Chile
Antofagasta

Here you’ll find travel reports about Antofagasta. Discover travel destinations in Chile of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

172 travelers at this place:

  • Day48

    Der Nachtbus nach San Pedro de Atacama war ganz ok, die Mitinsassen eigentlich auch. Ein kleiner Junge musste kotzen, sass aber im oberen Stock, somit ok für uns. Kriegt halt mal niemand sein Fett weg und dieser Footprint dient auch wieder in erster Linie der Dokumentation unserer Reiseroute. So trocken wie hier ist es übrigens nirgends sonst auf der Welt. Interessant, das Bier ist trotzdem kühl. Und lange bleiben wir ja eh nicht. Schon am nächsten Morgen geht es mit 4x4 für drei Tage durch diverse Wüsten nach Uyuni in Bolivien.Read more

  • Day28

    So langsam wird uns klar - eine Nebelwüste unterscheidet sich deutlich von der richtigen Wüste! Heute fuhren wir zuerst etwas weg vom Meer und dann wuchs da während 2 Stunden Autofahrt kein einziger Grashalm mehr am Strassenrand. Vorbei am riesigen Observatorium alles Richtung Stadt Antofagasta. Der Sternenhimmel ist unglaublich - leider lässt er sich mit unseren Natels ohne Stativ nicht so wirklich festhalten.
    ☆Highlight des Tages: Fajitas mit Sicht aufs Meer.
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  • Day29

    Heute besuchten wir Chacabuco, das auf dem Weg nach Calama in der Wüste liegt.
    Es ist die besterhaltenste Salpeter-Geisterstadt dieser Region. Der Zufahrtsweg darf nicht verlassen werden, es liegen drumherum eingezäunte Minenfelder.
    Chacabuco war eine typische Industriestadt der Pampa und bestand aus dem Industriegelände, einem Wohnbereich und sozialer Infrastruktur (Theater, Schule, Sportanlage, Krankenhaus,...). Einst lebten mehr als 5'000 Menschen hier.
    1940 wurde Chacabuco wegen der Absatzflaute verlassen, 1972 wurde es unter Denkmalschutz gestellt und von 1973 bis 1975 unter Pinochet als KZ genutzt.
    Dieser Ausflug war sehr eindrücklich und hat sich voll und ganz gelohnt!
    Tausend Fotos später gings dann nach Calama auf einen "Campingplatz" - Tolle Anlage, nur hat es keine Plätze für Camper oder Zelte... jäno... so schlafen wir auf dem Parkplatz und können den Pool und die Sanitären Anlagen nutzen und mal wieder waschen.
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  • Day30

    Richtung Norden - Ziel

    April 8 in Chile

    Heute nehmen wir es mal wieder gemütlich. Die Sonne heizt tagsüber zünftig ein, so geniessen wir Sonne und Pool im Calama, kochen Indisch und fahren gut eine Stunde nach San Pedro. Kurz vor der Ankunft ein kleiner Fotostopp, dann zum Camping und erneut gemütliches Chillen am Pool.

  • Day27

    Aufgewacht im schönen Örtchen Bahía Inglesa störten die Bauarbeiten leider die Strandidylle. So fuhren wir gegen mittag los zum Parque National Pan de Azúcar. Wir erhofften uns, ein Guanaco zu sichten - doch mit den Tieren haben wir leider kein Glück. Wir fuhren erneut Stunden durch unbewohnte Wüste und sind fasziniert von all den Farben und Formen, die diese karge Landschaft zu bieten hat. Auf einer vorgelagerten Insel bei Lobera entdeckten wir Mähnenrobben - hier stimmt der Tipp aus dem Reiseführer endlich mal!
    Am späteren Nachmittag kamen wir dann bei Cifuncho am Strand an.
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  • Day4

    Gourmet Food in Atacama

    February 19 in Chile

    This post is for the foodies.

    After a long day, we decided to head to the “best restaurant” in San Pedro de Atacama. It is called Baltinache, and it is just outside of town. I assure you that no one would just happen upon this place, as it is down a bunch of desolate streets, in the middle of nowhere. But, with my trusty guide at my side, we ventured on. When we finally found the place, they asked if we had a reservation, which was surprising, as the place was pretty empty. As we waited, we noticed that many of the tables had signs on them, which we concluded meant that the tables were reserved. But, they found us a table.

