So, long time no posts. Just finished a whole week in Bolivia, travelling from the Bolivian/Brazilian border to Santa Cruz, then onto the capital Sucre. Sucre is actually the worlds first world heritage listed city, and marked the start of our accent into the high altitudes of the Andes. Met up with my friend Shellie and the whole group travelled down to Uyuni, where the famous Salar De Uyuni (salt flats) can be accessed from. While Carol and Giovanni opted for the 1 day tour of the flats, Shellie and I set off on a 3 day tour of the salt flats, lagoons, rock formations and geysers that lie to the south of the country.
On our tour were a Brazilian couple, two women from Spain and one woman from Romania, plus our Bolivian driver. On the first day we all packed into a land cruiser that had definitely seen better days. The odometer didn’t work, and neither did the hand brake or seatbelts. And so began three days of the worst driving I have ever experienced!
We visited the salt flats on the first day, which were of course a site to be seen. Lots of photo opportunities! After this, our group headed south to explore the rest of the area. There were no obvious roads, and it appeared that all drivers just made up their own routes as they went. This would have been OK if the whole ground surface didn’t consist of rocks, sand and ice. To make things worse, the altitude sickness kicked in and I had an excruciating headache the entire time. I have never taken so many Panadol in my life! The first night we stayed in a hostel made almost entirely of salt, including the walks, ground, seats and beds. No hot water but we at least stayed warm during the night.
The following we day we continued our trip south to check out the series of lagoons, which are known for their bright blue and pink coloured water and population of flamingoes. Again, some good photo opportunities, but I’m not sure if it was worth the amount of driving on uneven surfaces. The second night was spent at another small hostel, at an elevation of over 5000m! It was well below freezing and when we awoke the next morning, we found all of
our water supply in the car to be frozen solid. The last day of the tour involved travelling to the southern most lagoon and some hot springs, which saw us reach an altitude of 6050m! Everest doesn’t look so hard now…
After returning to Uyuni, dirty, tired and recovering from the altitude, Shellie and I got an overnight bus to La Paz to meet up with Giovanni and Carol. Shellie continued onto Peru from here, and I stayed in La Paz to explore the festival markets in one of the main streets. I spent the night with some local friends of Carol and Giovanni, who told me that festivals are very common in Bolivia (they have 367 per year – that’s more than one per day!).
The next morning we got a bus to the Bolivia/Peru border, and are now in Peru! We are currently in the city of Puno, waiting for a scenic train we have booked for Wednesday which will take us to Cusco where Machu Picchu is accessed from. Unfortunately our booking for Machu Picchu did not process properly so we are hoping to find some last minute tickets once on Cusco!