After a very long and boring bus journey I finally arrive in San Pedro de Atacama at 7:30pm to a pitch black tiny town in the middle of nowhere. Luckily there were two French travellers on the bus who had some sort of idea where the centre of town (and my hostel) were. I arrived to a decent hostel, Hostal Rural, and made some new friends which was a nice change of pace considering I hadn't spoken to anyone in 24 hours. We played beer pong but were in bed by 1pm.
My initial intention was to leave San Pedro the next day (01/05/2014) but due to strikes in Bolivia (striking because the government didn't want people drink driving!) I had to stay an additional day before going to Uyuni, Bolivia. San Pedro de Atacama is the driest place in the world. In some parts it hasn't rained in 200 years. I had booked into the Valle de la Luna tour which went to various areas around San Pedro with my new Dutch friend, Dylan. Amazing day, in and out of caves and looking over huge areas of land (see pics):
This was also my first encounter of either food poisoning or altitude sickness. I shall spare the details. As the day went on I felt signicantly better. In the evening we had booked into a star tour which was very different to the usual thing I'd choose to do. We saw Mars, Saturn and Jupiter through the $20,000 telescopes. The guide was very knowledgable and showed us different galaxies etc. By the time we got back (and half frozen, reached 0 degrees) I just wanted to sleep as the day of sickness had hit me.
This is now my last day in the desert. We decided (as the same group going to Bolivia) to cycle 16km to some lagoons (Laguna Cejar) in the middle of the Salar de Atacama. It took around an hour to get there in the heat. I've definitely found that at 2500m the air is dry and causes you to feel dehydrated constantly. Once we arrived we went round the lagoons and swam in one of them. Due to the high salt content we could float exactly like in the Dead Sea - very odd but very cool:
Now it's our last night in San Pedro but we're more than ready to leave after the hassle of getting out of here. Next stop, Bolivia!