Wednesday, 6 January 2010

BACKPACKING Northwest Argentina by public transport

Our journey in South America began in  Ecuador, then down through Peru and Bolivia to get into north west Argentina then into Chile.  We arrived there Villazon in Bolivia. You walk over a bridge which is the border. Full information for the trip can be found on my other diary travel log whereas this is mainly information relating to public transport.




LA QUIACA TO HUMAHUACA Put your watch back 1-hour at the border. Taxi's will be waiting to take you to the bus station. AR$10 (£1.50). A couple of blocks down from the bus station and 1 block to your right is a bank with an ATM Take extra care at the bus station, keep a hand on your bags at all times as
people with us had their day pack snatched from right in front of them. We book for the 3-hour journey to Humahuaca, AR$30 (£5). There is an extra charge for luggage that goes underneath the bus, it should be AR$1 (15p) per bag but tourists are often asked for AR$5. After about 1-hour the bus pulls over for customs and immigration. Everyone has to leave the bus with belongings, collect luggage then line up for inspection. We reach Humahuaca around 2pm . This is the same bus that continues to Salta but we wanted to break the journey. With hindsight we should have continued to the much nicer next town of Tilcara for our first stop.






Humahuaca




HUMAHUACA TO TILCARA Catch the Jama bus to Tilcara, AR$5.5 (96p). It is the next sizeable town down the track but half the populations of Humahuaca. There are many more accommodation options here, many places to go hiking and lots of day trip possibilities.



DAY TRIP FROM TILCARA TO PULMAMARCA

Frequent local buses run to Purmamarca, AR$3 (50p).

We heard there was a good cemetery (not worth the stop in our opinion) so returned via Maimara. AR$2 (35p) then got a shared taxi the rest of the way.






VISIT TO GARGANTA DEL DIABLO We negotiated a taxi,

AR$30 (£5) for the 20 minute 8km steep ride up the mountain.

At the top you can do the walk to “Giganta del Diablo”, AR$3

(50p). It is an easy walk back down to Tilcara.










TILCARA TO SALTA Balut bus has regular departures to Salta, AR$38 (£6.40). We are given seats 1 and 2 at the top of the double decker giving us great views but dubious about the safety aspect as the window in front had lots of cracks.



SALTA TO SAN PEDRO DE ATACAMA (CHILE) . We book with Gemini’s, AR$170 (£28). There are 2 companies covering this journey and they now operate on alternate days, are the same price and both leave at 7am. They are single decker luxury coaches with plenty of leg room. The journey is over the spectacular "Jama Pass". The coach stops and waits whilst you deal with the Argentinian exit procedure. Lunch is a couple of sandwiches and a wafer biscuit washed down with Coke. In the afternoon we get a hot drink and a croissant. Entry formalities for Chile are completed on the outskirts of San Pedro. A little further on, around 4pm, the coach pulls up in a dusty car park, no bus station, no seating, no shade or anything. Luckily it is a short walk to the centre of the town.












The exit border for Argentina






TIP

When arriving at a bus station, check you departure options before leaving the station

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