breeze cool. Had lunch at shelter with quite magnificent view, much better than restaurant. On way back called at Socaire to visit old, restored church. Then on to Toconao for interesting walk through oasis valley at Jerez then brief visit to church. Met guide (Vladimir) for first part of Bolivia that evening at hotel.

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