Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did.
So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. --- Mark Twain

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

San Pedro de Atacama, I

San Pedro de Atacama is a small town of less than 4,000 inhabitants in the region of Antofagasta (in the year of 2012, the number of the inhabitants was 3899). The town is believed to have been founded in 1450 and the main source of making living is mostly tourism.

In the center of the town there is a 17th-century white church - Iglesia de San Pedro de Atacama.

The first night was spent in a familiar place – in Camping Los Perales, which was exactly in the same condition as almost a year ago. Even the price is the same - 5,000 pesos per night, (in euros it would be as 6.67).

Other household facilities are the same as well, warm water, a kitchen and in the kitchen - electricity (and gas). But no wifi. The same – no wifi last year as well. Since the whole area is planned at this time to be visited thoroughly I will begin with a tourist information place. From there one can get a map of the city and the surroundings. Asking for information on camping - I am given a very detailed list of lodging facilities.

It gives good information about the prices and other necessary issues.

How much is a single or double room, etc. and whether there is internet, TV, a kitchen, and so on. In a word - very good work has been done, a proper and thorough overview. The list includes 108 establishments and their prices. By comparison, Tripadvisor gives 67 hotels and hostels, The has the names of 70 places.

 The prices are of course very different - the most expensive double room is 1545 USD for one night and the cheapest bed is 6,000 pesos (it is 8 euros).

Trying to select the most suitable place - "La Casa del Sol" seems to be ok - camping - 4000 and wifi would also be available. But at the spot I find out that it is meant for tents. It could be possible to find a place for the car for the night as well,but during the day one must park on the street, because there are places for only two cars in the yard. And the price is higher than in the tourist information list - 6,000 pesos. So no overnight here. 

The next "Buenas Peras Camping" is only for tents, there is no access to the site by car. Sol it will not do. There seems to be no choice at all.

Some others – like Hotel-Camping "Takha-Takha 'will not suit because of the too high price for their service in my opinion.

So the first and already familiar "Los Perales" will be the choice and internet must be gained myself as I have already got the ENTEL sim cards. Past experience has shown that it is worth to arrange issues with ENTEL, this kind of issues that you buy a card and finally get things to work. The Entel Agency is just in the central square.  

This time the operation was the following: I went to the agency and showed a year ago bought sim card contract, the sim card and USB modem to make things quite clear. That my wish is to transfer money on the card, then the card goes to the modem and I can start to use internet. A couple of minutes later it turns out that - as the card has not been used for almost a year- not any money can`t be transfered. So the old card can safely be thrown away into a trashcan.

Ok, I'm ready to buy a new sim card, but since last year some regulations have been changed, and now you can buy a card only together with a USB modem. I already have 3 USB corresponding bits and pieces, but it does not matter. No other solution – I was told. The starter kit will cost 15,000, but the price includes 10000 of call time. The further procedure goes like this, that the starter kit should be taken , and then activate it in the computer, and then you can start using it. At least it should be this way.

The activation process is familiar, but this requires RUT, a personal identification number. So I go to the camping place in the meantime, take the laptop, and come back to the agency, And think that now the problem is solved. But the laptop refuses starting up at the agency, do not know if an unfamiliar place, but not one beep.

Going back to the camping site to investigate. And the story continues this way that in the camping my laptop functioned, but having reached with it to the agency – nothing. After some more attempts to start it turned out that the hinges of the lid of the laptop were a bit broken, but could be repaired with local issues. Now you can go back and start using the internet.

For more information: The prices of mobile Internet 3G in Chile at the moment - one can choose between different packages, ranging from 1 hour to 15 days.

7 days - 9,900 pesos or 13.3 EUR, the capacity of 5 GB, and 15 days - 24 EUR or 17990 pesos, and 7 GB. Not exactly the cheapest, especially while compared with Estonia, but the main thing is that it works.

In fact, there is no sense to compare everything with Estonia. When I began to write this part I didn`t intend to write about Internet connection so much, but it is also a part of everyday life here on the continent.

So – when there is the connection – that`s nice and in case of no connection – nothing to be done. But it is nice to gain useful information about the region. For example, even about earthquakes (

During the last 30 days in the region of Iquique there had been 190 earthquakes of more than 4,5 balls. They have also recently been a part of the everyday life. Iquique is less than 300 km from Calama.


The attractions of this region will be described in the next blogs.

Continued ...

PS. Just adding in the end the list of accommodations of San Pedro de Atacama, perhaps somebody would find that useful while planning to visit Chile.





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