Islas Ballestas

The township of Pisco sits on the coast at the northern edge of Parque Nacional Parracas. We had heard that Islas Ballestas, an island that is part of this reserve, was well worth visiting, so we headed to Pisco to arrange a boat tour. 8.30am arrive in Pisco and park the cars. 8.31am we are... Continue Reading →

Into Bolivia

Leaving Calama, we headed north east through the desert for the border town of Ollague, Chile about 190km's away. The road was very good and there wasn't a cloud in the sky as we slowly climbed to about 4,000 metres. The desert kept changing from rocky to sandy, salt lakes dotting the landscape or running... Continue Reading →

Chuquicamata Mine

Chuquicamata copper mine is the world’s largest open pit copper mine. We took the opportunity to take a 3 hour tour of this mine which began at the very professionally organized Codelco visitor’s office in Calama. We duly demonstrated that we had water bottles, sunscreen, long sleeved shirts, long pants and covered shoes. We signed... Continue Reading →

Around San Pedro de Atacama

San Pedro's dusty streets and adobe buildings didn't look the best when we arrived in town. Huge amounts of rain had flooded the town four weeks before and the clean-up will continue for some time yet. A 400 year old adobe church with cactus wood ceiling beams seems to enjoy its place amongst the streets... Continue Reading →

Paso Agua Negra

North of Santiago, there are about a dozen places to cross the border between Chile and Argentina and all require some high altitude driving over the Andes. No more so than at the point we chose! Paso Agua Negra takes you up to almost 4800 metres and although some of our drives to date have... Continue Reading →

Pisco Elqui

We headed East where the hills turned to rocky, then bare brown grey mountains and the green-bottomed lush valleys between got bigger and bigger. Vineyards and various other fruit orchards adorned the valleys. This is where they grow the grapes that are made into the spirit Pisco which is used to make the sublimely refreshing... Continue Reading →

North from Valparaiso

North out of Valparaiso we drove the coast road for as long as we could, avoiding the main freeway North. The beaches and the surf get better and the holiday accommodation goes from high density concrete adjacent to the beaches to smaller neater (and probably more expensive) places amongst the hills. Turning off the coast... Continue Reading →

Colourful Valparaiso

From 'Lonely Planet' - Pablo Neruda said it best: 'Valparaiso, how absurd you are ... you haven't combed your hair, you've never had time to get dressed, life has always surprised you.'  Ravaged over the years by a variety natural disasters, this is one of those great cities to walk, and walk, and walk! I'll... Continue Reading →

One day in Santiago

Caught the rattly local bus into the city early and jumped on the funicular to Cerro San Christobel, getting views of this enormous city. Walked the streets to Estacion Mapocho, no longer in service as a train station but has been tastefully transformed into a performing arts space, retaining its grandeur and colourful past. Lunch... Continue Reading →

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