La Serena – or how plans completely changed…

Thinking, that I could finally leave Santiago, I took a bus to La Serena, which was 500km North. My plans would have been to go stargazing and visiting a Pisco factory in the Elqui-Valley and then continue to San Pedro de Atacama to cross the border to Bolivia. But plans changed.

After arriving in the hostel, I was looking around in town and found a small, chilled city center. The beach was a 15 min walk away, which was also not too bad. On the first evening I heard already, that there were some thunderstorms between La Serena and San Pedro de Atacama. Not really thinking about it, I booked a tour for stargazing in the Elqui Valley the next day. After a quiet night in the hostel, me and all the other guys in the hostel heard on the news that it was supposed to be the worst thunderstorms in the South of the Atacama desert since 80 years. Parts of some cities as well as the mainroad, which connected Santiago with the North have been destroyed. So no buses to San Pedro.
Also my tour to the Elqui Valley was cancelled, because there were also some thunderstorms and one of the bridges into the Valley have been destroyed. In the meantime more and more people with the plan to continue to San Pedro arrived at the hostel. As we heard some rumours that the roads should be open again in two days, we all decided to wait. We spent the time with relaxing at the (dirty) beach and visiting the neightbour town Coqimbo. On Saturday, my 3rd day in La Serena, it was clear, that there were no buses going to the North within the next days. We were discussing and looking for other options. Either going back by bus to Argentina and cross the border to Bolivia via Salta or flying somewhere to the North of Chile. I would have planned to fly to Antofogasta, just North of the problem zone and continue by bus from there to San Pedro. As the cheapest flight I could find was roughly 200€, I decided together with some other guys from the hostel to go back to Santiago by bus and fly from there directly to La Paz for 140€.

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