Just wanting to see the North of Chile the first stop was a small town called San Pedro. With only about 3000 people living there it was a tiny town that seemed like something out of the Wild West!
Most people go for desert tours and astronomy. The area near San Pedro has near zero humidity and crystal clear skies, some spots haven't had any rain for about 400 years!
The first night we went to a local astronomer to learn about the universe and astronomy done from the Chilean desert. The astronomer was a typical nutty professor, crazy but knew loads, it was a great show and we saw the night sky from telescopes costing a small fortune. Around 100km from San Pedro is one of the most advanced observatories set up in the world. Over 60 telescopes from 3 different space agencies, NASA, Japan and Europe.
Moving on from San Pedro we headed down the coast to Arica. It was labeled as a cool surfers town and although it did have some amazing surf spots further down the coast, with international competitions going on, it was also a huge port!
The last bit of coast before Northern Peru, we just pottered about for a few days, saw the local sites and went on a day trip to the Lauca National park. The National park had some amazing canyons, volcanic mountains and scenery. At one point we went from hot desert to hail and snow within a few hours!
'The Terminator' had moved on quicker than us and the gang from the salt flats was now 5. From the short stay in Chile it was back into Bolivia next and the capital La Paz. La Paz is meant to be a crazy city and everyone was looking forward to getting back into Bolivia, much more of a 'backpacking' country than Chile!