Sunny Days Hostel in Arica, Chile

Arica is the gateway to Chile… …no wait, the gateway to Peru! Or is it Bolivia? If you visit this northernmost Chilean city, chances are you are crossing Chile to/from Peru or Bolivia.  The Sunny Days Hostel in Arica is in a very convenient location to do just that, a short walk from the national and the international bus station.

sunny days hostel

But there is more to Arica than just being a transit layover. As the hostel name suggest, it almost never rains in Arica. On the other hand, it doesn’t get too hot in the “city of eternal spring”, even though it is situated at the edge of the Desierto de Atacama. Add 20km of beaches and nice waves and you’ve got yourself a surfer’s paradise.

No matter if you want to stay a night to catch the bus next morning or stay a month to catch the famous wave “El Gringo” each morning, Sunny Days Hostel welcomes you. Or rather Ross from New Zealand, the owner and host, welcomes you with a smile, a joke and a free all you can eat breakfast to his living room. Or is it the hostel’s living room? The distinction is blurred and doesn’t matter.

The living room

Spacious doesn’t cut it as a description for this living room and the huge communal area with public kitchen in the second house next door or the second fully equipped kitchen on the top floor or the rooftop terrace or the rooms themselves. Bring an elephant or two, if you like. They will hardly register.

Sunny Days Hostel owner Ross is a wealth of information about things to do in and around Arica, having lived here for 12 years. He can also provide you with information about the nearby Parque Nacional Lauca. If you can’t make it all the way down south to Patagonia, Parque Lauca is supposed to be the next best thing for outdoor lovers visiting Chile.

The upper floor kitchen

Enjoy some sunny days in Sunny Days Arica.

Services:

  • Free breakfast (continental + cereals)
  • WiFi
  • Internet Computers
  • 2 fully equipped kitchens
  • Book exchange
  • Cable TV
  • Towels
  • Security Lockers
  • Travel Information
  • Luggage Storage
  • Free Car Parking
  • Beach gear
  • Mountain bike hire

Address: Tomas Aravena 161, Poblacion Chinchorro – Arica, Chile

Directions: 2 blocks from the bus terminal next to the fresh market

Phone: (056) 58 2241038

Email: info@sunny-days-arica.cl

Website: www.sunny-days-arica.cl

A sunny day on the rooftop of Sunny Days Arica

Prices:

  • 6 Bed Mixed Dorm – 9,000 Chilean Pesos
  • Double/Twin Room with shared bathroom – 11,000 Chilean Pesos
  • Double/Twin Room with private bathroom – 13,000 Chilean Pesos
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The Final Superlatives

We’re still working on a big, cleverly and intelligently written sum-up of the whole darn adventure.  It’s hard though!  It is coming soon, but for now enjoy the final edition of our La Aventura Project superlatives!

Days in South and Central America: 217

Dollars Spent: $10,586.14

Average Dollars per day: $70.45

Countries Visited: 10

Books Read: 22 (Carrie), lost track (Zach)

Doctor visits: 1 (Zach), 0 (Carrie)

Things We Lost: More random stuff than we remember

Favorite Food: ceviche (Zach), pupusas (Carrie)

Favorite Beverage: Colombian coffee, Campos de Solana vino tinto from Tarija, Bolivia, and Flor de Caña rum from Nicaragua

Best Wildlife Sighting: dolphins on the cruise from Panamá to Colombia

Nicest People: Colombians and Salvadorans

Most Touristy Countries: Perú and Guatemala

Most American Retirees: Panamá

Scariest/Coolest Experience: the eruption of Tungurahua Volcano

Most Liver Damage: Loki Hostel

Biggest Personal Changes: dreadlocks and eating meat (Carrie), actually speaking a second language (Zach)

Longest Bus Marathon: 3 days almost-straight, Trinidad, Bolivia to Arequipa, Perú

Best Hostel: Hostal Las Olas in Copacabana, Bolivia

Best Place to Open Our Bar Someday: Canoa, Ecuador

Most Sobering Site: civil war museum in Perquín, El Salvador

Most Life-Changing Moment: getting engaged

Sweatiest We’ve Ever Been in Our Lives: Nicaragua

Most Expensive Country/Most Fast Food Places: Costa Rica

Most Breeds of Potatoes: Perú

Best Shopping: Panajachel, Nicaragua

Creepiest Hotel: the Auto Hotel in Sonsonate, El Salvador

Favorite Country in Central America: El Salvador

Favorite Country Overall: Ecuador!!!!!!!!!!!!

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2/3 Highlights!

So, due to our crazy schedule changes, we’re actually past the 2/3 mark on our trip :-(.  But, since we just left South America and are heading to Central, we figured now would be the most logical time to do our “Close-enough-to-2/3rds” superlatives!

Days in South America:  168

Dollars Spent (not including flight):

Countries Visited: 4

Books Read: 19 (Carrie), 12 (Zach)

Number of shirts left: 6 (Carrie), 3 (Zach)

Superlatives

Favorite Food: ceviche (Zach), llapingachos (Carrie)

Favorite Snack: corn/cheese pancake thingies from Ecuador

Favorite Beverage: Campos de Solana vino tinto from Tarija, Bolivia

Most Craved Food Currently: orange cheese (Carrie), sour cream (Zach)

Things We’re Most Excited For in USA:  friends, Netflix, cooking, baking (Carrie), telling stories to family and friends (Zach)

Most Annoying Phenomenon: staring people

Longest Bus Marathon: 3 days almost-straight, Trinidad, Bolivia to Arequipa, Perú

Favorite Activity: still The Inca Trail with The Southwest Circuit as a close second.

