We left San Pedro de Atacama yesterday at 11:30 a.m. and arrived in Calama at 1 p.m. in the afternoon. Calama is a town (small city) of approximately 150,000 residents, but appears much larger when compared to San Pedro’s population of only 5,000 people. I read an online post from a visitor that compared Calama to Las Vegas . . . I had to laugh.
I know Las Vegas and Calama is no Las Vegas. Okay it’s in the middle of a desert, but that is the only similarity (trust me). People keep asking us why we chose to spend four nights here, because most people just pass through, or spend a single night, on the way to somewhere else. The reasons aren’t too complex.
Our next destination is the beach town of La Serena, and it’s a fifteen hour bus trip from Calama. Our time in San Pedro was spent exploring and photographing the desert, and we were on the go constantly (often early in the morning until late at night). I also managed to tweak my lower back again (a lifelong problem). Frankly, we needed the rest.
When we Googled “things to do in Calama” the number one attraction was the world’s largest “open pit” copper mine, and number two was the local shopping mall. We visited the mall this morning, and will take a pass on the mine (I don’t relish the thought of seeing Mother Nature raped once again).
Note: I did not take the attached photos of Calama or the “open pit” copper mine, they are file photos I found online. SFD
Stephen F. Dennstedt
Photographer, Writer, World Traveller