Today my cold is definitely getting better and not feeling as drained. Today’s mission was to take the metro to the bus station and get myself a ticket to my next destination.
I have been tossing up between Antofagasta, Calama and San Pedro de Atacama. I decided Antofagasta, although very beautiful looking and by the sea, was just another city. I thought San Pedro was very barren looking and didn’t think there would be a lot to do there. The great thing about staying in a hostel is the information you can pick up from both hostel staff and other travellers. I had pretty much decided to go to Calama until one of the girls in my dorm said to go to San Pedro de Atacama. I spoke to another traveller this morning, he said there is nothing to do at Calama and suggested I go to San Pedro de Atacama. It is the driest place on earth, being in the Atacama desert. He said you could spend a week there seeing the Valley of the Moon – a moon-like landscape with ruins of old Chilean salt mines, and worker huts, Death Valley – a valley where gigantic dunes and rocks abound, hot springs, geysers, salt caves and other sites. He showed me his photos and I was sold!
He drew me a map of the metro station I had to get off at (Estacion Central) and where I had to go to get my bus ticket. I get really nervous getting the metro because the people selling the tickets can never speak English. I also get worried about getting on the right train and getting off a the right station! However, it wasn’t as bad as the actual thought of it.
Found the bus ticket places and after firstly going to a wrong counter, I found the right counter. The man could speak a little English and the good thing is they show you the computer screen which makes it easier. I booked a ticket in a semi-cama (a semi reclining seat). It was 44,400 pesos (NZ$111). The cama (a full bed) was 56,000 pesos (NZ$140). It is something like a 24 hour trip and I may regret not spending the extra to get a cama.
Next was to book a hostel. Settled for Backpackers San Pedro. At 8,900 pesos (NZ$22) it is more expensive than the current 7,900 pesos (NZ$20). It doesn’t include breakfast or dinner that is included at Aji Hostel. I only had the option of a 6 bed mixed dorm…so there better not be any loud male snorers!