We crossed from Argentina to Chile over The Andes by bus, leaving cold Mendoza on a gloomy grey day and arriving 7 hours later into a hot sunny Santiago, nearly a week ago. It was a stunning ride from the flatlands of Argentina, up through a multi-coloured rocky landscape, climbing to a snowy 5,000 meters where the border crossing sits next to the chairlifts that service ski resorts for both countries. Throughout the journey the Andes towered above us at a height of 6,000 + meters, providing the most beautiful snowy backdrop to the landscapes below. The skies cleared as we started our climb out of Argentina so we benefited from crystal clear blue skies and brilliant sunshine. A border skirmish between Chile and Argentina 10 years ago has resulted in both countries maintaining a heavy military presence with numerous military camps on the route. We also read that parts of the Chilean border are still mined, mine clearance is ongoing, and not to venture out for a walk. Dean is yet again saved from hiking!
As soon as we crossed the border, a hilariously laborious and inefficient process that much amused us, the brightness of the Chilean people shone through. Not only does the sun seem to shine brighter here, but the people put a shine on everything. The houses were painted bright turquoise, yellow, green and red. Fiestas Patrias, the anniversary of Chilean Independence, is coming up on the 18th September, so each house was proudly decorated in the red, white and blue of the Chilean flag, and many had full sized flags flying at full mast in their gardens. Whether it is the climate, or just that they are more green fingered than their Argentinian neighbours, the gardens were in full multi-coloured spring time bloom.
Santiago bus station is too busy for the traffic it attracts, which resulted in the whole bus being decamped on a side street near the station. We picked up our full complement of bags, the weight of which seems to be growing, and made our way into the bus car park. We said a few more prayers as we dodged reversing double decker buses and climbed a waist high wall to safety. Having negotiated the ATM, and now with Chilean Pesos in hand we got a cab to our hostel. It was a gorgeous tropical haven in down town Santiago. Brightly painted walls provided a backdrop for the antique furniture and fittings, and funky murals covered the larger spaces. The accommodation ran around the vine clad courtyard which housed an open air bar, sofas and, much to Fred’s delight, a Football table. Our room snugly fitted a bunk bed and a single bed, decked out in stylish linens. It was our best hostel experience to date. At less than £1 a drink and £1 for a hamburger we took the easy option and stayed in to eat. Although it was dark after we had eaten we decided to venture out into town to stretch our legs, get some more cash and fresh fruit supplies. Santiago is a vibrant city, Chileans were out in force in the bars and restaurants, and we felt very comfortable walking around amongst them.
After a great night’s sleep we had our hostel breakfast with a French couple taking a year out travelling. With details exchanged we’re looking forward to receiving their spreadsheet of hostels for Thailand, they seemed to have been a bit more organised than us! Fed and topped up on coffee we said goodbye to our hostel hosts. We weren’t allowed to leave however until they had taken pictures of themselves with Fred. Apparently they don’t ever get any kids and wanted to have some shots to put on their website. Photo shoot over we walked to the main street and caught a cab to the Wicked Campers Depot to collect our home for the next month.
Paperwork took about an hour and then we were taken into the yard to meet ‘Stan’ our 6 seater graffitied campervan. A riot of colourful art decorates Stan, we have since found out that the lettering on both sides “Lican Peyote Style”, along with the accompanying art, celebrates the hallucinogenic qualities of cacti. No wonder we have been greeted with chuckles wherever we have gone, and requests for photos. As we were picking Stan up we met 2 Austrian mountain climbers returning their vehicle. They’d just completed summiting a 6,000-meter mountain in the Andes and some ski touring. They gave us some great advice on where to pick stuff up, maps to download, and places to get showers and camping gas which has proved really helpful in our first week.
Dean drove Stan out of the depot and into the Santiago traffic. We picked up our first set of camping supplies for the van and set off for Walmart to get food, our last stop before our first night destination, a small fishing village called Horcon just north of Valparaiso. We missed the Walmart turning and found ourselves outside Santiago with no food supplies. As we approached the last village on Route 5 we pulled in to see if we could find a roadside market. We were in luck. Although sparsely stocked in the tiny store, we got the essentials and then followed the shopkeepers directions to a roadside fruit and veg stall. Having spent £80 between the 2 local traders we were extremely pleased that we had missed the Walmart junction and spent pesos in the village.
