Sucre, Uyuni and La Paz (Bolivia)

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!

 

Government building in La Paz.

Government building in La Paz.

The streets of La Paz.

The streets of La Paz.

Church in a town on the drive back to Uyuni.

Church in a town on the drive back to Uyuni.

The ´Bay of Rocks´rock formation

The ´Bay of Rocks´rock formation

The ´Bay of Rocks´rock formation

The ´Bay of Rocks´rock formation

The Ítalian City´rock formation.

The Ítalian City´rock formation.

The Ítalian City´rock formation.

The Ítalian City´rock formation.

Lllamas lined the sides of the road on the drive back to Uyuni on the last day.

Lllamas lined the sides of the road on the drive back to Uyuni on the last day.

Hot water feeding into the Pink Lagoon, heated from geothermal actvitiy.

Hot water feeding into the Pink Lagoon, heated from geothermal actvitiy.

Shellie and I at the ´Pink Lagoon´

Shellie and I at the ´Pink Lagoon´

Shellie and I at the ´Pink Lagoon´

Shellie and I at the ´Pink Lagoon´

Shellie and I at the ´Pink Lagoon´

Shellie and I at the ´Pink Lagoon´

Pink Lagoon

Pink Lagoon

The virbant colours of the ´Pink Lagoon´. Steam can be seen above the water, which is actually quite warm due to geothermal heating.

The virbant colours of the ´Pink Lagoon´. Steam can be seen above the water, which is actually quite warm due to geothermal heating.

The flocks of flamingoes in the famous ´Pink Lagoon´

The flocks of flamingoes in the famous ´Pink Lagoon´

After washing the car in the morning before we left for the last day, icicles formed!

After washing the car in the morning before we left for the last day, icicles formed!

A llama walking tpast our hostel on the final morning of the tour.

A llama walking tpast our hostel on the final morning of the tour.

The hostel we stayed at during the second night of the tour.

The hostel we stayed at during the second night of the tour.

The ´Lake of Angels´. It is the southern most lagoon we visited, and is situated at 6050m elevation!

The ´Lake of Angels´. It is the southern most lagoon we visited, and is situated at 6050m elevation!

The geysers and bubbling mud south of the Salar. Very reminiscent of New Zealand.

The geysers and bubbling mud south of the Salar. Very reminiscent of New Zealand.

The driver and brazilian guy trying to change the tire.

The driver and brazilian guy trying to change the tire.

Our first puncture tire on the trip

Our first puncture tire on the trip

One of the rock formations on the journey south.

One of the rock formations on the journey south.

Rock formations where we had lunch on the first day.

Rock formations where we had lunch on the first day.

Second lagoon on the tour.

Second lagoon on the tour.

One of the lagoons south of the Salar De Uyuni.

One of the lagoons south of the Salar De Uyuni.

Me at the first lagoon on the tour.

Me at the first lagoon on the tour.

Flamingoes in the lagoon.

Flamingoes in the lagoon.

One of the lagoons south of the Salar De Uyuni.

One of the lagoons south of the Salar De Uyuni.

The tour group with our vehicle on the first day of the trip.

The tour group with our vehicle on the first day of the trip.

The tour group making the most of the salt flats.

The tour group making the most of the salt flats.

Hill in the middle of the Salt Flats covered in Cactus

Hill in the middle of the Salt Flats covered in Cactus

Hill in the middle of the Salt Flats covered in Cactus

Hill in the middle of the Salt Flats covered in Cactus

Carol, me and Shellie at the Salt Flats.

Carol, me and Shellie at the Salt Flats.

Flags next to an abandoned hotel in the Salt Flats.

Flags next to an abandoned hotel in the Salt Flats.

Shellie and I at the Salt Flats. The salt is collected in mounds for collection and exportation later on.

Shellie and I at the Salt Flats. The salt is collected in mounds for collection and exportation later on.

Our vehicle for the salt flats tour.

Our vehicle for the salt flats tour.

Swing installed on the old train ruins.

Swing installed on the old train ruins.

Old train ruins just outside the town of Uyuni.

Old train ruins just outside the town of Uyuni.

Old train ruins just outside the town of Uyuni.

Old train ruins just outside the town of Uyuni.

Old train ruins just outside the town of Uyuni.

Old train ruins just outside the town of Uyuni.

Shellie and I on the first day of the Salar De Uyuni tour.

Shellie and I on the first day of the Salar De Uyuni tour.

The houses surrounding Sucre.

The houses surrounding Sucre.

The group walking the streets of Sucre.

The group walking the streets of Sucre.

The view of Bolivia from the plane from Santa Cruz to Sucre.

The view of Bolivia from the plane from Santa Cruz to Sucre.

Crossing into Bolivia to get a train to Santa Cruz.

Crossing into Bolivia to get a train to Santa Cruz.

 

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7 thoughts on “Sucre, Uyuni and La Paz (Bolivia)

  1. Awesome Alicia – Glad you did the Andes tour

    I stayed in the same hostel you stayed on the second night

    Yep its cold in the Andes. 🙂

    What no strikes in La Paz?

    Id recommend these places in Cusco

    Mythology – Plaza de Armas – top night club on the Plaza that offers salsa.
    Paddy Flahertys – Plaza de Armas – Irish pub with great atmosphere
    Chocolate museum – (Choco Museo, Calle Garcilaso 210) and learn how to make chocolate

    Fingers crossed you get on the Inca Trail 🙂

    Be brave and try ‘Cuy’ roasted guinea pig in Peru

    Cheers
    Andrew 🙂

    • Nope we had no strikes or delays in Bolivia at all. So surprised! In cusco now and managed to book Machu Picchu for Friday. It means I’ll be there on my 24th birthday 🙂

      I tried guinea pig last night for dinner! And alpaca. Both we’re pretty good, but guinea pig doesn’t have enough meat to make a really good meal though.

      Will try to try some of those places you recommended in Cusco, we have the day free tomorrow to explore.

      Alicia

  2. Sorry to hear the slat flats tour was so uncomfortable. I’m glad i was not in the car with the roads and altitude sickness!

    Do you know if the graffiti on the train reading ‘Dakar’ was painted there for the Paris – Dakar rally which was moved to South America from Afica due to unrest there.

    Its good to see you trying the local delicacies – hope they don’t make you sick!

    Happy birthdy for Friday and hope you can get to travel on the Inca trail

    love Dad & Mum

  3. Hi Alicia,

    Happy belated birthday – sounds like it will be one that you will remember for a long time.
    Enjoy the rest of your trip……looking forward to your next blog.
    Veronica xx

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