This town was the perfect place to relax after four days of sleeping in cars and buses. What I really liked about this place was not the beach (maybe because it was overcast and winter so nobody was there) but the main plaza and town itself. We stayed at a hostel called Hostal El Arbol that we found off the app iOverlander and we were lucky there were a few beds in the cheapest room available for around $13 USD per night! This hostel reminded me of what it would be like staying at a friend’s grandma’s house because of how small and quaint it was. In the morning one of the older women that worked there would want us to sit down right away so she could make our breakfast. We had oatmeal, cereal, coffee, fresh juice, bread all served with a smile.
The plaza was less than 10 minute away and we spent our days strolling around the cobblestone streets. On the first day we went to a grocery store close by called Liders that is actually Walmart! Let’s just say Matt was not pleased and even if the groceries were maybe a little bit cheaper we decided to never go to one while traveling again. We made a pact of no Starbucks, McDonalds, Burger King or Walmarts because we want to give back to the communities we are staying in and not the big corporations taking over towns globally. Going around to the different shops and stores around the city and just sitting at the plaza people watching we just let the hours slip on before ending the night with a great home cooked meal by Matt. I will give it to Matt because neither of us realized how much cooking we were going to be do on these travels but luckily Matt loves experimenting with food and I love eating food so we are a good team.
The next day we hit the town again and just explored the endless blocks before making our way to the huge fruit and vegetable market! It happens a few times per week and we were happy to be there on one of those day. So many stalls all serve the same items so just got to look out for the prices to make sure you are getting the cheapest and freshest vegetables as possible. That same day we walked down to the beach where it is a ghost town since it had been overcast the whole day. We walked for miles along the water just to get some cardio in and we made it to the neighboring town of Coquimbo to visit their fish market. There were tons of ceviche stalls and restaurants and we ate at one of the restaurants that many locals were eating at as well and we just asked for El Menu Del Dia (the menu of the day, which was fish, rice and soap).
I wish we could have said we did the some of the tours but we decided to skip out on any offered in this area. Traveling in countries where it costs more to do everything we are learning to say no to more things and yes to things we really want to do and can afford. Traveling on a budget means learning to be smart about your money to make it last as long as possible especially if our goal is to travel at least 1 year. I was happy to be pretty lazy and relaxed in this town for three nights because we knew next 6 hours away was the biggest city in Chile we were visiting for 7000 pesos ($11 USD)… Santiago!
5) Rainbow Mountain, Cusco, Sacred Valley
6) Machu Pichu
1) Copacabana and Isla Del Sol
2) La Paz
1) San Pedro De Atacama
4) La Serena
5) Puerto Iquazu
6) Buenos Aires