I´ve never been in a propper desert before. I couldn´t even imagine, how desperate a place can feel. And despite all that, there are people living there!
There is nothing but dust, yet you see people walking by the road, you see their little shelters and numerous, numerous posters.
These photos are from a 50 hours bus ride from Lima to Santiago. It is doable.
We took a Bus Sur cama bus to Tacna. (That is actually important, the seats in cama are so big and so comfortable, but semi cama is a normal bus. Still ok, but after 40 hours tall people may have some issues.)
To cross the boarder from Peru to Chile we hopped on a shared taxi and drove all the way down. We stayed overnight in Arica, which is a pretty chilled beach town at the border and then continued to Santiago. We booked the bus directly on the bus staion, there are many many bus companies that go all the way to Santiago.
It was the time when we were counting the conversion rate wrong, so we though everything was cheap. Well, turns out that it is a bit more than we thought…but hey, we hada good time.
NOTE: you can only pee in the toilet on the bus. 😀 I am happy to announce that nothing dramatical has happened. Also if you are going to trave this route, make sure you have plenty of water. The bus doesn´t stop and we were given more limonade than actual water. Also I´d recommend spending more time in Arica as there are apparently more sights to visit.