From South to North Chile by bus04/12/2011
Our original plan after our rest in Puerto Natales was to head to Argentina. We had been told by many (internet) sources that Argentina was going to be cheaper then Chile and this seemed like a good thing. We were going to head to the Lake District for a bit of trekking and then to Buenos Aires, then onto Uruguay for a bit of beach-time. So we got on a bus to Rio Gallegos (7hrs) full of hope and excitement.
We arrived in Argentina headed to the supermarket for cash and supplies before going back to the bus station for our tickets up to the Lake District. Well, to cut a long story short - Argentina has an annual inflation rate of over 200% so after a bit of internet research, chat with people in our hostel and much soul searching, we instead bought a ticket back to Chile and so began our long run north to Peru. Argentina (and Evita) will have to wait for another time.
Our journey now took us:
- - 28/11/11: Rio Gallegos back to Punta Arenas (6hrs) for one night back in our old hostel
- - 29/11/11: Punta Arenas to Osorno (28hrs)
- - 30/11/11: Beer, lunch and dinner in Osorno before catching the overnight bus to Santiago (12hrs) for one night
- - 02/12/11: Bus to Arica (30hrs) for one night
- - 04/12/11: 2 buses to eventually reach Arequipa in Peru (9hrs)
This has certainly not been the highlight of our trip so far. Far from it. We were very sad to feel we had to miss out on Argentina and the decision was hard to make but it was the prudent decision. We were also sad to feel that Chile wasn't what we had hoped South America would be. However, the Torres del Paine Circuit Trek in Patagonia was incredible and so it is hard to write off the whole experience as a waste of time/money. Even the bus journeys have enabled us to view some spectacle countryside, including Volcan Puyehue still throwing an enormous ash cloud after its eruption in June this year. We also went through miles and miles of desert in Northern Chile and South Peru which was our first experience of the amazing landscape the sand produces.
So now we are finally in Peru and we plan to stop for a few days in Arequipa to enjoy the sensation of not moving. We are feeling full of hope that Peru will prove to be more manageable and affordable then its Southern neighbours, and apparently the food should be better too so we are also looking forward to some flavour. Our first impression is certainly very positive...