Once on the other side of the border, we jumped back on the bus, and headed into a very familiar stretch of highway...It just so happened to be the same stretch of highway we were on, after leaving the Uyuni tour in Southern Bolivia, and entering into Chile, headed for San Pedro de Atacama.
We, infact, pulled into the bus terminal in Atacama for a few minutes, then continued on, north, to Iquique.
As we approached Iquique, we started seeing massive sand dunes, and finally started to feel as if we were near the coast again. We came to the summit of a large hill/dune, and at the top, you could see all of Iquique, just as the sun was setting. The view was spectacular, and the diminishing light over the Pacific was gorgeous.
We spent the night at a shitty hostel near the beach, which was 10,000 pesos for a dorm bed...We were so ready to be back in Peru...
Next morning, we flagged down a cab to the bus terminal, and jumped on the next bus to Arica, which took us about 5 hours to get there. Endless desert sand 360 degrees, with massive dunes and drop-offs...
|The desert-scape of Iquique|
|Still in Chile, on the way to the border...|
Once in Arica, we exited the terminal, crossed the street, and found the collectivo station for heading to Peru. After figuring out which bus to get on, we were off. One Chilean exit stamp, and one Peruvian entrance was all we needed...
Easy border crossing, and we were in! Once again, and now it's really closing in on the end of the trip...Amazing.
We pulled into Tacna, Peru, at about 7pm, and found the office window for "Civa Bus" that travels all over the country...At this point, we had no plan, other than a possible volunteer gig a few hours south of Lima, where we wanted to head, but had to choose another stop in between...
We figured we'd head back to Nazca for a night, and therefor, skip traveling into the Andes again. We grabbed a quick bite to eat at the bus terminal, in the form of more empanadas, and then jumped on our 7:30 bus to Nazca.
We awoke to the sound of "Nazca, Nazca" being yelled by the bus driver, and we hopped out, onto the heated sands of the Nazca desert once again, only this time, coming from the opposite direction. We found a fairly cheap hostel for the night, at "Nasca Inn," only about 5 blocks from the center of town, where we cooked some dinner, and hung out with two other travelers for the evening, a guy from Japan, and a Swede.
With wifi access, I emailed the HelpX posting once again, and told the owner we were on our way, which he had said was fine, whenever we wanted...Our trip was almost over, but not before doing a little more volunteer work, thankfully, because we're getting pretty broke!