Calama City, Chile

The city of Calama is in the middle of a desert. We travelled for an hour and a half from San Pedro de Atacama where we were staying to arrive in Calama and saw nothing but dry, dusty, desert with virtually no vegetation. Only a few tuffs of grass poked up here and there in a place that gets only 1mm of rainfall annually.

road through desert
The road from San Pedro to Calama is surrounded by desert.

Calama is the city that feeds the worlds largest open cut mine with workers. There used to be a township at Chiquicamata before the mine grew so big that they relocated everybody there to Calama. Calama also is home to the end of the railway line that comes from Bolivia.

Here, the internet is fast, the prices are cheap and the facilities are many, in stark contrast to San Pedro. But this place is just one more city. San Pedro has character and is quiet and relaxing.

road to the mine
The road leading out to the Chuquicamata mines.

main plaza
Part of the main plaza of Calama, easily found by the high steeple on the church behind that can be seen from most parts of the city.

more desert
Just outside the city lies desert and nothing but desert.

bus lady with dog
A beloved dog that gets to sleep wherever it likes. This is the counter for bus tickets back to San Pedro de Atacama.

yellow taxis
Only the yellow taxis will take you out to the Chuqi mines.