Chile
Chinchorro

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  • Day15

    Chilean highlands

    January 18, 2018 in Chile ⋅ ☁️ 23 °C

    It took a little convincing from Jeff, but we took an excursion into the Chilean Highlands yesterday. My hesitation came from the fact that it was a 3 hour ride each way to an elevation of 12,000 feet. Now come on, we’ve all seen those pictures of buses dropping off roads in South America, but I must admit that it was a pretty decent road. That certainly did not take away from the drama of the incredible landscape.
    This area of Chile is just south of the border from Peru and the Bolivian border is just to the east - Chile is skinny like a chili pepper! This region has a population density of 1 person per 30 square kilometers and that includes the city of Arica which is 160,000. In other words, it is pretty desolate. By the way, the second largest town is population 1,000. It is also the second driest populated place on earth at 1/2 millimeter of rain per year-that isn’t even what we would call a trace!
    In 1868, a magnitude 9 earthquake struck the area killing 70,000 people. Between the earthquake and the ensuing 2 tsunami waves (the second one was 90’ high), the city was literally reduced to rubble, the waves then washing everything away, including any remaining foundations.
    We saw some fabulous geoglyths that are about 170’ tall and we’re done between 100BC and 1500AD. There is very little know about why they were done, but they have found around 17,000 of them throughout this region.
    As we were driving into the Andes mountains on a 2 lane road, passing other vehicles in our bus, our guide mentioned that they experience earthquakes here about once per week! It took everything I had not to ask if the last one was yesterday or a week ago.
    We drove through an incredibly dry valley that was followed by a more lush area that looked up at 2 snow-capped dormant Taapaca volcanoes. The town of Putre, founded in 1580, lies in a shallow valley at about here at 12,000’ of elevation. There’s not too much air to breathe here!
    We had a wonderful lunch at the Canta Verde which served Pebre which is the Chilean version of what we would call Pico de Gallo. Jeff enjoyed it more than everyone else and they brought him an additional plate of it! They use it as a condiment for soups, meat and bread. Also, I was searching for a bathroom and was excited to recall my high school Spanish class to say “Donde esta el bano?” What a thrill - I was speaking fluent Spanish!
    We have 2 sea days before arriving in Valparaiso, Chile for some Chilean wine-tasting. Our captain has informed us that the waves are building and there will be some “pitching and groaning” tomorrow. Never a dull moment!
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  • Day96

    Grenzübertritt Chile und Arica

    November 20, 2019 in Chile ⋅ ⛅ 21 °C

    Und dann kommt es doch wie es kommen soll...Bolivien ist definitiv nicht bereisbar.
    also machen wir uns auf den Weg nach Chile, für gewöhnlich fahren Überlandbusse in Lateinamerika auch über Grenzen und man muss nur kurz für eine Kontrolle aussteigen. Nicht so von Peru nach Chile, die Busse fahren nur bis nach Tacna was noch in Peru liegt und dann wird es etwas abenteuerlich. Wir werden von privaten Fahrern im PKW über die Grenze gebracht und in Arica (Chile) rausgelassen, hier wollen wir ein paar Tage bleiben und einiges organisieren und planen.

    Chile ist im vergleich zu Peru ein ordentlicher Sprung, man merkt sofort, dass Chile viel weiter entwickelt ist und der Lebensstandard hier viel höher ist. Leider kriegen wir auch die Schattenseiten Chiles zu sehen. Wir stehen gegen 23 Uhr etwas verloren in der Innenstadt von Arica, der Fahrer wollte uns auf Grund von Protesten nicht weiter fahren.

    Irgendwie sind wir denkbar schlecht vorbereitet, haben nicht daran gedacht, dass zwischen Peru und Chile 2 Stunden Zeitunterschied sind, so versetzen wir ungewollt unsere Gastgeberin. Ebenfalls haben wir kein Geld für ein Taxi, die Banken sind wegen den Protesten verbarrikadiert und man kommt an keinen Geldautomaten ran.
    Zum Glück finden wir einen netten Taxifahrer der schmunzelnd auch unser restliches peruanisches Geld nimmt.

