My first trip: Bolivia and Peru (February 2016)

This trip change everything to me. Was a year ago and I made great friends, great anecdotes and make me really happy. I’m gonna give you some tips, but I want to write individual posts with more details about tours, hostels, buses, food for every city, so some parts doesn’t gonna be with to much details. I just want that you understand why I’m so happy traveling and never plan so much, is sort of an introduction to the blog and to me. I hope you like it !

At the airport: so excited to start the adventure

My first trip outside Chile was on summer vacations with 3 other friends, supposed to be a short trip (20 days) to Bolivia and Peru. The plan was fly from Santiago to Antofagasta, stay in the house of one of the girls one night, go by bus to Calama to took another bus to Uyuni, then go to La Paz, Copacabana, Cusco to do Machu Picchu, Arequipa, Tacna and then go back to Antofagasta to take a plain back to Santiago. But at the end nothing was like we plan, we only stayed together until La Paz. 

I used to go to the university in Valparaiso and meet my friends there: Glyxia from Santiago, Pamela from Viña del Mar and Karina from Antofagasta… Basically Valparaiso and Viña del Mar are the same city is literally 0km to distance between them, Santiago is only 1hour 40 minutes by bus to Valparaiso and Antofagasta is far, 1300 km to the north. 

The first day of the trip Pamela’s mom take us to the airport in Santiago to took a night plain to Antofagasta. In Chile there’s a low cost airline, Sky airlines, prices between buses and plains are very similar.. is better take a plain because the distances are huge, Chile is too long. Other good airline is LAN, but if you want cheap tickets you have to buy them with time… The difference between LAN and Sky is the service on board, in Sky you have to pay for the food and there’s no entertainment, meanwhile with LAN you have food and entertainment via WiFi on your cellphone or tablet, both includes luggage free of charges. Glyxia was waiting us in Santiago and then we stayed in Karina’s house in Antofagasta.

For me was the first time flying and the first time outside Chile. I remember that I was a little nervous and very excited for the trip. Also have many wishes to do, and my friends make a lot of jokes about that… In some parts of Chile we have the tradition if you are doing something for the first time you have a wish, so they start to say this is you first step on a plain, make a wish! This is your first second step on a plain, make another wish and things like that.

So, once we arrive to Antofagasta we stay there one night and take a bus to Calama, where we plan take the bus to Uyuni. This bus only work Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays and cost around 20 dollars. The bus go out at 5 AM and is a trip of 12 hours, you have to change bus in the frontier between Chile and Bolivia.

Uyuni Salt flats with the girls

When we arrive to Uyuni was like going back in time, is a little town with nothing modern, even the internet is so bad. So, we start to look a hostel, was easy because is not huge and then go to an ATM to get cash. Then we reserve a tour to go to the salt flats the next day. The tour was awesome (I’m gonna tell the details in the next post), we have a nice day and in the night we took a bus to La Paz.

In La Paz we have a reservation in Loki Hostel, is a chain of party hostel that is in Bolivia and Peru. We only had a reservation for three nights, the day we arrive day we just walk around to adapt to the altitude and party in the night, second day were hangover and did a walking tour in afternoon and go to sleep because the next day we did the death road on Bike (this was reaaaally awesome, gonna make a post about it with videos and photos) and party in night… This night was super fun, I meet Raúl (my actual boyfriend), he was working on the bar and give loads of tequila shots (I love tequila) and I was so drunk at the end that he and Karina took me to bed (LoL).The next day I woke up still drunk, with no cellphone and shoes, I went to the bar and my cellphone and shoes was still there. My friends told me what happened in the night and that I kissed Raúl and after that fainted. In the afternoon we took a car to go to Copacabana, was a bad trip for me.. hangover and I only wanted to throw up. 

In Copacabana we start to look for a hostel and the next day we went to Isla del Sol on the Titicaca lake. The island is really pretty and only live indigenous people there, they have animals and farms and they only make money through tourism.

