northern Chile travel

Old Jun 16th, 2006, 08:20 AM
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northern Chile travel

I am visting my son in Concepcion in July. He would like us to travel from there northward ending in Machu Picchu. We only have about 10 days so we have to choose our destinations carefully. Any suggestions of the places not to be missed and how much time to spend in each, including our destination.
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Old Jun 16th, 2006, 07:07 PM
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That's a lot of territory to cover in 10 days, especially when the MP excursion would take in a day of arrival in Cusco or the Sacred Valley, a second day of visiting Machu Picchu (assuming you're doing it as a day trip) and a third day to depart Cusco after you return.

Does this include any flights?
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Old Jun 17th, 2006, 10:51 AM
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You are going to have to fly for part of this trip or you just won't have enough time. The quickest might be a flight from Santiago to Lima and a flight from there to Cusco. I am not certain what flights exist, you'd have to check, but perhaps a flight to Arica from Santiago, a land crossing at the border, and a flight from Tacna to Arequipa (well worth a visit) or Cusco (if there is one).

There is good long distance bus service in Chile but the bus to Arica will take about 24 hours.

You want two to three days in Cusco, minimum. If you can, stay overnight at Aguas Calientes at the foot of Macchu Picchu or, even better but more costly, at the hotel right by the ruins. If you are going to go by land then you should limit your trip to just Cusco and Macchu Picchu.
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Old Jun 17th, 2006, 04:02 PM
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Thanks for the tips on how long at MP and where to stay. It seems that we have a couple of more days available. Our ten days do not include Concepcion, but begin once we leave ( we have a few more days which is the time in Concepcion). Is there anything we shouldn't miss in northern Chile or should we spend the extra days in Lima?
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Old Jun 17th, 2006, 06:52 PM
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Look at the website for LAN, the airline with the largest number of domestic flights in both Chile and Peru.

www.lan.com

It should show you schedules and fares and let you see if you can piece something together. There are flights from Concepcion to Santiago from where you could connect to something farther north. The only Chile-Peru flights are going to be from Santiago to Lima.

For me, the must-see in northern Chile is San Pedro de Atacama, an oasis in the middle of the desert. It's almost 1,000 miles north of Santiago, so you'd almost need to fly. (Nearest airport is Calama.) You'd have to check to see if you could fly from there north to Iquique, on the Chile-Peru border without backtacking to Santiago.
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Old Jun 17th, 2006, 08:53 PM
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That would be Arica on the Chile/Peru border. There are shared taxis you take across and then you can get another bus on the other side. San pedro is well worth a visit if you have time. There is a lot to see in the area and I think you would need three days or so to make it worthwhile. Lima is fine but I would take the most days you can in Cusco/Macchu Picchu or Arequipa in Peru or San Pedro in Chile. These are unique places. If you are going to be doing long bus rides buy the best seats you can as it will make a big difference.
Good luck!
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Old Jun 17th, 2006, 09:50 PM
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Thanks for the information. I have checked Lan airlines and this is going to be very complicated. Hopefully I can make this work.
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Old Jun 18th, 2006, 06:37 AM
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Oops, yes, Huentetu. It's Arica in the far north, not Iquique. Is there a blushing emoticon to insert here?
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Old Jun 18th, 2006, 07:03 AM
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A smiley is just fine!
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Old Jun 19th, 2006, 07:30 PM
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A smiley it shall be.

Considering the vast north-south distances in Chile, I don't think domestic airfares are too bad. It should be easy to find a Concepcion-Calama fare, with a connection in Santiago, if, for example, you plan to visit San Pedro de Atacama. And if you have any bus travel in there, highways in Chile are generally quite good.
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Old Jun 20th, 2006, 05:45 AM
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There are small buses which go directly from Calama airport to San Pedro. You can book tours, geysers etc., once you get there as it is cheaper.
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