The total ride of 16h from La Serena to San Pedro de Atacama turned out to be a 19h waiting odysee. Both our buses were late and then the second had to stop because for some reason it wasn’t allowed to drive and we had to wait for a new one. So for some hours in the morning, after we woke up in the bus, this was our view with little to no change in the countryside:
The only change for a breef moment was the “Mano del desierto”, which we saw from the bus window just long enough to take a picture…
Finally we arrived after sunset in San Pedro de Atacama, found a hostal there and went out for dinner and drinks and visited the millions of tour opperators to find the best deal for tours around San Pedro (at the end we simply picked the cheapest because nearly all of them offered similar things). We booked two tours; one to the lagunas altiplanicos and the salt flat and the other to the Tatio Geysers.
The following day though we didn’t go on either of these tours, but instead rented bikes and cycled to the “Valle de la Luna” (which is 3km from San Pedro and to the end it’s 15km more).
Overall the Valle de la Luna shows some very awesome viewpoints and interesting rock and sand formations, e.g. the “Gran Duna”:
The “Amphi Theatre” and the name-giving, moon-like country side of this valley make it very spectacular and it’s definnitly woth visiting by bike to enjoy it appropriatly.
On the way to the end of the valley I found a little salt mine, licking the wall proofed it was real salt 😉
When we got to the end of the valley there was a very bouncy street that led 2km further to the bigger, main salt mine of the valley (all of which are abandonned now). And who would have know that we would find water in one of the driest deserts of the world:
That was the big salt mine at the end with some abandonned houses around. I went inside and found some very interesting salt structures (some cristal clear ones on the walls, some more or less fluffy building up from the ceilings and also some snow-white ones collecting on the floor).
The rest of the afternoon (the biking tour took 6h, from 11am-17pm) we spent in San Pedro drinking natural juices (which are normally kinda hard to come by in Chile) and visiting for example it’s church: