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Seeking Hostel Recommendation for San Pedro de Atacama
I´m currently in Salta, Argentina. I´m staying at the Hostal de las Nebes. Nice place, friendly owners, less than 4 blocks from the main square, secure parking for motos - recommended.
I will be touring this area (Salta, Cafayate, Valles Calchaquies, Cachi, Jujuy) over the next week, then heading over Paso de Jama to San Pedro de Atacama.
I am looking for biker friendly hostel recommendations for San Pedro that will accept incoming mail (snail mail - not the electronic kind) from home. Email would also be nice to have but not essential.
My experience of San Pedro was not to 'valuable'. There were allot of places to stay, they all charged an incredible amount. They were also all full. There were a few decent places to eat - but all charged an insane price. I ended up paying about US$10 per night to put my tent at the back of a hostal. If you have to wait somewhere for mail, I do not recommend San Pedro.
Anywhere you end up should accept mail.
Sorry I could not be more help - or more positive - about San Pedro.
Totally agree with Dirty Deeds, the whole village is geared to ripping off the youngsters on the "Gringo trail" even the book exchange was the most expensive that I came across in the Americas. Coming across from Argentina I would stop in the motel at the halfway (ish) point, also a bit expensive but at 4000+ metres the night sky is mindblowing then after checking in at the immigration office in San Pedro I would carry on to the next big town. Last time I was in Chile I picked up a package from the poste restante section of the main post office in Santiago so I would check for a similar arrangement at the next big town that you are going to pass through. Ride safe.
I camped at a proper camp site and even that was expensive! If you've already seen a desert oasis town like Ica, skip San Pedro. I camped at an oasis campground just outside of town. I think it was something like $10-15 a night and that was after my riding buddy started begging for a discount because he was raising money for charity.
Though I hear the backpacker party scene is good if you're into that.
A bit more than a month ago we stayed in Hostal Puritama which, surprise-surprise, was terribly expensive, about 30 000 Chilean pesos for a double room. We asked about the possibility to camp there (a couple of bikers actually camped there) but they told us no, don't know why. Otherwise, bike parking is safe (behind the locked gate), there is WiFi in the courtyard, and in the morning you are allowed to use the kitchen. On the negative side, water (also cold) is cut from 11 at night till morning.
I've stopped for the day and I'm at the Hotel Pastos Chicos, in Susques, Argentina, a mining town on Hwy 52 near the Chilean border at about 4000 meters. I'll be crossing over into Chile tomorrow through the Jama pass.
I spoke with a group of Argentianina ridres when I arrived here. They had just come through the pass and said it was quite cold. They said there was quite a bit of snow on the side of the road but the road itself was clear. So I decided to attempt the Jama pass tomorrow.
I have to agree with your comments. It too has been my experience that much of the Gringo Trail, especially in Chile, is rather expensive. Argentina, particularly in the Patagonia, is expensive as well, but it doesn't yet match Chilian prices. And when they think you have money (ie, own a BMW, even a national) there are no deals.
Moto Aventura in Osorno, Chile, for example, charged me $120 (that's dollars, not pesos) for 4 litres of synthetic oil and $60 for a BMW oil filter. I was there to pick up parts for my Hepco Becker top case. The cost of the HB parts were reasonable and I didn't think to ask the price of the oil and filter before they did the oil change. Lesson learned.
And in Santiago I saw various BMW parts costing 3 times as much as they do in North America. For example, Stateside, a replacement windshield is less than US$300. In Santiago it's over US$1,300 (that's US dollars). And just to be sure, I had an independent mechanic confirm the prices for me. But I digress.
So I am not the least bit surprised at the prices in San Pedro de Atacama. But this is where important mail from home will be arriving.
Welcome to the rest of the world. Now you know how good you guys have it. For us non-yanks it's a contant source of frustration every time you check for a price in the US. The postage companier are making a killing on it.
Back on topic. San Perdro is a pit for the hardy traveller, and a relief for the tired traveller. Plenty of hostels. You get heaps better value for accomodation in Calama up the road. BUT you have to stay in Calama. It's all a trade off.
I'm in San Pedro now (travelling by bicycle), and I found a campsite for 2000 pesos per person (maybe more in the Oct-Feb high season though), Camping San Francisco, a few blocks south of the plaza along Toconao street. Really basic facilities though, just a dusty backyard really, with tarps strung up for shade. There's space to roll your bike inside the yard though. It'll do the job cheaply in the event that you want to stay in town for a little while. There are cheap places to eat lunch (1500 pesos) behind the bus/taxi "terminal" near the big soccer field. So you can stay around here cheaply if you want. Grocery selection is atrocious at the little shops here though... I'll need to make a quick trip to Calama and back just to stock up at a real supermarket before I head through the lagunas to Uyuni!
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