Some ruins in Isla del Sol

So until here, everything was on schedule. The next day we had a bus to go to Peru, and we wanted to do that fast because Bolivia was having a referendum and when there’s elections they have this law where any car can’t circulate. But when we arrive to the border, Karina had a penalty in Peru for almost 1000 dollars. When she ask, the immigration guy told her that she appears like an illegal in Peru and was all because she visit the country a few years before with her family and they didn’t put the exit on the system, she had the stamp on the passport but immigration never put the information on the computer. So, obviously we wouldn’t leave her alone, we lose the bus tickets and we were stuck in Copacabana due to the elections.

Killing time in Copacabana

After thinking a while, we decided come back to La Paz and try to get a volunteer in Loki. Pamela had a thing with the bar manager, so we were with a little luck on our side. After killing time and spend another day in Copacabana we took a bus to La Paz, get to Loki and made the big question. The answer was positive, but they only have 2 vacancies to volunteer. So finally Pamela and I stayed as a volunteers and we agreed that between the four were gonna pay a bed for Karina and Glyxia.

The first night we were off and the four party hard and I talked a lot with Raúl that night, he start telling me things that I didn’t remember from the other night, we laughed loads. The next night I had my first shift, in that time I doesn’t had any experience as a bartender and my english wasn’t so good, but Ismael (one of he workers) teach me everything and was a really great night. The next day, Karina and Glyxia decided go back to Chile. So was only Pamela and me, she started to spend more time with the manager and I spend more time with Raúl. 

Volunteering on the bar!

After one week working as a volunteer, due to a misunderstanding with a stolen jacket the owner kicked Raul and I out (LOL). Pamela continue working. We were sad that night and I was thinking going back home and he told me “fuck this, I don’t have so much money, but let’s go to Machu Picchu, you wanna go there right?” and I answer “OK, let’s do this”… I call my dad and tell him that my vacations were gonna be a little longer and we start the journey with almost no money.

So Raúl knew a cheap way to go to Cusco, we took a ‘combi’ to Desaguadero cross to Peru walking and then took a car to Puno, to finally took a bus to Cusco. This way was so much cheaper and short than going through Copacabana. Once in Cusco, we looked a cheap hostel and start to search a way to go to Agua Calientes (the town just down to Machu Picchu). We paid a van that cost 50 soles (15 dollars) round trip to hidroeléctrica and there you have to walk for 2 hours to Aguas Calientes. We were only eating one meal for day and the entrance was cheap to Raúl (he is peruvian) and I had a student discount with the ISIC card.

Aguas Calientes Is probably the more expensive town in Peru, is a touristic place and only consist in 2 streets full of restaurants and hostels, that’s all. If you want to save some money you can camp if you have a tent, there’s a place to camping just a side to the train station.

So, the next day we did Machu Picchu, we go up on a eternal stairs, visit the city, took grate pictures and then go back to hidroeléctrica to took the van… I remember that I was so tired, my legs were shaking, my feet hurt so much and my crotch was irritated due to the friction. But I was so happy, I had a big smile in my face.

Machu Picchu with Raúl

Back in Cusco we spend the night in the same Hostel and I asked Raúl “so what now? Are you gonna stay working here?” and he answered “let’s go to Chile” and I was like OK, let’s see how this works. We spend an extra day in Cusco and after that we took a bus to Tacna, worst idea ever !!! We were tired, with cramps, our legs hurts and this was a journey of 16 hours. Anyways, on the bus we saw all The Transporter movies and tried to sleep.

Tacna

Once in Tacna we stay one day waiting to cross to Chile, to take a plain from Arica to Santiago. Peru is cheaper than Chile, in Tacna we paid like 6 dollar the night and 2 dollar for a good meal meanwhile in Arica a hostel costs 10 dollars and a good meal 10 dollars. We were in Tacna a Sunday and was so boring, everything was close and the city doesn’t have to much to see, the beach is far and the interesting things too. The next day we went to Arica and took the plain to Santiago and then we travel to Valparaiso by bus.

We live together for 4 months in Chile, many things happened, finally finished the university and now here we are, traveling around the world.

I hope you enjoyed the story…

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