South America | Peru | Southern Peru | Arequipa | Tacna – Crossing the border into Chile
Arrived in Arica, Chile today, after flying into Tacna, Peru from Lima this morning and then crossing the border in a shared taxi. I caught the taxi with a German and a Dutch guy straight from the airport — only cost $30 total to go from the airport, have the driver hand-hold us across the border and drop us off respectively where we are staying in Arica. The two guys were attending a conference here in Arica at one of the resort hotels. I on the otherhand got dropped outside of my hostel, to which they replied, ugh, it doesn´t look nice…but hey, it is clean, appears safe and is nice on the inside.
After riding in the car on the highway for about 20 minutes we went through the Peruvian side of the border crossing. I looked across the 200 yards of desert after leaving the older building at the Peruvian Santa Rosa immigration point, and the border crossing into Chile looked quite different than Peru´s: organized, clean, calm…I could have assumed it was a mirage but no, Chile is for real!
Arica is in the middle of the desert, but on the coast, so beaches everywhere. I am staying at a hostel (Hostel Los Palmas, not to be confused with the nicer Hotel Los Palmas up the road) about two blocks from the harbor, and the nice beaches are either north or south of town so about a 15 minute walk. I thought I would take a stroll to the beach, but then realized I just lost two hours by crossing the border! That´s right, Chile is two hours ahead of Peru, so the good news is the sun stays out until at least 830 at night right now. The bad news is I didn´t arrive until almost 5 pm here.
I left the hostel and went walking through the touristy-beachy area very close to where I am staying to look for the Peruvian vegetarian standby, Govinda, a Hare Krishna chain of restaurants. Instead I found an open internet place and I ducked inside to give a quick journal update.
I think I will head to the beach tomorrow, enjoy some relaxation afer my long hiking trip last week, and then head to Parque National Lauca for some altiplano sights on a two day trip in the next couple of days.
Look for updates to my journal covering the hiking trip soon….