    We started with a Pisco Sour Rica Rica. This is a Chilean Pisco Sour (no egg whites), which is sprinkled with rica rica, which is a green plant that grows locally. Quite yummy and refreshing.

    Next, we had some type of local biscuit, and a mixture of tomatoes, garlic, onions — rather like a salsa. it is served everywhere, and people usually put butter on the bread first. Imagine a bruschetta, but without the grilling.

    The rest of the menu was essentially fixed, with two options for each of three courses.

    For the first course we both choose a quinoa salad, which had smoked salmon, goat cheese, and small pieces of apples and pickles. It looked beautiful, but there was just too much going on. The pickles, in particular, were totally out of place.

    For the second course, we choose two options. Arie had pork ribs, with chimicurri sauce and roasted potatoes. The ribs were overdone, and a little bland. I had fish kebabs with three kinds of fish, puréed pumpkin, and fava beans. It was served with a mustard sauce that had some type of fruit (I didn’t catch the type.). It was tasty, although one kind of fish would have been sufficient.

    For dessert, Arie had a Bavarian cream with “red fruit” (berries). It was quite refreshing. I had a brownie, with a quinoa caramel filling — it was terrible (dry and tasteless).

    The service was kind, but inattentive, which is par for the course in Chile.

    But, the total bill, including drinks and service was $60. All in all, not bad for a little place in the middle of the desert.
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  • Day4

    Late last night we arrived in the Atacama Desert — which required a two hour flight from Santiago, and then a drive of an an hour and a half.

    The flight was actually interesting, as the vast majority of the passengers were men from the age of 20-50. It seems that the city of Calama, into which you fly, is very near a large copper mine. The men work shifts of 7-10 days, and then fly home to be with their families. I suspect that the job probably pays well, but the life is likely brutal.

    The drive to San Pedro de Atacama was unremarkable, as it was basically dark for the most of the drive. As we arrived in the “town,” I was surprised at how basic it was — adobe buildings, and dirt roads. A paved street is a relative rarity. The whole reason for the town’s existence is to give tourists access to the incredible natural wonders in the area, as the Atacama Desert is one of the driest locations on earth.

    We are staying a nice hotel called Terrrantai, just off the center of the town. Actually, in any other location, the hotel would have seemed wildly overpriced for what you got. But, given that everything needs to be shipped in, and the town is very small, a quiet place to rest, on comfortable beds, with a wine and cheese hour seems beyond civilized!

    In the morning, we rose before dawn, as we were being picked up at our hotel between 6:30 and 7:00 am. The van arrived at 6:45, and we boarded with a dozen other people who looked bleary-eyed, but excited. Thus began our 12 hour journey into the desert.

    We started at Salar de Atacama, which is the second largest salt flat in the world — 200 kilometers by 90 kilometers. It beautiful, in a moonscape sort of way. It is also the home to both Chilean and Andean Flamingos. You can tell the difference between the two because the Andean flamingos walk in a straight line and dredge up the water and disturb the brine shrimp that they eat, while the Chilean flamingos walk in a circle. Of course, the Chileans say that their flamingos “dance!” In either case, the flamingos are beautiful, and if you are fortunate enough to see them fly, they are stunning. (I must admit, the sight of the flamingos was not as stunning as when Ogen took us to see flamingos outside of Merida, Mexico, but it was still pretty cool.).

    After staring at the flamingos, we walked through the salt fields. The ground looks like snow, rather than salt, but I assure you that a small taste of the crystals confirms that it is salt.

    Then, our tour guide fed us a lovely breakfast of bread,cheese and avocados. So much for avocado toast being the province of hipsters and foodies!
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  • Day5

    In the afternoon we took a tour that featured beautiful vistas, hiking, climbing down enormous sand dunes, and a nice sunset.