We arrived in Horcon by early evening and were greeted by the sight of bright sun shimmering on the aquamarine Pacific. A tiny fishing village on a crescent bay, we abruptly came to the sea front. Fishing boats were lined up on the sand 5 feet from where we stopped. There seemed no where for us to go in this toy town destination (much smaller than I had thought it would be) and it looked like our first night plans were going to go horribly awry. Two fishermen, chuckling at our van, approached us and I asked, using one of the phrases I had learnt from Fred’s Latin American Spanish phrase book given to us by Pablo, if there was anywhere we could park and camp. Smilingly they directed us between some ramshackle wooden buildings to the right. We drove 10 meters and found a sand covered yard half the size of our garden where a wall lined the seafront and the fish gutting tables were laid out. We backed the van in and admired the view over the sea, hoping for a low tide that would keep us on terra ferma through the night. Slightly nervous about being so exposed to the elements we opted to set up the bedding in the van rather than erect the roof top tent. As we did so flocks of herons, pelicans and seagulls flew around us. A van pulled up to the wall and out jumped a fish merchant, throwing back into the sea his unsold produce. Even more birds arrived and we were incredulous at the amazing sight of the mixed flock surfing the waves below the wall, flying overhead, catching fish in full flight, and even more joyfully taking from the hand of the fishmonger. Show over and sun setting we set off for an explore.
Horcon has a population of about 200 and we passed most of them as we enjoyed the evening sunset over the ocean and stunning scenery. Friendly smiles and ‘Hola’s’ made us feel very welcome. The explore of the bay only took us 10 minutes, but it was truly gorgeous. We decided to be lazy and treat ourselves to some local seafood. We passed Paulo smoking on the steps of his restaurant. With a jaunty neckerchief, suave moustache and beard, and stylish impoverished artist look we decided to see if he was open. He took us in and, now that he had customers, he turned on the lights and handed us menus. Pisco Sours was our drink of choice and we let Pablo choose our food. With our Pisco’s we were served small homemade flatbreads accompanied by a pile of cut lemons and a dish of chili, onion, garlic and herb tapenade. Pablo showed us how to prepare it, cut and butter the warm flatbread, smear a tiny amount of the tapenade on the buttered flatbread, finish by squeezing the fresh lemon onto the tapenade. It was gorgeous. The combination of the chili and lemon was new to us and we’re definitely bringing it home with us. The fish was as much of a triumph. We had 2 different plates, both landed in the bay that morning. Served with a salad and a small amount of frittered potatoes. With our glasses drained of Pisco we asked Pablo to choose a wine for our fish and he brought out 3 bottles talking us through them. We went with his recommendation of the mid priced vine from 5 miles away. The whole splash out meal and drinks for the three of us cost £40. By now we were best of friends with Pablo who told us how he had moved from Santiago with his family because his daughter had terrible asthma in the city. She has none now. Facebook details exchanged, and sorry that we couldn’t take up his offer stay another night and meet his family for dinner and drinks at his house, we promised to stay in touch.
We merrily headed back to our van and were stunned to find parked up next to us the most magnificent, muscular, pure white horse. Utterly bizarre and utterly enchanting. Fortunately, we had bought apples on our fruit and veg shop, so we chopped them up and made friends with the snow white beauty who was to be our neighbour for the night. We sat out for a bit and people passed by on their way back home from a night out, we greeted them and they us. The elderly local drunk passed us merrily several times rasping smiling greetings to us and engaging us in conversations that were beyond us, I’m pretty sure they would have been beyond anyone. The owner of the horse, all beaming smiles, full on a tipple or two, also came by with a bucket of food. We found out that she was called Rosalind, but little else due to our language limitations. Happy, we finally we settled down into our den, three peas squashed into a pod, lulled to sleep by the sounds of the sea, and comforted by the presence of our white steed to guard over us.
Waking came with the van rocking from side to side rather violently. Disorientated it took a few seconds to remember where I was, what I was in, and to figure out that our equine neighbour had found and itch and decided that it was best satiated using the driver’s side of the van. We got up and shared an apple with Rosalind by way of a good morning. Inspection showed the wing mirror folded in and the drive’rs door decorated with white hairs but no damage done. Around us the work had already started. The first catches must have been landed because along the harbour wall the gutting tables were in use. An elderly chap with a wonderful handlebar moustache was working away with pelicans sat around him. The excess he held out to them and they took greedily. No waste for the landfill in this town. Children made their way to school as we washed the wine of the night before away with freshly brewed coffee. Fresh eggs and bread rolls were prepared on the camping stove, cue jokes (we think) about whether we would cook for the workers alongside us. A rather smart lady came by and offered us use of bathroom facilities. Other women came to the fish gutting table and bought the mornings catch just prepared, walking away with it wrapped in old newspaper.
