San Pedro - Altiplano Lagoons

Trip Start May 12, 2013
Trip End Jul 30, 2013

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Flag of Chile  , Calama,
Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Got up at 5.30am, and picked up the 'packed breakfast' which our hostel has kindly provided for our morning tour. There was a ham and cheese sandwich, 2 cereal bars, yoghurt and juice. How thoughtful!

The same guide who did our tour yesterday came to pick us up at 6am. We drove around a little more than an hour for breakfast at a small village. Bread with avocados and eggs. After the break, we continued towards our first stop in the Los Flamingoes national park. It took almost another hour uphill to get there. The guide dropped us off and we walked a short trail to see the majestic Laguna Misconti. On the side paths were yellow weeds, and in front of us was a large frozen lagoon that reflected the mountains behind it. Walked along the marked path to admire the beauty of the lagoon.

Just across a small hill was the Lagoon Miniatures. It paled in comparison with the other, but there were wildlife here. Far from us we could see herds of mythical Vicuñas, as well as a protected black bird which builds its nest from beneath the water's surface.

After this, we drove an hour to the Salar de Atacama. After seeing Salar de Uyuni, this was a huge disappointment. The salt flats, aren't exactly flats. It looked like a wasteland, filled with salt like minerals which weren't pure white in color. They looked like ashes really. The only saving grace were some flamingoes in the lake in the middle of the Salar. The clear water reflected their bending postures.

After this we drove to Toconao, a village 30 mins from San Pedro to see a church and bell tower made of Cactus wood from the 1700s. It was kinda lame really.

On our way back to San Pedro, the minivan had a flat tyre, and we waited for a bus to come pick us up. It came fast, thankfully, as we broke down just outside of town. The same tour van would be used for our tour in the afternoon, and we were told it would be cancelled, to our relief. We were too tired to go on another tour, and the lagoons, save the first one, ain't that amazing.

We went back to the hostel and cancelled our last tour and got a refund. Lazed around for abit, before heading out to buy bus tickets to the airport tomorrow. Shopped abit on our way back and bought some jewellery, and had some good ice cream. It was getting dark and we headed out to find a good restaurant for dinner to celebrate Sheila's 21st. We settled for a posh local joint and I had an interesting 'lagsana' like dish that was made with corn paste, chicken strips and minced meat. We planned a small surprise with a brownie cake towards the end. Restaurant guests were cooperative and clapped along. Somehow the brownie didn't end up on the bill as well.

Went back to pack our luggages. Final flight in South Am tomorrow!

San Pedro de Atacama, Chile
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