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24 Hour Bus Ride of Luxury in Chile – Santiago to Iquique

Posted by on March 9, 2011

This post is for Tuesday October 5th, 2010.

A 9am bus ride is never great in my books. Worse is with an hangover, and worse still is when it’s a 24 hour bus ride. However, despite feeling very, very sorry for myself, we found our bus, and boarded it in time for a ride north to the seaside town of Iquique. As I metioned in my last post, Iquique was a convenient break in a trip which we wanted to take to La Paz, Bolivia. There were a few other options as well (La Serena, for example) but in the end bus companies, timeframes and prices meant this worked the best for us.

Can you believe this is a bus?

Can you believe this is a bus?

Now I realise people will criticise this in some regards – why splash out when you’re a backpacker? I believe that even backpackers and in some cases flashpackers (more on that term later) deserve to give themselves a treat when travelling every so often. Most of the time I was focused on reducing costs in hostel stays and food and the like, but I’d been eyeing this up for a while. And as I pointed out on the trip down to Puerto Madryn, to go up a class on a bus is not much in UK terms – the 20 hour one in Argentina cost £3 more to go up, for example. Sure, semi-cama is the mode of choice most of the time, but on the other hand, not trying it meant another thing I’d be missing out on – and I hate doing that 😉

Immediately upon boarding the bus however, we were clearly in for a treat. We’d settled on the Pullman bus company, after looking at Tur Bus and others, but there were few tickets available and Full Cama Premium needed trying – if only the one time. Firstly, there were movies playing continuously – sometimes even in English! Secondly, our seats folded out into full length beds! We had curtains, blankets and pillows! The only downside compared with Argentinian companies like AndesMar was that we had to supply our own food.

Chiliean sunset

Chiliean sunset

I crashed out for about four hours, which was probably a good thing. After that it was just a case of chilling, chatting, watching movies and looking out the window. While it was mostly desert and rocks and sea, it was still interesting to look at – constantly changing, and beautiful to see. The sunset was spectacular, and sleep was good that night.

Interestingly, I was once again following in Blair’s footsteps (bus treads?) – on that fateful day in July, he was on a bus to Iquique, before heading to La Paz.

Just before sunrise on the Tuesday we woke again, and the driver / host managed to play a couple more bootlegged films (The Expendables included!) before we finally pulled in at Iquique.

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5 Responses to 24 Hour Bus Ride of Luxury in Chile – Santiago to Iquique

  1. Lisa @chickybus

    I took that same bus (well, one of those 24-hour buses) many years ago and loved it. I felt like I was (sort of) flying first class (especially compared to so many buses I’d taken before.). It was nice to sleep for a change.
    Lisa @chickybus recently posted..Coming Back to Life at the Dead Sea

  2. Mehboob Ahmed

    I want to travel from Santiago to Iquique by bus. Any body can tell how much, how long is it and the best services too.

  3. sam

    Hi – just wondering were the roads that you travelled on dangerous??

    • Mark Mayo

      Hi Sam. Not really – the roads were fairly straight and decent condition. Far better than some of the ones in Bolivia, that’s for sure. Didn’t feel concerned at all, if that’s what you’re after :)

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