Once dressed we walked the 20 meters to where the fishing boats sat and there were the horses pulling in the boats. I’d read in an old out of date guide book that this is one of the few places that is left where this practice continues, rather than use tractors. I had assumed that it would no longer be the case. What a surprise and it was wonderful to watch. It seemed that the entire male population of Horcon was on the seafront at this time of day. Old men sat or stood around in groups chatting, others were working the fishing boats and catches, some prepared the fish. It was a time warp and I was so grateful to have experienced it. I went back to the van and left Fred and Dean to have some man time with the locals. Fred had a lesson on all the fish they had caught that morning; star fish, hake, sting rays, sword fish, eels etc from a couple of the men. Apparently Fred met all the locals that morning as they asked him to go around a shake hands with each of them.
Before we left we walked down to the end of the bay where the rock pools were accessible. We were stunned to see vast quantities of fresh mussels and other shellfish everywhere. What a rich biodiversity they have here. We bought a few bits of local jewellery from a stall as momentos, and a thank you to Horcon and left to cheery smiles and ‘Adios’.
Next stop was inland and up Route 5 at the thermal baths of Soca. We got there a lot earlier than expected and discovered there was a campsite next to the baths. It was entirely empty but at the hotel next to the campsite they assured us we could let ourselves in and someone would come round. We opted to try the thermal waters immediately at the bargain price of £10 for all 3 of us. Dean was then totally thrown when he discovered that, unlike the Hot Springs of Nelson, he would actually be in a bath with us. Fred thought the whole thing was terribly exciting. We convinced Dean that all his achy ailments would be miraculously healed by the bath. Quite a feat given that Dean hates baths, and if forced to take them likes them tepid. In less than salubrious surroundings we stepped into a very large bath tub of steaming water and pushed the Jacuzzi button. None of us had washed for 2 hot, sandy, dusty, sea salty days. It was blissful to wash that all away and be massaged by the jets. After an hour we showered, washing our hair, and looked embarrassed at the black tide marks and exfoliated skin we were leaving behind in the drained bath. But fresh as a daisy we left for the campsite, free ice given to us by the hotel for our cool box.
When we got the campsite we found another tent pitched and wandered over to check if we were in mozzie land or not. Much hilarity ensued when after broken Spanish all round we discovered they were New Zealanders. We enjoyed our first conversation with native English speakers for a week which was a joy. They were undertaking a bike tour through Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina covering 100km a day for 10 weeks. Amazingly it turned out they had met the same Quebec couple in Boliva that we had spent time with in Mendoza. Small world when you’re travelling.
Dean slept in the tent up top and Fred and I shared a more roomy night in the van. After another comfy great nights sleep we cooked up a breakfast and coffee before leaving for the other purpose of this stop, the Petroglyphs at the Valle del Encanto. The Petroglyphs were created by the aboriginal Polynesian settlers, who had made their way from Polynesia, stopping to populate Easter Island, before setting off across the Pacific for the unknown, finally landing in Chile. We pulled off the main road and followed the signs down a dusty track. Guinea pig like creatures scuttled into the fields as we approached, we’ve no idea what they were but they were shy and delightful sporting long tails. After a bumpy 4KM we came to a barrier and Clemence warmly welcomed us. Apparently we needed to follow him into his wooden shack and sign some papers before we could go into the historical site. My Spanish is now enough to be able to understand some basics, including where are you from. When I replied England I was greeted with a long list of famous English people, of which the first and much repeated was Margaret Thatcher! Paperwork over and map in hand we headed down a steep track into the deep valley. There are 3 main areas where the petroglyphs were created between 200-600AD which we needed to walk between to see. We set off with sturdy shoes, and as we did so another park worker found us and beckoned us to follow him. A private tour of the entire site followed, taking us to places we would never have found and on a death defying route that the National Trust would never endorse! Salvador revealed to us stunning primitive carvings on huge boulders in this ceremonial site. We learnt that the carvings were either of ceremonial leaders, stick men with elaborate headdresses, or robotic aliens, one arm up and one arm down sporting 3 antennae and 3 legs. The aboriginals believed that there were aliens in space populating the stars they could see at night, and they came to this valley to perform rituals celebrating their celestial neighbours who controlled the rain and sun. Intriguingly, in the park other carvings had been made mapping the night sky. Here they had bevelled out deep circles into the rock face. Each boulder was a different star map. One for Earth, Sun and Moon, another for the universe that they could see with the naked eye. Of course they also had a ‘devil’, the anti hero for alien deities, which was represented though a deeply bevelled out face. Finally we got to see, in the hidden depths of the valley (where we climbed and made leaps across huge rock faces) a ceremonial bath. A rock the size of a bungalow had been eroded by spring water over millions of years to create a deep, deep hollow. We could see right into it and there at the bottom was a pool of water, in the midst of desert land, and in this ginormous hollowed out rock was a ‘seating area’. We thanked Salvador for a wonderful tour and gave him a tip which was much welcomed. As we set off for our drive to the next stop for the night we chatted and pondered over the way different cultures explored, populated, and developed. We felt lucky that we saw these ancient, intriguing artworks alone in the middle of nowhere, with a wonderful guide. Yet another amazing day and successful school trip for Fred!