    Unsere Gastgeberin warten schon auf uns und wir sind locker 4 Stunden zu spät dran.
    Mit etwas schlechten Gewissen und noch schlechterem Spanisch versuchen wir zu erklären was passiert ist. Uns knurrt der Magen und es gibt im Viertel nichts mehr wo wir was zu essen bekommen können und dann kommen dir doch in den Genuss der chilenischen Gastfreundschaft. Veronica, unsere Gastgeberin, und ihr Freund wechseln uns Geld, bestehen darauf uns zum nächsten Imbiss zu fahren und kümmern sich rührend um die etwas verlorenen Gringos.

    In Chile fühlt sich alles viel mehr an wie in Europa. Die Einkaufszentren haben europäischen Standard und leider auch die Preise, es fahren viel weniger Schrottkarren rum und man sieht den einen oder anderen Sportflitzer. Hier wird mir dann auch klar, dass bald Weihnachten ist, irgendwie weihnachtet es für mich nicht wirklich bei 30 Grand im Schatten.
    Wir wohnen etwas außerhalb in einer Wohnanlage die etwas schicker ist als der Rest der Stadt, dafür haben wir einen Strand vor der Haustür. Wir verbringen die Tage damit den Rest der Reise für den Salzsee in Uyuni zu planen, Wein zu trinken und etwas zu entspannen.

    Nächste Destination San Pedro de Atacama....für das nächste Highlight!!!
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  • Day91

    !Adios¡ Auto

    May 11, 2019 in Chile ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    Als wir gegen den Abend in die Stadt Arica hineinfuhren, wehte uns ein übler Geruch entgegen. (Wir konnten nicht genau definiere was es war, nicht ganz frische Fische waren aber bestimmt dabei). Nicht gerade ein Willkommen, wie man sich das vorstellt. Für die letzten Nächte haben wir ein Airbnb gebucht. Nach Anfangsschwierigkeiten haben wir dann unsere Gastgeberin und damit auch die Hausschlüssel gefunden. Irgendwie hatte ich mir die Unterkunft anders vorgestellt. Aber zum Glück waren es nur drei Nächte und so hielt sich die Enttäuschung in Grenzen. Wir haben noch einige Dinge erledigt, wie Geld gewechselt, Busticket für Bolivien besorgt und und und. Das Auto haben wir gewaschen und sauber an Wicked Campers zurückgegeben. Wir erkannten unser Auto nach der gründlichen Reinigung kaum noch. Übrigens so unkompliziert war die Rückgabe eines Mietwagens noch nie. Sexy Kurt (wie er liebevoll von Wicked genannt wird) sah das Auto von aussen kurz an und meinte dann es sehe tiptop aus. Kurz noch das Deposit rückerstattet und das wars dann auch schon. Nach dem alles erledigt war, besuchten wir noch ein Museum und bekannte Höhlen. Bei letzterem konnten wir Seehunde und Eidechsen bewundern. Nun kann unsere Reise nach Bolivien starten.Read more

  • Day53

    Colcas

    November 21, 2017 in Chile ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

    A bit further in the valley, we stopped at the Colcas. These are underground holes that are were used to store grains and food items that the people from the valley used to get here to trade with the people from the highlands. They used holes in the ground lined with stones and them coated with clay. This used to work as a natural refrigerator and preserve the food for longer. One can still find preserved food items inside the Colcas.Read more

  • Day54

    Sunset at Chinchorro beach

    November 22, 2017 in Chile ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

    We sat at the beach till the sunset. After that, we walked 2 kms back to our hostel.
    At the hostel we got wifi again and did some research on what options we could have. We found 2 more car rentals on Google maps. We decided to check them out the next morning. If the prices were fine, we would rent the vehicles immediately.
    We also found out that Iquique, about 350 kms from here had lot more car rentals so if we didn't find a good option at the 2 rental companies in Arica, we would take the bus to Iquique and try our luck there with the car rentals.
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  • Day53

