Day 2: San Pedro de Atacama, Chile
Valle de Luna / Valle de Muerte / Sunset
Lodging: Hosteling International – Caracoles 360 – 9.000 CLP/night ($18 CAD) without HI Discount (7.000 CLP with)
Hosteling International is a cute place right on the main strip. It is nothing special – except the SKY high – 3 tiered bunk beds crammed into a tiny room. I do not need a lot of space, and I am sharing the room with 3 Chileana girls, so everything is fine and dandy for me. Breakfast is included and is a simple bread and jam with tea/coffee.
I booked all my tours through Hosteling International as it was easiest and pretty much the same price as everywhere else. They had a discount if you bought 3 tours of 10%. Gave me this tour of Valle de Luna/Valle de Muerte for only $2.500 CLP ($5 CAD). Works for me.
You could do it cheaper to Valle de Luna-Valle de Muerte by renting a bike. But bikes cost about 5.000 CLP ($10 CAD) per day, and since the other locations in San Pedro basically REQUIRE a tour, I saved money and a scary after-sunset-darkness bike ride back to town.
The Tour ran from 16:00-20:30, so I wandered the city for the day. and by city, I mean village of about 10 streets. It is a beautiful little village though with small adobe houses, and a tourist shoppers paradise. I meandered through all the local stores and browsed all the beautiful quilts and clothes and other knick-knacks. I did´nt spent a dime. Be proud.
I visited the Museo Arqueologico, which was quite informative, with english cards around the museum if needed. But one disappointment, I went to the museum mainly to see the Mummys, which they are famous for, but was informed that the Mummys are not for public viewing. Thus, No mummys, or human sacrifices, for me.
Since I´m only resting here for the weekend, I bought my ticket to Salta, Argentina. Pullman Bus – 30.000 CLP ($60 CAD) for the 10 hour ride.
The Valle de la Luna/Muerte Tour started promptly at 16:00, it was in a giant yellow truck with about 13 People. Not too big not too small. Worked fine for me. Especially since we were allowed on the roof of the truck to take photos!
We did the classic Route through the National Park. Read about the Valle de la Luna here.
What is common sense but should be reaffirmed prior to departing into the desert: DO NO WEAR SANDELS THE SAND IS BURNING HOT!!
My common sense did not kick in, and I wore my sandels. I jumped from rock to rock until another woman took pity on me and gave me her socks. So yes I sported the unfortunate look of socks with sandels – BUT – my feet were safe from sand torture!