We headed into La Serena, another coastal town but it proved a real disappointment. The sea front reminded us of Zeebrugge / Dunkirk. White bland apartment blocks and an endless boulevard with no character. Although we were getting to dusk we turned around and headed back through La Serena and out onto the road that would take us to Pisco Elqui, our stop for the next day. We decided we would try and find a quite side road and look for somewhere to guerrilla camp. A sign to a village took us up hill on a dirt track and seemingly into nowhere. On the verge of turning back we suddenly spotted a garage forecourt sized triangular patch of flat ground half way down a valley that seemed like common land. As it was now nearly dark, and we had been warned to keep off the road when dark due to bad driving and poor adherence to the zero drink drive laws, we parked up. Just as we did so a pick up came up the hill to where we were. I flagged him down asked with my, by now fluent, Spanish sentence if anyone would mind terribly if we stopped there just for one night. Smiling and laughingly he said not at all. Relieved to have the permission of at least one local we decamped and got the cookers on whilst Dean sorted out the van. Just to be on the safe side we opted to sleep together in the locked van. As I cooked it became apparent that we were parked on an interchange between 3 ‘end of the world’ villages. Cars came past on 3 sides, sometimes dropping off someone so they could walk the rest of the way. Each time they did they slowed, waved and shouted honked their horns, and we waved in our best enthusiastic English way. A lovely couple who had been dropped off walked down past us and we had a lovely exchange, most of which I didn’t understand, but I think they were worried that we didn’t have a toilet and offered for us to go up to their house if we wanted to (but I’m not sure!). Fred decided that he would be in charge of the toilet and set about digging a hole in a suitable place with the shovel we had bought for exactly that purpose. Pleased with his work, and wearing the high vis jacket, he then set about levelling our exit route for the next morning. After a delicious campfire dinner we made the most of some lovely Chilean red before settling down for the night. Deep sleep was broken by the disconcerting noise of something rather large jumping about on our roof. Dean and I were both woken by it, but quickly decided that we had no desire to grapple with any local wildlife, and it soon made a noisy exit. Morning proved that our rubbish bin, hanging on the wing mirror, had been ample attraction for a fox or something similar!
We took our Sunday breakfast on the dusty terrace we had claimed, overlooking the villages below and around us, and got to meet more of the locals. The couple from the day before walked passed, asking if we had a good night, and then back again with shopping, from goodness only knows where. As they did their last pass they asked if they could take a photo of our van and then wanted photos with us in front of the van. A warm and joyful experience yet again in Chile. As we left our camping spot we took a picture of a sign just above us ‘Welcome to San Valentin’, very apposite.
Of course you can’t come to Chile and not experience Pisco Elqui, the home of the Pisco grapes. This was our next stop and we set off into the sunshine looking forward to a meander through ancient villages off the beaten track. En route we came across an enormous dam and pulled into a car park so we could walk up to the footpath at the top of the dam. The snow covered Andes again framed stunning scenery, and we marvelled at the engineering. We made a fuel stop at Vicunia and as we left the small colonial town we spotted a couple of lads on the road side and decided to ask directions for Pisco Elqui. Turned out that they were hitchhiking, very common here where everyone gives lifts, and one of them was looking for a ride to Pisco Elqui and the other to be dropped on the way there. Fred shuffled along and Angelo and Taco jumped in. The next 40 minutes we chatted, courtesy of fairly good English on their part, and learnt a bit about them and the area. Fred had been in search of a football so we asked Angelo if there was somewhere we could buy one in Pisco Elqui. Turned out that Angelo was about to play in a local football derby in about an hour’s time, hence his return home, and he showed us where to go to watch. We then dropped him at home and had a drive around to orientate ourselves before making our way in the van down to the ground. Fabulous new facilities had been built combining school, leisure centre (with pool, basketball courts, sports hall etc), and an astro turf football pitch replete with stadium seating and wooden slatted shade.
