Our time in Salta was pleasantly spent. On Sunday (May 23rd) we took the bus to San Pedro de Atacama, Chile. The road takes a pass over the Andes mountains which was 5,200 meters (17,100 feet). Being at such high altitude caused my stomach to rumble and tumble and I felt like I had a bayonet twirling around in there. Add to that a headache and difficulty breathing and it all adds up to a very miserable twelve hour bus ride. Thomas and his iron constitution did not have any trouble and pleasantly read his book during the bus ride.
After arriving at San Pedro we had to walk a bit into town from the customs station on the edge of town and got settled in to the Hostel International. San Pedro is a very cool little town with adobe buildings and dusty streets. The town and desert landscape is straight from the planet Tattoine (Star Wars). On Monday we did a tour to the Valley of the Moon, Tuesday a early morning (4AM) tour to the Geysers and Wednesday we did an all day tour to the Salama salt flats, some lakes & mountains and a caynon. After getting back to San Pedro at 6pm we hopped onto a bus and headed for Calama which is about an hour and a half away.
In Calama we checked out our bus options and found that there was a bus leaving at 9:30pm heading overnight to Arica, which is where we wanted to wind up. So we bought tickets from a little too friendly ticket agent and headed down the street to the local pub to kill the time before the bus. The bus ride went well and we got to Arica at 6am. After a quick taxi to the hotel we slept off the travel weariness and had a look around town. The plan from here is to head to Arequipa, Peru.