South America Top 5 Countdown

5. San Pedro de Atacama, Chile

One of the challenges – and thrills – of traveling in South America was the uncertainties of transportation. With such a hectic and packed itinerary, crossing over from Argentina to Chile almost never happened. The buses were all sold out and there were possible strikes looming in Bolliva which would wipe out this leg of my tour completely. But I kept a vigilant eye on ANY means of getting here, for two reasons: San Pedro de Atacama is known as the driest place on earth; and, the bus ride from Argentina to Chile is known as the most beautiful bus ride in the world.

I finally found fellow travelers who were in the same boat as I – my friend from New York who was already traveling with me, and a couple from Argentina. We chipped in for a very thrilling 4 x 4 ride and arrived at San Pedro. It’s a very touristy spot, with throngs of backpackers who came here not only for the scenery, but for sand boarding, mountain biking, and floating lagoons. I also found out this was the best place on earth for stargazing!

There’s no record of rainfall in San Pedro. Ever. Which makes for some awesome landscapes: lunar-like deserts and geysers being the highlights. The short stopover in Chille was definitely worth it…making friends along the way who would eventually join us for further travels to Bolivia and Peru.

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