A surprising number of the town had turned out, nearly filling the stand. The only non locals we were treated with curiosity but welcomed. We found a shady spot in the stands and settled down with sandwiches we had made in the van. Of course in this hospitable, and wonderfully friendly country, it wasn’t long before we made friends. A group of local men settled beside us and were soon throwing out the names of English football teams and players. Drinking is banned in the stadium and 6 local police were on duty for this village Sunday Derby (2 teams from the same village), however they had snuck some in and were soon offering it to us. Dean did the duty for our team, one of us had to drive later to find somewhere to camp, and was soon best of mates. At regular intervals they would shout “DEEEEEEN” and much amusement followed each time. There were 2 matches played, second teams and then first teams. It was clearly a very serious annual derby, much shouting and riotous jeering and cheering depending on who had scored. Both matches were fast moving and full of skill, a total of 10 goals over the 2 matches. At half times and between the matches the kids came onto the astro turf pitch. Fred joined in and soon was best of friends too with some kids from the opposition. His efforts were rewarded with cries of “WEEYYNNE ROOOONEEEEE’ from Dean’s new best friends. Despite sitting with the losing side for both matches we had a wonderful time and set off to find a stop for the night. Before we did so we met an ex-professional footballer who had spent 2 seasons playing for Auckland FC in NZ. More joy for Fred.
We opted to stop in a campsite for the night that nestled deep in the valley, but walking distance into town. I cooked next to a babbling river that we had had to cross, on a rickety wooden bridge, surrounded by mountains turning pink with the setting sun. Tummies full we headed out to find some Pisco Sours in the home of Pisco. We found a wonderful rooftop bar and had the most delicious cocktails made by someone who’s name we did know, but after a few Pisco’s too many, we have forgotten! We chatted with him and a few more locals who gave us tips on places to visit in Chile and Argentina. Angelo had invited us to hear him play that night at a party but despite being giddy on the wonderful Pisco’s we headed home, admiring the glittering stars in the crystal clear sky.
None too bright the next morning I cooked up some French toast with scrambled eggs and stale bread that I soaked whilst I showered. A pretty tasty and hearty breakfast inside us, and a bucketful of coffee and we made our tracks. On the drive up the Elqui Valley I’d missed most of the scenery talking to Taco and Angelo. On the way down, which is probably the better view, it was revealed in all its contrasting colours; sharp bright blue sky, pink rocky mountains and the lush green of the valley vines. Very little tourism exists in the villages of the valley, instead we encountered men on their horses carrying trays of eggs and other produce, and locals milling about their business.
We headed back to Route 5 and soon passed back into scrub land before hitting the desert that runs along the Pacific. A supplies stop in La Serena broke our 6 hour drive to Bahia Inglesa. Its known for its pure white sand and crystal clear waters, as well has having been named after the English Buckaneers that settled it in the 1500’s. Full to heaving in summer time (Jan and Feb), it was deserted when we arrived at dusk. We drove around a bit looking for somewhere to park and stopped a couple of chaps with a van who directed us to the beach. We drove down but thought better of it, fearful of getting stuck in the sand and then washed away at high tide. Some lights along the long sandy bay drew us to try further along, on the road! Coming to a dead end, next to a large building I decided to turn round, only to take us off the road and into the sand. A less than agile gearbox (if I can claim mitigation) and I stalled it in the sand. Despite knowing better I managed to then bury the rear passenger wheel a foot deep. Whilst Dean, less than happy, inspected my damage I dashed across the road to where a could see a couple of people standing in a yard. A better turn of luck we could not have had. Victoria spoke perfect English and quickly got a couple of lads to help us using their 4x4 pick up. With a few of us pushing and a powerful Dodge RAM van pulling we were quickly out of the sand. Victoria then insisted we should stay on the campsite that we were outside and took me to the managers house, and negotiated a cheap rate. Having parked up Victoria then took us inside the cafeteria where a team of cheery, merry chefs were packing up from a week of looking after 250 mountain bikers who had taken part in a mountain bike desert race. Cristian, the head chef, slapped some huge steaks, sausages and loin of pork onto an indoor BBQ, threw drinks in our hand and made sure we had everything we could possibly want. It was beyond hospitable and unbelievably kind of them, the food was just stunning, the best steak I’ve ever tasted. Fred, having acquired his football in La Serena, made friends with the other chefs who knocked the ball around with him much to his delight. Eventually we said our goodbyes and retreated to our van for a much needed nights sleep, very grateful for the unbelievable kindness of strangers.
