Friday, 7 September 2012

Heading North

This Saturday (tomorrow) I leave Santiago, and head North. However, despite travelling some 1,750 kilometres, I'll still be very much in Chile. The journey will be spread over 10 days, and in the process I'll be bussing the equivalent of London to Moscow - it's a pretty long way! Have a look at this map for an idea of the route:

The Atacama Desert
I'm travelling with Pachamama by Bus, a backpacker bus company, for the first 5 days. We're heading to San Pedro de Atacama, and breaking up the journey with overnight stops in La Serena (second oldest city in Chile), Bahia Inglesa (beaches, penguins, and natural park), and Angofagosta (mining heritage). We'll get to San Pedro de Atacama (in the middle of the driest place in the world) and then I'll stay there for 4/5 days. Then I bus all the way back down to Santiago, a journey that will take about 24 hours.

"Semi-Cama" seats: 2nd class on coaches
An interesting point is that Chile has a really good bus network, and a very poor rail network. Although trains allegedly go down to Puerto Montt, in the South, I can't actually seem to find any information about these, and the only main train route is around the Santiago metropolitan area. Buses are the way to get around. There's a huge coach network, which is really very good; the coaches are safe, comfortable, and relatively quick. Also, unlike anything else in Chile, they actually have a timetable which they run to. The best company seems to be TurBus, which has routes country-wide, and also goes into Bolivia, Argentina and PerĂº - a safe bet for my journey. Plus, tickets are cheap: San Pedro to Santiago is costing me $18,000 pesos, which is around £25. Not bad for that big a journey, in seats comparable to business class flying.

I might not have very much internet access throughout the journey, but I'll post photos and info on here when I can.

(PS. Well done Penny for finishing the LifeCycle ride - Britain is a long country to bike all the way down!)

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