After a 10 hour bus ride with a crappy bus company (Tur Bus), we arrived in the small port city of Caldera in the Atacama region. We hadn’t booked a hotel in advance so we walked around and found a place that had a room available. There were a couple of places we wanted to visit in the area so we decided to stay for a few days.
Bahia Inglesa was 10 minutes away and it was easy to take a collectivo there from the main square in Caldera. The beach road had cute restaurants and little hotels, and the beach was nice here too. Many Chileans and Argentines spend their vacations here. We tried to stay here as well but everything was booked.
We booked a tour for the next day and visited a few different sights in the area. One place that surprised us was Puerto Viejo. It’s a beach side shanty town where people have built little wooden houses to use as vacation homes. No one purchased land here so they are basically squatters. We saw a few places like this along the Chilean coast. We were surprised that people are allowed to do this in a country that we thought was more progressive in South America.
We saw some interesting landscapes on our way to the beach. The Atacama Desert is quite amazing!
Our last stop of the day was at a beautiful remote beach called Playa La Virgen, we enjoyed several hours lounging here.
The next day we visited Pan de Azucar National Park. It was beautiful and it had such varied landscapes. On our way there we stopped to see some bizarre geological formations.
We even saw Humboldt Penguins and Sea Lions!
Our tour guide Marcella was incredible and I have never seen a guide go above and beyond for her group like she did. She wanted to drive us up to a viewpoint and the park official wouldn’t let us through. He said we could hike up but we didn’t have time for that because it was the end of the day. She called the head park official and we could see that there was a lot of talking and hand motions going on, and then finally we were let through. The views were amazing!
We had such a great group of people with us that day, 3 lovely ladies from Argentina, and a nice young couple from Brazil.
In the morning we were off again, on a bus to La Serena. We spent a couple of nights to break up the travel time from Caldera to Santiago and we’re glad we stopped in. La Serena is a very pretty city!
I found Pisco Sour icecream in La Serena – yummy!
They also had a really great vegetable market here.
After another lengthy bus ride, we arrived without incident to Santiago. It was so hazy due to the bad wildfires in the south and we were glad to only be staying one night and then flying on to La Paz, Bolivia.
The coast of Chile was beautiful and it still remains kind of wild and remote. It was a nice way to end our time in Chile.
Where we stayed in Caldera: Hotel Bahia Caldera 👎
Where we stayed in La Serena: Hostal Valle Mistral 👍
Where we stayed in Santiago: Diego De Almagro 👍
Written by: Tammy Hermann…Live~Love~Travel