It is a normal bus route, but it feels like it’s a sightseeing ride. Currently 2 bus companies operate this route: Gemini and Pullman (which we took). Departures are approximately 3 times a week (810 ARP), but in some moths buses are cancelled because of bad weather and road conditions.
The journey starts in Salta at 7:00. After about 2 hours and a bus breakfast we reached the colourful hills near Jujuy. It’s amazing how the colour of the rock changes from red to pink, yellow, grey and green. If you sit on the left side, you’ll get a good view. Then the bus starts ascending and the winding road reaches 4150 meters above sea level – the highest point of the journey. First lamas and alpacas and giant cacti greeted us when we started to drive down. Soon the big salt flats of Argentina can be seen and after a while we reached them and drove through. Unfortunately no photo stop.
After about 6 hours lunch was served (sandwich, juice, muffin), we got immigrations forms to fill out and the landscape became a bit boring, except in the distance where white tips of the Andean giants were visible.
At the border control everyone has to leave the bus and go through immigration with all the luggage. Be prepare for waiting in line (and if you’re from a lesser known country, speak Spanish). Afterwards the journey to San Pedro de Atacama takes about 2 hours more. Arrival time around 16:30.