Spring Break South American Style

Rachel Zalkind
November 10, 2014

Wait, what? Yeah, the concept of Spring Break in September was confusing to me too.
I only had to remember I was in the Southern Hemisphere to get back on track. IES Abroad was kind enough to schedule us a mid-semester, week-long break to explore without the stress of classes.

After a lot of debate, four friends and I teamed up to adventure to Northern Chile, specifically, San Pedro de Atacama. We were looking for somewhere relaxing, simple, and filled with activities to do. And we found it. Traveling to and from was quite the process since we had to go from Buenos Aires, to Santiago, to Calama, then take a bus to San Pedro de Atacama. However, it was well worth it. The dry desert air and warm temperatures were perfect for hiking, biking, relaxing, eating, and stargazing! Usually people don’t spend more than a few days in San Pedro, but we had no regrets or troubles spending our whole break there. We found a hostel to call home and a hostel mamá of our own. It was a really fun, active, and relaxing trip.

Here’s our day-by-day itinerary:

Day 1: Completed the crazy journey to San Pedro and got settled at our hostel. It took extra long to get there since we spent the night (8 hour layover) at the Santiago airport. We did it for FUN and because it made sense logistically.

Day 2: Biked to Pukara de Quitor ruins and hiked. Then in the afternoon, we took a tour to Valle de la Luna and watched the sunset at Piedra de la Coyote.

Day 3: Relaxed in the morning then tried sandboarding in Valle de la Muerte followed by another sunset at Piedra de la Coyote.

Day 4: Walk to Quitor Ruins and hike the long trail instead of the short one.

Day 5: Journeyed to the Termas de Puritama on a CRAZY bus. The roads were crazy not the driver. The termas were so relaxing and perfect though.

Day 6: Biked to Garganta del Diablo canyon where we walked, climbed, and made dog friends.

Day 7: Early morning tour to Geysers de Tatio. We had to wake up at 3:30am to take a FREEZING bus ride to the high altitude geysers. All because they are most active early in the day. Luckily, the sun came up, they fed us breakfast, we stopped shivering, and after, we got to swim in natural hot springs!

Day 8: Taking in San Pedro and souvenir shopping. The plaza was alive with traditional Chilean dancing, and the market in San Pedro was great for shopping.

Day 9: Make the journey home and prepare for more school!


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Rachel Zalkind

<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Hi everyone, my name is Rachel but some of my friends call me Rach, Chel, Chela, or sass-master (....maybe we should just stick to Rachel?). I&#39;m a Colorado girl who has fallen in love with Northern California while attending Santa Clara University. If you&#39;re curious, I&#39;m a junior working towards a degree in Marketing with minors in Entrepreneurship and International Studies. This fall I&#39;m trading the comforts of campus for the amazing opportunity to study abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I&#39;m excited to test out city living and carry over my interest in photographing, eating good food, and exploring as much as possible!</span></p>

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