Disappearing into the Atacama Desert

Day 1: Picking up Wicked Van, Laguna Chaxa

We arrived at the Wicked offices to pick up our van at 10:30am. There were a few people ahead of us in line finishing up their paperwork, so it took us a little while to get on the road. After signing the documents, verifying the condition of our camper, double checking the checklist, and snagging a few essential free items: sleeping bag, pillow cutting board, extra dishwater, we were off. Our first stop was the grocery store to stock up on food for at least the next day. The second stop was the gas station to fill up the camper and the 20-liter jerrycan we had been given just in case. There is only one gas station in the desert, in San Pedro, so you have to come back to town to get gas, and we definitely did not want to run out. With that, we were off on our adventure heading towards Laguna Chaxa.

Our van for four days – lovingly nicknamed “Milkshake”
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San Pedro de Atacama

We have a week before we need to be in Bolivia for our WWOOFing post, so we decided to go back to Chile to explore the Atacama desert for a few days. There are three bus companies: Pullman Bus, Andesmar, and Gemini, that each run three trips to and from Atacama per week. The bus costs 1600 pesos ($42.11) per person no matter which company you go with. We took a 7am bus on Friday morning with Pullman Bus. The bus ride was uneventful, but our arrival in Chile was marked by some of the now familiar challenges of exploring a new place.

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Mirador Cerro Dorotea

We decided to hike up to the Mirador Cerro Dorotea which boasts spectacular views. We had deciphered from TripAdvisor reviews that the taxi would cost roughly 7000 pesos each way and the entrance fee would be 5000 per person. We decided to walk there and taxi back to save our pesos for something more interesting. The walk just to get to the hike was about 5.5 miles, but it gave us an opportunity to see more of the scenery of the surrounding area and we weren’t in a hurry. 

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