Six hours in Calama

We left Arica last night on an overnight bus and though we have our bus routine down by now, we never get a fully restful sleep. When we arrive in Calama at 9 am, we stumble off the bus dazed. We’ve got only six hours before a flight from Calama to Santiago–an unfortunately already-booked holdover from when we originally planned to visit San Pedro de Atacama.

For most people, Calama is a stop along the way to the famed San Pedro de Atacama, so there isn’t much tourism infrastructure here. The town’s┬áprimary industry is copper mining and the metal appears everywhere, from embellishments in the sidewalk to souvenirs available in the shops. As a complement to copper’s reds, the sun’s rays here cast an intense orange hue over the desert town.

Here are the photos from our scarce six hours in Calama:


We arrive at the bus depot in Calama
A family shops at a local market


People look for work on a jobs board
A guy poses for a photo
Street art in an alley off the Eleuterio Ramirez, the city’s main main pedestrian street


A man works on renovations in Calama’s main pedestrian street


More street art off of the main pedestrian street
The El Loa Airport in Calama, complete with copper paneling and an advertisement for mining tech
Two copper rings we purchased as souvenirs

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