Countries 6 Hotels 17 Cars 35
Flights 11:flying time 46.07 hours
Rickshaws 4 Buses 3 Elephant 1 Boat 1
Cog-wheel train 2 Cable cars 4 Subway 4 Ferry 2
Minibus 20 Coach 2 Catamaran 1 Funicular 3
Pick up truck 1 Land cruiser 1
This morning my guide met me at my hotel to go Bolivia by land. First we had to go through a border control in San Pedro de Atacama, then drive to the Chile/Bolivia border where we changed vehicles with a new driver. Chilean cars are not allowed in Bolivia and vice versa.
I have the driver and guide for the next three days, and it wasn’t till we drove off from the border that I realised what an adventure I was going on. We were not going on roads as one would know them, we were going across wild terrain, there are no sign posts and we rarely saw other vehicles, thankfully the driver has been driving across here for nearly twenty years so he knew what he was doing.
After we changed cars, we entered the Eduardo Avaroa National Park, which is considered to be one of the most inhospitable areas of Bolivia, but I think, very beautiful. We stopped for photos at lagoons, I also took a photo of the stones in the Salvador Dali Desert, and we stopped at the Sol de Manana geysers, 5000 meters above sea level.
Here there were lots of pools of boiling mud. It was absolutely freezing, and very windy, so taking photos was a bit difficult, I think this could challenge the El Tatio geyser field.
We then stopped at Laguna Colorada, (Red Lagoon), 4,278 meters above sea level, and usually full of flamingos, however it’s the wrong time of year, so there weren’t any.
We had lunch at a base that is used for backpackers, in the middle of nowhere. The driver and guide found a table and chairs, and laid out a very delicious lunch.
During the journey we saw lots of llamas, the occasional rabbit, and some vicunas, which are a relative of, and look a bit like, the llama, however they are a protected species, and not allowed to be eaten, unlike llamas, which are eaten and are very delicious, I’m told.
We arrived at the hotel around 4, it is in the middle of nowhere, as we were driving
towards it one can just see a line of a steel colour standing out against the rock. It is completely self sufficient in terms of electricity and heat, the power gets turned off at 10pm. The rooms are basic but have en suite bathrooms and the water is solar powered.
I managed to get a shot of the sun setting, through the hotel dining room windows.
Dinner was at seven and the driver, guide and I all ate together which was a really nice change. I wasn’t feeling very well and my guide thought it was a bit of altitude sickness. Dinner was a surprise at this place, because of it’s nature it is a fairly basic hotel. However the dining staff were all in immaculate outfits and the food was delicious. I couldn’t eat it, though, I had no appetite, and again thought it was altitude sickness. Eusebio Poma Cruz, my lovely guide gave me an oxygen tablet and that seemed to do the trick. After dinner Eusebio and I went out to look at the stars but it was freezing so didn’t stay very long. I was in bed before lights out.