Driving around Antofagasta/Atacama region

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2014Chile
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Driving around Antofagasta/Atacama region

Post by 2014Chile » Sun Feb 16, 2014 8:16 pm

I'll be in Chile for a few weeks in March and want to see some of the sights around the Atacama Desert. I'm starting from Antofagasta and renting a car. Judging by what I see on Google Street View (amazing coverage for some out-of-the-way places!), the major roads in the area appear to be in good shape. However, Google Maps gives some VERY long travel time estimates for some trips. For example, the distance given for Antofagasta to San Pedro de Atacama is 309km, but the driving time is 5 hours and 46 minutes - that's an average speed of ~54kph!

My understanding is that the speed limits should be 100kph-120kph. Can someone tell me if that is not the case for that area and those roads? (Ruta 26, 5, and 25.) Perhaps someone can even give me an estimate on the driving time from Antofagasta to San Pedro de Atacama? Thanks!

Sean

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zer0nz
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Re: Driving around Antofagasta/Atacama region

Post by zer0nz » Sun Feb 16, 2014 8:20 pm

Yeah, google maps predictions are way out!. Thats normal,

Budget 1 hour 10 minutes per 100km in main chilean motorways and you will be easily on target, actually with room for photo stops, bathroom breaks etc!

Donnybrook
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Re: Driving around Antofagasta/Atacama region

Post by Donnybrook » Sun Feb 16, 2014 9:50 pm

Antofagasta to Calama by bus is about 3-3.5 hours and Calama to San Pedro another 1.5 hrs. I doubt you will be able to go 100 kph on the Calama to SPA road.

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Re: Driving around Antofagasta/Atacama region

Post by HybridAmbassador » Mon Feb 17, 2014 3:19 pm

It seems the Buses traversing around Chile, the max speed is up to, 100kph. The Bus I took both ways from Santiago~Valdivia and from Valdivia~Santiago all sped up to 99 kph.! The 180 degree full reclining seat was very
comfortable and slept like a baby!
HybridAmbassador. Toyota Hybrid system for helping climate change.

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Aguila Blanca
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Re: Driving around Antofagasta/Atacama region

Post by Aguila Blanca » Thu Jun 26, 2014 5:33 pm

I've driven from Antofagasta to san Pedro and even including a brief stop in Calama to look up an old friend of my wife's, I don't think it took us six hours. My recollection is that the road was decent and traffic was almost non-existent.

2014Chile
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Re: Driving around Antofagasta/Atacama region

Post by 2014Chile » Thu Jun 26, 2014 8:54 pm

It was an easy drive from Antofagasta to San Pedro de Atacama - I think it was under 5 hours (I should have taken better notes!) The highway is in great shape and traffic was sparse, but there were a lot of slow trucks. We rented a little Chevy Aveo and you needed A LOT of distance to pass *anything* - I wish I had rented something with more power!

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ryanar
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Re: Driving around Antofagasta/Atacama region

Post by ryanar » Fri Jun 27, 2014 12:26 pm

The first time I drove from Antofagasta to SPdA (2010), our average speed was probably not much more than 50kph. The road had large sections in horrible condition and there were signs indicating a maximum speed of something like 70kph, which of course everyone except me ignored.

In 2012, the road was undergoing major repairs and clearly that is now finished, hence 2014Chile saying it is now an easy drive.

Hope you enjoyed the Atacama region Sean. It is majorly under-rated!

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