Tales of Travel in Argentina

It was 3.50pm by the time I called the taxi agency again. Where was that taxi that they had promised me for 3.45? My bus was leaving at 4.07pm and with a 10 minute drive from here to the terminal, time was getting tight. It shouldn’t have been this way, as I had already arranged everything, which would have given me plenty of time to get down there. Now, as the phone rang, I wondered what had happened to my driver.

The same young girl who had taken my first call and booked the taxi answered the phone again. I introduced myself, “Hi, I’m from the Quintas,” I said, “and I would like to know where my taxi is?” The moment I finished those words, there was a gasp and then a flurry of activity on the other side of the telephone, before she squeaked, “Oh! The Quintas! Yes! The Quintas! Oh my…! I’m sending a car now!” and with that she hung up.

Looking at Madryn city from the Quintas

The view of Puerto Madryn City from the Quintas. It is normally a 10 minute drive to town.

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Heading Northward – Arica and Tacna

Arriving in Arica was a welcome relief to our tired bodies, tired of the travel and hungry for some decent food. So the first thing we did was store our backpacks and head to town for a hearty meal. Arica has some lovely beaches which are very tempting, although we only ever got to see them from a distance. Lunch was our priority.

The beach at Arica
The beaches of Arica, Chile.

Lunch was a hearty meal in some small restaurant in front of the local train station. Only two trains leave per day so our restaurant was not even remotely busy when we stopped by. A huge plate of rice, meat, salad, and fried potato chips combined with Peru’s unique Inka Cola softdrink went a long way to appease the hunger that we all had. Some icecreams afterwards helped fill up any remaining holes.

Paul ready to eat
Paul salivating over our delicious lunch… after days of bus food.

After lunch we wandered through the city centre and looked around for some tax-free shopping. Iquique is the city with tax-free everything and after looking around we could not find anything that was truly tax-free other than stoves and fridges. Wandering through the back streets we find our way back to the bus terminal, grab our bags and then head off to the other, international terminal, to take a taxi to Peru.

The main mall of Arica
The main mall of Arica, Chile.

wandering through the streets
Wandering through the streets trying to find our way back to the bus terminal.

Crossing the border to Tacna was without any problems at all. I had expected it to involve a thorough search of our bags and other checks for duty-free items, but since Tacna is also part of the tax-free zone, we only needed to get our passports stamped and were through.

In the international taxi to Tacna
Riding in the taxi on the way from Chile to Peru.

Peru border crossing
Arriving at the Peruvian border crossing.

Upon reaching Peru, the prices of everything dropped considerably. We were all exhausted so we bought bus tickets for the next day and then found ourselves a $10 soles per night room in a residential setting. Our night involved a wander around the markets and the town centre and then going out for a big meal of wood-fire cooked pizza. It was delicious.

Everything closed at night
During the night most of the shops were closed.

Breakfast at the markets
Eating breakfast the next day at the markets.

The next day we returned to the markets and picked up some very cheap bits and pieces. I grabbed some stuff for computers, while the girls were more focused on the clothes and leg-hair-pullers and stuff like that. It was tough trying to find each other in the labrynth of small shops within the markets, and by the time we all got together again our bus was about to leave. So with packaging and bags flying everywhere, we all jam our newly acquired stuff into our bags and race out to the bus terminal ready to start the next leg of our journey… to Lima.

Paul happy with his purchases
Paul returning from the markets, very happy with his purchases.

The city centre
The only part we got to see during the day of the city, because of our rush to catch the bus.