    First stop was Piedra del Coyote, which features a rock overhang that looks like it comes from the roadrunner/coyote cartoons. Unfortunately, an earthquake has recently cracked the rock, so you are no longer allowed to walk out on the ledge. But, I thought that the real point of interest was the incredible vistas. From this plateau, you can see at least a dozen peaks in the Andes. Most of these are extinct volcanos, although a few have been active in the last ten years. The nearest peak is Licancabur. The farthest peak that you can see is Llullaillaco (the “ll” is pronounced liked a “j”), which is 143 miles way and the second highest active volcano in the world. Even though it is 143 miles away, it seems much closer, which is due to both the geography (very flat between here and the peak) and the crystal clear air quality.

    Second stop was Mars Valley, which is also called Death Valley. This is a valley, which has been caused by erosion. You start at a road beyond the edge of the valley and hike up to the rim. Again, while the distance is relatively trivial, the thin air makes the “hike” a bit of a challenge. (One of our group actually had some altitude sickness, which made me feel lucky to only be suffering from shortness of breath.). Once you get to the top, you hike around the rim and admire the vistas.

    As we walked, we also had a chance to see an Apacheta, which is an Incan pile of stones in honor of the Patcha Mama (Mother Earth). These Apachetas marked the Inca trail, which wound from town to town throughout the empire. As a traveler came to a pile, the traveler spit out his chewed coca leaves onto the pile of rocks (some of the Apachetas still have green leaves visible), picked up a stone, circled the pile three times and then laid down the stone. Laying the stone down brought the traveler’s life force to the stone pile.

    After walking for about 30 minutes, we climbed over the ledge into an enormous sand dune. According to Dr. Science, the dune slopes down 100 meters, which is the equivalent of a 20 story building. A few hardly souls ran down. The rest of us did a fast walk, which was actually incredibly fun. By the time I hit the bottom, my shoes were filled with sand, and there was an enormous grin on my face.
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  • Day6

    Brrrr . . . Cold all day

    February 21 in Chile

    Pick up in the hotel lobby at 5 am. Seriously? I was assured that seeking the Tatia Geyers was worth getting up literally before the crack of dawn. So, I stumbled out of bed, bleary eyed, threw on every piece of clothing that might possibly keep me warm and made my way to the lobby.

    We were picked up at 5:05 and climbed into a van. We spent the next 30 minutes winding our way through the streets of San Pedro, picking up fellow travelers at different hotels. One couple was a no-show, or maybe the guide just couldn’t find them. Hard to say, although there were many calls back to the office, before Rodrigo announced that they were a no show. So, we were off, as the goal was to get the geyser fields before the sun rose.

    We drove up into the Andes. It was pitch black outside, and I could already tell that it must be incredibly cold outside, as I could feel it through the window of the van. After about an hour an a half, we arrived at the National Park. The sky was just starting to lighten and there were lots of buses, and tons of people. Our guide, Rodrigo, told us that the Tatio Geyers are the third largest geyser fields in the world, behind Yellowstone (no. 1) and someplace in Russia. While I am not one to say that everything is bigger and better in the U.S. of A., I must tell you that after seeing Yellowstone, these geysers were extremely disappointing. Also, because the sun was just rising, and we were at 14,050 feet, it was freezing cold. I was wearing everything that I had that might keep me warm, including a cheap pair of gloves that I’d bought in San Pedro. But, it was far from enough, as it was about 20 degrees outside. We walked around for about 30 minutes, and then I climbed into the van to warm up. Arie eventually enticed me to leave the van with an offer of eggs that had been cooked on a little camping stove and hot tea. With a little warm food in my body, I felt better. While we stood around, a couple from England asked our guide why all of the tour groups went to see the geysers at the crack of dawn. He gave an explanation about being able to see the steam clouds best at dawn. But, by that point, it was pretty sunny and you could see the vents just fine. I think that the real reason is that this lets the tour companies run a morning tour and an afternoon tour. Oh well.

    Next stop was a “pool” at the hot springs. Arie and I decided not to shed our clothes, and instead walked through the nearby geyser field. While this field still didn’t hold a candle to Yellowstone, I thought that it was nicer that the first one at which we’d stopped.

    On our way back to town, we got to see some flora and fauna — a lagoon with coots and Chilean geese, wild vicuña on the hills, and an animal that looked like a rabbit but is actually a viscacha. The coot was pretty interesting to watch, as it we could see it building its nest in the water. This is done to protect the eggs from foxes, and because the grasses combine with some enzyme to create a reaction that generates heat in the cold winter months.