Nicest People: still Colombians

Favorite Big City: Lima, Perú

Favorite Small City: Cuzco, Perú

Dumpiest Town: Uyuni, Bolivia

Best Hostel: Hostal Las Olas in Copacabana, Bolivia

Best Place to Open Our Bar Someday: Canoa, Ecuador

Most Enjoyable Hike: Isla del Sol, Bolivia

Most Miserable Hike: Laguna Quilotoa, Ecuador

Most Controversial Post: Happy Birthday Blog

Worst Addiction: Fried chicken

Most Life-Changing Moment: getting engaged

Hottest Place: Colombian coast

Most Mosquitoes: Bolivian Amazon

Biggest Disappointment: Taganga, Colombia

Biggest Ripoff: Bus from Medellin to Santa Marta, Colombia during Easter week=130,000 COP ($70) per ticket

Still Our Favorite Country: Ecuador!!!!!!!  We love you!!!!

Goals for Central America

1. Not sweat to death!

2. Show Zach’s friend Steve a good time in Nicaragua!

3. Do more filming!

4. Improve our Spanish!

5. Make it home safely, and with a little bit of money left.

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¡La musica de Sud America!

We haven’t yet talked about the new songs and artists we’ve been exposed to during our journey.  Truth be told, we’re not huge fans of most popular Latin American music since most of it is so dance-oriented and we like more mellow stuff.  But, there are still a few songs that we can’t help but love!  Here’s a sampling of what we hear every day…

First, the #1 song in most of South America right now.  We heard this multiple times EVERY DAY in every country, despite the fact that it’s actually a Brazilian Portuguese song!  But it is super catchy and fun to sing along to in bars, so it kind of grew on us…

Next, my favorite song.  It’s not played too much and when we looked up the video we realized that’s probably because it’s from the ’80s, by some Mexican singer.  But it’s still awesome.

A Colombian band we were introduced to by our Couchsurfing host in Medellin.  They have a really unique cumbia/rap style, and they apparently played at South by Southwest last year.  Takin’ over the world!

And another really popular Brazilian pop song.  It’s also super catchy.  Funny we learned so many Portuguese songs without even going to Brazil!

This is by no means an exhaustive summary.  We haven’t included any traditional indigenous music here; maybe we’ll write about that later.  But there you have it, a brief sampler of the songs that are going to stay stuck in our heads for a long time!

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Arequipa, lovely and livable

Arequipa was exactly what we needed after out time in the jungle and our 60-hour bus marathon.  Coming from Bolivia, Peru seems ultra-modern and paradisiacal.  There’s fast Internet!  There’s soft serve ice cream!  What a dreamland.  We stayed for two nights in Arequipa, taking leisurely strolls around town and enjoying the fantastic architecture and mountain views.  Arequipa seemed to us a very modern, well-off, and livable city.  We’d love to go back and spend more time!

Arequipa's Plaza de Armas
Volcán El Misti behind the Plaza de Armas
City street
Cool tree/totem pole in Yanahuara neighborhood
Cathedral
Night view from our hostel's rooftop
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Bolivia Financial Summary

We spent a total of about $1441 in our 34 days in Bolivia.  That breaks down to $42.38 per day, or $21.19 per person per day.
A little bit over our budget of $15 per person per day, and there are two big reasons for that:
1. $135 per person visas to enter Bolivia
2. The Southwest Circuit tour totaled $206 apiece with the tour price, national park entrance fees, and tips.

We were kind of surprised to realize that we were over budget by this much, because actually, most things Bolivia are REALLY cheap.  If you subtract the visa fees, however, we would have been almost exactly on our budget of $15 per person day.  That’s pretty good considering the tour to the salt flats was so expensive.  We also stayed on the move the whole time we were in Bolivia, not stopping anywhere to volunteer.  This is the first country where we didn’t spend a significant chunk of time in one spot volunteering so the fact that we stayed only a little over budget is pretty good.

Some more notes:

Visas:
The $135 visas made up a whole 19% of our spending.  It’s worth noting that the U.S.A. is the only country we know of whose citizens have to pay for a visa to enter Bolivia.  The visa is good for 90 total days with unlimited reentry for five years.  (So we need to come back to Bolivia for 60 more days to really get our money’s worth!)  The reason we have to pay so much is that Bolivia decided to charge us the same high amount we charge Bolivians to visit the U.S.A.  Although it sucks, we agree that it’s a fair policy.  So thank you, U.S. government, for costing us money with your awesome foreign policy!

Transportation:
We saw almost all of Bolivia and our bus and boat costs were only equal to our visa fees.

Food:
Food is super cheap in Bolivia so we ate a lot!  In Perú we probably ate half of our meals for free while volunteering, but despite paying for all of our food in Bolivia we only spent 3% more of our budget on it than we did in Perú.

Lodging:
We stayed in free hostels only three times (total of seven nights), spent five nights in buses, three nights on the boat, and payed for cheapies the rest of the time.  Still only 10% of our spending.

Also, $1=6.8 Bolivianos.  This country has to charge me a visa AND make me do math?  Dividing by 7 in my head every time I wanted to figure out the price of something was not so fun.

Basically, Bolivia is super cheap, especially if you’re NOT from the U.S.A. and don’t have to pay for a visa!

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