chilean road

23 hours to Arica [YQrtw Day 87 Jul 5]

Location: Arica, Chile

Bus to Arica from La Serena
Bus to Arica from La Serena

Arica is a town near the Chile-Peru border, about 2,073.5 km from Santiago. After my very expensive flight from Buenos Aires to Santiago, I decided that I will take the bus for long-distance travel.

For me, while sitting on the bus for 23 hours is torturous, it is not as torturous as forking out a large chunk of the remaining of my savings. That was how I found myself on seat 20 on a semi-cama bus.

I broke down the journey into two: Santiago to La Serena and La Serena to Arica. Somehow, 23 hours of journey felt better than 30 hours straight on the bus.

I decided not to do a post similar to 31 hours of travelling because I get motion sickness when I try to read or write on a vehicle with wheels. I wish I didn’t have this problem since I would be able to read a lot more books when travelling.

I was seated next to a Chilean guy with large arms. I still had the aisle to put the rest of my arm and my feet so it wasn’t that bad.

On the bus, I managed to watch A Good Day to Die Hard and Hitchcock in Spanish. The first film didn’t require much listening skills since it’s all about blowing things up. Thankfully I’ve watched Hitchcock on the plane before.

Tur-Bus has a built in warning system that rings whenever the bus goes more than 100km/hour. There is a beeeeeep and the bus would slow down a little.

The bus was had air conditioning, which was great since I believe we passed through many places where the temperature was really cold. At one point, we were driving among the fog/clouds on a windy mountain road.

Condensation on the window
Condensation on the window
Road to the North
Road to the North
One way road
One way road

When we stopped at terminals to pick up people, I would go off the bus to breathe some of the cold fresh air. Ventilation on the bus wasn’t fantastic.

Some shiny town
Some shiny town
Some small town
Some small town

Food on a 23-hour bus ride

Some snacks and breakfast was included in my bus ride. However, the food provided was not enough to satisfy even a sedentary adult.

Breakfast on Tur-Bus: Spaghetti
Breakfast on Tur-Bus: Spaghetti
Snack box on Tur-Bus
Snack box on Tur-Bus
Chilena biscuit with dulce de leche filling
Chilena biscuit with dulce de leche filling

I had 6 green apples from Santiago and munched on them when I felt a bit of motion sickness. The sweet juicy apples helped keep things from coming up my throat.

Arriving in Arica

I figured out we were in Arica when everybody got off the bus. I only had 10,000 notes and 60 cents with me so I broke my note by topping up 1,000 peso on my phone.

Armed with a few 1,000 pesos, I followed the directions from the hostel and went to the opposite side of the road. Bus #8 came, I got on, asking in terrible Spanish if the bus went to the road I was going to. It did.

Using Google Maps [Tip! Save a spot on your app and the map for the area will still be there when you need it.], I found my hostel. I checked in, took a shower, tried to blog, napped and woke up for dinner. I had to walk to the main street for some local fast food but my belly thanked me for putting something–anything!–in it.

I’m now finishing up this post in my 12-bed (beds, not bunk beds, thankfully) in Arica Surfhouse. There’s no heating here but the temperature feels like a nice 17 degrees.

Buenos noches.

More about Liau Yun Qing

Yun Qing is a writer, improviser and curious person. She loves finding little adventures in life. In 2013, she went on a 130-day round-the-world trip. She wrote a book to help those who also want to go on a career break.

1 Comment

    1. Hi Yun Qing,

      Realised you are a Sabahan & me too :)

      I will visit Chile this year end & would like to know how was the 23 hours’ bus ride like? I plan to do the same bus route too. Any advice for me?

      Also, if possible, would definitely be glad if you email privately to me as you have my email here.

      May have some other advice needed from you too :)

      Thanks in advance

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