    Not too surprisingly, when we got back to the hotel, we settled in for a well-deserved nap!

    For the evening, we had a star gazing tour scheduled. We were supposed to be picked up at 8:40. But, by 7 pm, the sky was grey and covered with clouds. We were pretty skeptical about seeing any stars, but there was no message from our tour guide, so we once again put on all of our warm clothes and prepared for our pick-up.

    Jorge, who runs the stargazing company, is a one man operation. He books the tours, he drives the van, and then he gives a long lecture about the stars and planets. (The only thing he doesn’t do is prepare and serve the snack, which is his wife’s domain.). As people piled into the van, everyone asked whether there would be anything to see, given the cloud cover. He was very coy with this answer, and told people to get into the van. When we had a full compliment of 13, he headed to the outskirts of town. When we arrived at his property, he told us that the cloud cover was currently making it impossible to see anything, but that might change. He said that his suggestion was that he’d start with an astronomy lecture of 1-3/4 hours, and if the clouds were still covering everything, he’d feed us a snack, and take us back to the hotel, no charge. If the clouds cleared, we could have the star tour. He asked what we all thought, but since we were already at his house, what choice did we really have? Of course, everyone said, sure, why not . . .

    We got out the van and entered into a fenced yard. Once our eyes acustomed to the dark, we could see about a dozen (maybe more, it was dark) telescopes of different shapes and sizes, some chairs with blankets over them, and heaters. We started by looking at moon, which was quite beautiful. Using the telescopes he had, we could see craters and mountains. After looking at the moon in a variety of telescopes, we all settled in for the lecture. Jorge is an accomplished amateur astronomer, and for almost 2 hours we learned about the stars, and the history of astronomy. Some of it was very interesting, and some not so much. As we sat, the clouds seemed to cover the entire sky, including the moon which he had earlier been able to see. I was pretty darn skeptical that we were going to be able to see anything. Then, as the temperature dropped, and dropped, some of the clouds disappeared. The longer he talked, the clearer the sky became. And, by the time he was done, there was not a cloud in the sky — unbelievable. What there was, however, was the Milky Way, clear as a bell to the naked eye. With the telescopes, we saw stars, nebula, the sombrero galaxy, and Jupiter with three of its moons. Super duper cool. But, by the time were were done, it was 1 am and I was once again, freezing.

    A good day, but boy was I cold!
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  • Day4

    After leaving the Salt Flats, we got back in the van and wound our way further into the Andes. As you climb in altitude, the thin air makes you incredibly tired. I had a hard time keeping my eyes open, as did many of the other passengers in the van. So, I have no idea whether we drove 10 minutes or an hour . . .

    But, our next stop was Aguas Caliente, which was a large body of water which is apparently shallow and not hot at all. At some point in time it was hot, however, as it was fed by some type of hot spring. The view was both beautiful and desolate.

    We continued to wind our way into the mountains, stopping at various vistas to admire the view. And, after quite a few hours in the van, we arrived at Laguanas Miscanti and Mineques — two large bodies of fresh water that are fed by melted snowfall from the volcanic peaks directly behind them. We got out of the van, and our guide said that we had the option of hiking from one lake to another, or walking around a bit and then driving to the second lake. Everyone opted to walk, as the guide said that it was only 40 minutes, and that only one part of the walk was a bit of a hill. Of course, what he neglected to mention is that we were at almost 14,000 feet. So, while the distance was trivial, the air is incredibly thin. (According to my own personal Dr. Science, there is 40% less oxygen at this elevation than at sea level. From a practical perspective, the air feels thick and your lungs burn with even the most minor exertion.). The walk was incredibly beautiful, but most of us walked very slowly, particularly on the uphill slope! Thank goodness that we had the excuse of taking pictures, as that gave everyone an opportunity to also catch their breath.

    After our stroll, we were treated to lunch al fresco — bread, cheese, sliced meats, tomatoes, cucumbers and smoked mussels. Arie and I like the smoked mussels, which they eat with a squeeze of fresh lemon!

    We then headed down the mountain. But, our guide had one more stop — the sign marking the Tropic of Capricorn. At this point you are on same latitude as Namibia Desert and the Australian outback. I got a real kick out of taking Arie’s picture at the sign.
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Antofagasta

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