We had some lofty goals of trekking through Lauca and Las Vicunas National Parks, but realized that we cannot do everything and headed straight to Peru.
The last stop in Chile was only 25km from the Peruvian border. Arica is a cute little beach town surrounded by sand dunes and provided us lots of sun and relaxation – quite the treat from a couple travelers leaving the Patagonian cold and headed for the altitudes of Peru. We stayed in a quaint, comfortable hostel owned by a Kiwi and his Colombian wife. They really outdid themselves with their hospitality and amazing all-you-can-eat breakfasts. We met some other travelers and received some good advice about traveling in Peru and Ecuador. Since we did not eat nearly enough seafood, for which Chile is famous, we hit up the local fishmarket on the wharf (somewhat afterhours) and snagged ourselves some delicious albacore steaks. We also spotted some hungry sea lions off the docks and some of the most gigantic pelicans ever.