Our bus to Calama in Chile left at 4 am in the very early morning and it was still dark and very very cold. Luckily we just had to cross the street from our hostel to the bus stop.
The first four hours in the bus from Uyuni to the Chilean border were extremely cold. We were wearing our down jackets and hats, but were still freezing and shivering most of the time. Although we chose an upper range bus we quickly realized that this damn Bolivian bus did not have any heating! The Bolivians traveling with us apparently knew this, because they were all wrapped in thick blankets…
Around 8 am we arrived at the Bolivian side of the border where we received our exit stamps and crossed the border together with some black pigs 🙂
Luckily the sun was shining, so we were able to slowly warm up again and get some feeling back in our legs and feet.
Once everybody was back in the bus we drove over to the Chilean side of the border. Here the bus driver informed us that today the Chilean border side would only open at 11 am! So we waited in the bus for three hours and didn’t quite understand why the bus had to leave in the middle of the night, just to wait at the border for hours…
In the meantime the temperature in the bus changed from refrigerator-cold to sauna-hot. Unfortunately the pleasant temperature transition period was very short 😉
When we finally crossed the Chilean border we had to get out all our luggage, which was checked for food, animal products and other goods one is not allowed to bring into Chile.
The torn-down and barely recognizable flag at the Chilean border post:
After this border crossing experience the bus continued on towards Calama and passed through the Atacama desert:
In total we had only spent a little over two weeks in Bolivia before continuing on to Santiago/Chile and then Brasil. Although we had passed through Bolivia quickly we felt that we really saw and experienced a lot of this beautiful country. The landscapes were stunning, we met many interesting people and even found some new friends.
On the down side we had to deal with street blockades, power blackouts and the generally low level of development: The showers were often cold with only little water, one had to take own toilet paper everywhere and the unhygienic conditions on the markets almost turned us into vegetarians 🙂
However the beautiful landscapes and friendly people more than made up for the negative and annoying points so that we really enjoyed our time in Bolivia and would anytime recommend a visit!