There is only one aspect we don’t like about Chile and that is saying a lot because we really like this country. Our money does not go very far here with prices akin to back home. Petrol is $1.70/litre while accommodation and food is generally on par. Compared to the neighbouring countries who have a lower standard of living, Chile comes at a price and we have been burning our remaining funds pretty quickly since our re-arrival.
We are still on the coast south towards Santiago, we stopped in the popular surfing tourist town of Iquique staying at a grungy beachside hostel and surprisingly not the oldest couple in the house amongst the younger surfing set ? Funnily these low cost hostels are also starting to appeal to the ‘grungy’ older adventure travellers like us ? Next day we put in a long ride bypassing the large coastal town of Antofagasta down to Taltal a nice smaller beachside town but struggled finding accommodation as the Chilean school holidays wind down in a week, wherever we went the price was the same ? When our accommodation is expensive we eat poorly, so it was toasted sangas for dinner from the hotel ‘restaurant’. This was in contrast to our hostel in Iquique which was cheap, so we lived it up with an expensive seafood feast !
We elected on another long ride the day after so from Taltal we bolted south along the dead pan PanAmerican highway, through more interesting desert than what we saw in Peru. Roadworks delayed us in several spots as the very perfect Chilean Transport Department constructed more perfect highways. One aspect many visitors to Australia acknowledge is our roadside Rest Stops and Chile is the only other country we have travelled which has something similar – they just don’t have garbage bins though… ?
We spotted a camping ground in our guide book in La Serena, but could we find it for the life of us ! Even their website had a vague address which Mr Garmin could not find, nor I, nor Gus and once again tempers flared on that one. While concurring (aka shouting) with each other outside a hosteria with cabana’s, Gus stormed in and surprisingly scored an apartment with kitchen for $47/night ! So we have decided to ‘camp’ here for the next 5 nights and chill out before heading back into Santiago for a two week stay while we prepare and sell our bikes.
‘Darling could you make me another pisco sour please’ ?