    Back in Arica

    November 21, 2017 in Chile ⋅ ☀️ 20 °C

    We were back in Arica around 3 pm. After having our lunch, we went to the city to check out the car rental options.
    We checked with Europcar, they had very good prices but no vehicles available for another 3-4 days.
    The wickedcampers turned out be just a pickup and drop point. They informed us to check their website. The prices there were too high. By now, it was late in the evening so we couldn't check anywhere else and the tourism office too was closed by now. We just decided to hang around in the city center and have some cakes before returning back to the hostel.Read more

  • Day54

    At the Chinchorro beach

    November 22, 2017 in Chile ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

    We walked the 2 kms from the town center to the Chinchorro beach. On the way, we passed the protected area for the turtles. We didn't see any turtles but saw 2 dead sea lion carcasses.
    At the beach, I sat out enjoying the waves and the soothing rhythm of the waves while Hristo decided to go for a swim.Read more

  • Day52

    Cathedral San Marcos

    November 20, 2017 in Chile ⋅ ☀️ 22 °C

    We took a break from the SIM card search and went to the San Marcos cathedral near the main square. Its a nice wooden cathedral with nice colors painted on giving it a gingerbread cookie house kind of a look 😁

  • Day52

    Mobile phone registration

    November 20, 2017 in Chile ⋅ ☀️ 22 °C

    We decided to go to the mobile phone registration office to get our phones registered to work in Chile. We weren't sure if that would work but one of the agents on one of the mobile operator shops told us about it. The building was right next to the coast. The office was on the 5th floor. There we found out that they had closed for the day and would open at 9 am the next day. It was 2:30 pm, so we decided to have some food and plan our next few days.Read more

  • Day54

    Fixing odds and ends

    November 22, 2017 in Chile ⋅ ⛅ 21 °C

    There were still a few odds and ends that needed to be fixed before we could move on so we decided to do those this day.
    First off was to find out the cost of the bus tickets to Iquique at the bus terminal opposite our hostel. This was to compare costs with the rental options. It turned out to be quite reasonable at between 6000 - 10000 CLP.
    The morning was a bit slow. We managed to get good wifi and spent the morning calling home etc.
    After that, we had our breakfast and then decided to go to the Ministry of Telecomunicaciones to register our phones. Phones bought outside of Chile don't work here according to a new legislation effective since a few days ago. Eventually, after trying all the operators, we had found out that we'll need to register the IMEI number of our phones at the Ministry of Telecomunicaciones to make it work. The office closes at 13:00 so that was our 1st destination for the day after the breakfast.
    On the way, we passed the local fish market where they were even selling Ceviche.
    At the Ministry of Telecom, we managed to find out that they don't do the registration and that we'll have to do it ourselves and submit all the required papers online.
    We sat at a cafe with wifi and did all the registration formalities. The website was all in Spanish, we needed to submit a screenshot of the phone IMEI, a picture of the phone with the IMEI number visible, copy of passport, copy of the immigration form etc before the application went through. Keeping our fingers crossed it will work now.
    By this time it was lunch hour so we had our food. After lunch, we checked at the other 2 car rental agencies. Klasse was closed due to vacations. Hertz had the had the vehicles but the vehicles available were the same we had got for the Salar de Uyuni and we were not too happy with its power and effectiveness. Plus, Hertz was almost double the cost of the Europcar quote.
    With no reasonable option and running out of things to do, it looked like we were stuck in Arica for some more time.
    Not having any other ideas, we realized that we had 20 min before the Tourist Information center would close. We had been there before, but due to the limited time of operations, we had always found them closed.
    We managed to walk the 2 kms in 5-6 min and reached before they closed for the day. Here, we finally found the lady at the counter spoke excellent English. She was able to help us with a lot of information and maps but didn't know any more tour operators or car rentals than we had already checked.
    Having run out of ideas and absolutely no plan or even option for a plan, we just decided to chill and go to the beach.
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Chinchorro

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