The next morning the team had flown home to Santiago and we awoke to a deserted campsite with the most stunning setting. We took a walk down the long beach to the village, bought a local paper which had details of the accident we had passed when we were heading north (a bus and a truck collided on the south bound carriage way and looked pretty serious), and had a coffee. Ready for an early lunch we found a lovely beachside restaurant and I opted for the Thai chicken red curry soup, Dean the seafood soup. Both were amazing yet again, Chileans really do know how to cook. As we left 2 dogs joined us, a blonde and a motley black dog. We patted and stroked them, soon they were following us. We collected the most amazing array of seashells, shellfish, coral and vibrant seaweed, still with dogs in tow. They ran ahead and we expected them to eventually turn back, they didn’t. For the next 24 hours they stayed with us. We had bought some dog food in La Serena, because we didn’t want to feed unsuitable food to stray dogs, like those we had given food to in Horcon. When ‘Dusty’ and ‘Smokey’ negotiated the campsite dogs and made their way to our van, Fred and I cracked open the dry dog food and made a water bowl from one of our pans. They hungrily devoured 2 servings before I called a halt to let their stomachs settle. Over the next 24 hours they followed our every move, sitting at my feet as I wrote, following Dean and Fred as they wandered the site, and sleeping outside the van in sand beds that they dug out to protect themselves from the wind. The guarded us and their patch from the campsite dogs, Dean had to make a midnight flashlight foray to give our new friends some peace. We were greeted every time with happy tails wagging and shy lowered heads beckoning a fuss. We loved, fed, and watered them throughout our 24 hours together, but it was still with a broken heart that we left them. In the shower, before I parted, I sobbed more than I think I have at anything imagining a shattering of hope that we had mistakenly given them. I wished with all my heart they had left us in the night and not shown a loyalty that we could not reciprocate. They will stay with me for a long time. The saving grace was they did not follow us down the road as we pulled out, I hope they may find a new home at the campsite…..
Our next stop was San Pedro de Atacama in the far North East. With little to draw us to stop between Bahia Inglesa and San Pedro, we had decided to do the 1000km drive in one go. With an early start, for us, of 9am we hoped to make it by nightfall. The drive was stunning yet again. We were quickly into the desert, first along the Pacific and then inland. Stunning geology and geography made the drive a lot easier. On the sobering side we passed memorials every few kilometres to those killed on the road. Route 5 has been hugely invested in and is now in great condition, apart from a few areas where we had bone crunching dirt track detours, because the road improvement continues. We’ve since learnt that Chileans believe that those who meet a violent end have confused souls that can’t pass to the afterlife. Therefore they build memorials and houses for the soul left at the place that the person died, to which families of the deceased make regular pilgrimages, even sleeping there. Judging by the upturned cars left abandoned, and the literally thousands of memorials passed, there’s been a lot of lives lost on Route 5.
Full up on stunning scenery we left Route 5 and passed through Calama on Route 23 out to San Pedro. We were racing against the dark, but despite this when we came over the brow of a hill just before San Pedro we unexpectedly saw the Valley de Luna in all its sunset multi coloured glory. Bad timing for getting to our campsite on time, but great for the vista. In the dark we negotiated the back streets of San Pedro, dirt tracks between single storey red mud houses. After a few wrong turns, and trying to drive down the main street Caracoles that is pedestrianised, we arrived at the Takha Takha Hostel and Campsite. What a blissful place this has turned out to be…………!
For me this trip is all about having a great adventure with my family. Its taken years for us to finally stop talking about it and do it - simply because it both excites and frightens the life out me! So I'm stepping out of corporate life, where I singularly failed to achieve a work/life balance....to experience different cultures and spend time with those I love xx