Subject: Re: Travel in Chile
Hi Ziners,

Maria. Southern Chile is magnificent as others have already said, however I agree with Alex about the weather down there being potentially unpleasant when you are planning to go. I support his suggestion about visiting the Atacama desert in Northern Chile, where it will be dry, crisp and sunny. You can get tours from the main tourist centre there which is San Pedro de Atacama- lots of info at http://www.sanpedroatacama.com/ingles/home.htm The quickest way to reach San Pedro de Atacama is to fly from Santiago to Calama (100 km from San Pedro) but Chile also has excellent long distance bus services which are much cheaper - e.g. see http://www.turbus.com

If you have time you could also get a tour from San Pedro to the Salar de Uyuni (magnficent salt lake) in Bolivia and get off at Uyuni, from where you can get a train to Oruro and bus to La Paz, or bus all the way to La Paz. It's a good road by Bolivian standards. From La Paz (if you had time) you could get a bus to Cusco in Peru, stopping at one of the villages on the shore of Lake Titicaca (perhaps Cocacabana) on the way. If you still had enough time you could go to Machu Pichu for as long or short a time as you wanted from Cusco. I think you'd need 2 weeks to do all that comfortably. Another option, as already suggested, is to get a bus from San Pedro to Salta in NW Argentina (about 12 hrs) and spend time there.

A good general site for tourism information in Chile is http://www.chipsites.com/Travel/index.htm

Have a good trip, Chile, Bolivia and Argentina are all beautiful countries very well worth a visit. I'm sure Peru is too, I just haven't been there yet!

Michael Sydney, Australia