A Travellerspoint blog

Arica, Chile

Sun, sea, sand and surf in the driest city in the world.

semi-overcast 24 °C

So we got the bus, we got cama seats again, it was rather swish, with black leather seats and blankets. All good, we arrived in Arequipa at 6am, where we had to wait until 7:30am to get our connection. No one warns you how much time you will spend waiting for blooming buses, and how much longer you will spend on them! The next bus wasn't quite so nice, and a much longer journey ahead than we expected. We were sat right at the front, so had an amazing view, but no leg room and no side window to open (when the buses say they have air con, do not believe them! They lie!) As the day wore on, the sun really blazed and we moved further back to get some breeze from an open window.

We arrived in Tacna at 4pm, and decided that we had had enough of buses for one day and jumped into a taxi collectivo (shared taxi) to take us the hour and half journey across the border. I'd so recommend doing this, it's not much more expensive and our driver was great, especially at the Chilean border. Then again in Arica, put us in another taxi to take us to our hostel.

We stayed in the Arica Surf hostel which was beyond cool. The rooms were spacious and clean, with duvets instead of horrid itchy blankets. The kitchen was huge and there was an outside TV area, surrounded by surf boards and people that were there just for the waves, which are apparently best in July. We chose Arica as it is the driest city in the world (no rain, whoop!) and has a spring like climate all year round. I really fancied a day on the beach catching some sun. We did go to the beach, but we managed to be in Arica for 4 days and didn't see any blooming sun! Uncharacteristically overcast for the entire time we were there, although not cold by any means.

It was such a chilled out place, definite seaside vibe, and we noticed straight away how much more organised and friendly Chile seemed. People were actually really helpful everywhere we went. Although Chilean Spanish is a language all in itself....they spoke so so fast, punctuated by so much slang. We didn't stand a chance, and on more than a few occasions stood looking gormless when people spoke to us!

We spend over half of one day trying to plan our route down to Santiago, we were running short of time and wanted to spend a few days in the Capital. Flights were cheap, but only if you had a Chilean credit card. That was the only payment method they accepted, the buses were quite expensive, especially in comparison to Peru and Bolivia. All the cama seats were sold out of the next few weeks, so we had to book a semi-cama seat. For a 35 hour bus trip. In one go. 35 hours!!

We reluctantly got onto our bus, armed with books, iPods and enough food to feed an army. Santiago better be worth it!

Posted by Big Adventure 22:30 Archived in Chile Tagged sea taxi surf bus sun arica collectivo.

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