Caldera is one hour and $3 away from Copiapó and about half the population of Copiapó has a beach house there, including my family. In summer it's the refuge from the hot, still heat of the desert city. It comes alive with parties at night. But at this time of the year, clouds blanket the city and there are fewer people. There are three parts to the Caldera area. Numero uno is Caldera, a port town of about 20,000 people. There's a little beach and obviously a port, plus houses a plaza, restaurants and a smattering of shops. Then a few minutes drive away is Playa Loreto. There, there is a small diary, the streets are simply sand, and it consists mainly of holiday houses. There's a ciclorama which leads you to Bahia Inglesa, a beautiful beach with turquoise water, white sand. There are shops and cafes, but it's still quite small, although it fills up in summer. These three towns are simply there. The desert merges into the beach and the towns just pop up. The view is quite spectacular.
On Saturday we met at the bus terminal to take the bus to Caldera. Upon arriving, we had lunch at a 'local', which is like a cheap restaurant that sells food, fast-food style. Fried empanadas, hamburgers and the like. I ate churrasco, which is like a hamburger but with thin slices of beef.
While my host sister and her friend went to buy the food for the night, Krista, me and Sabina went to the bach in Loreto to open everything up and scare away the poisonous spiders.
Once everyone was back in the house, we figured out how to turn on the gas and electricity and then decided to walk to Bahia Inglesa. Giulia was staying with her host family at the beach and her host sister dropped her off at our bach.
Outside the wind was howling and my awesome stripy pants did not keep me warm! We started to walk the long 40 minute walk to Bahia but gave up when a colectivo came along and squeezed everyone into one car.
It was really cold and windy!
At the Bahia, not much swimming got done because it was so cold, so instead we bought supplies for the night and returned to Loreto.
The food was incredibly yummy, I made fajitas, brownie and potato chips, which was a satisfying meal, while we played cards, ate, and talked. But after a while we decided to take the party down to the beach, where we rolly-pollied down the sand. Very childish, I know! We took millions of photos.
Just some of the 1000000000 photos we took at the beach
Giulia's host parents invited us to their bach, so we spent a few hours with olives to eat and little glass of piña colada, playing the grocery game, except this time it was about getting into the bus.
Then it was the pijama party phase of the night! Although really tired from all the exercise, we still all managed to stay awake to talk until late at night. As girls do!
The next morning passed lazily, we were all asleep until at least 11am, then we breakfasted and cleaned and arranged the house. Then this time we actually did walk to Bahia. We had lunch at Sabina's bach, then went to swim in the freezing water and to see the oyster festival. TV cameras filmed Sabina and Pamela, and today they'll be on the local news station. Unfortunatly by 3pm the festival was pretty much dead and we only got one oyster each.
My host dad came to Bahia, then we returned to the bach and packed everything up, then went to Chorillos, a beach a few kilometres south of Bahia. You drive off the highway, over a road made of sand, then get out of the car, walk 15 minutes over rocks, and finally you arrive at a picturesque bay. It was worth the intrepid travel, for sure. There were even grass and plants!
We walked on (and climbed up) rocks for a few more minutes, to be able to sit on a rock on the edge of the rockface, and watch as the waves crashed onto the rocks. Exhilarating, although a little bit scary.
The drive back to Copiapó was a little bit sad as we had all had way too much fun on Saturday night, however we all promised that we would do it again!