4 countries in 4 days

Trip Start Jan 14, 2010
Trip End Sep 11, 2010

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Flag of Chile  ,
Saturday, June 26, 2010

After another night in La Paz and our first in a bed for three days we got on a bus for the town of Arica in northern Chile to begin our journey up the coast back to Lima and on to Colombia. The views coming through the Andes from Bolivia to Chile were incredible and the border post of Chungara must have some of the most fantastic scenery of any border post in the world. One night in Arica ticked the Chile box and the following day we got in a taxi to head across the border for the southern Peruvian town of Tacna . It was in a shared taxi that we met a really friendly Chilean family who were going shopping in Peru for the day. Unfortunately their six-year old boy was refused entry into Peru by an officious Chilean who claimed the boy needed a passport to cross (even though they had taken him over numerous times before with no problem). We ended up heading into Peru with the dad, who quite enjoyed the freedom of being on his own and was jokingly shouting ‘libre!’ in the taxi. When we got to Tacna he insisted on taking us out for lunch so we hung out for a couple of hours, and although his non-existent English and our broken Spanish didn’t make communicating easy it was enjoyable none-the-less.

From Tacna we moved up to Huacachina, a small town in the Peruvian desert centred on a natural oasis and surrounded by huge sand dunes. We spent just one day and night in the town, taking a tour into the desert to go sand boarding. Sand boarding was great fun, but riding in the dune buggy was probably more fun, bouncing over dunes at 90kmh. I screamed like a girl, definitely reaching a higher pitch than Rhi. There were two ways to get down the dunes. Try proper standing-up sand boarding or go down on your belly and risk paralysis. We both went down a couple of times on our front, but decided to try it standing-up when one of the girls in our group went too fast and ended up eating a large quantity of sand, accompanied by quite a few tears. With health and safety non-existent, the buggy driver just laughed rather than rush to her assistance. She didn’t go down any more of the dunes, but thankfully was ok, and we decided to take the safer option from then on. Having never seen the desert, it was an incredible sight, especially at sunset and well worth the rush job it took to get to Huacachina. The following day it was on to Lima and a flight to Bogota, Colombia.
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