Blogs from Potosí Department, Bolivia, South America

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Surprisingly I didn’t sleep too badly last night. I am not used to sleeping in a dorm, so wasn’t sure how it would go. No loud snoring, no late night wild parties, just a group of worn out travelers. Oh, and before I forget, it was mentioned that the beds were not in fact concrete, but salt. Duh. I don’t know why I didn’t put that together. Regardless, they were pretty darn comfortable. Breakfast was a quiet affair with instant coffee, bread, scrambled eggs, lunch meat, cheese (to build breakfast sandwiches) and fruit cocktail. Please don’t think less of me, but I ate 2 helpings of the stupid fruit cocktail. After not being able to eat for the first half of the week, I was starving. We loaded our luggage on top of the Land Cruiser ... read more
Flamingos
Iconic Rock Tree
Reflection in the Green Lagoon


Today was one of those hateful early mornings. I was to be picked up at 4 AM to head to the airport. When the phone rang at 3:40 and the driver was waiting I knew it was going to be a rush. Luckily I had packed and organized everything the night before. At the airport I ran into problems checking in. The airline required that the credit card used to purchase the ticket be presented, which I would happily have done if it hadn’t been stolen and cancelled. No matter how many times I explained that it was the same company, but just a different number the agent just looked at me and told me I had to purchase new tickets. The fact that I had flown from Cuzco, Peru to La Paz just days prior ... read more
These Things Were Huge
Standing on the Salar de Uyuni
Train Graveyard 1

South America » Bolivia » Potosí Department February 17th 2014

Once having left Lake Titicaca our journey picked up its pace once again. Our next stop was La Paz, followed by Sucre, Potosí and Uyuni. Each city had its unique charm but Uyuni took the price with its blinding crystal desert made entirely of salt. On the night before our desert excursion however, we found ourselves trapped inside by a violent downpour and an ear-deafening thunderstorm. It left us without electricity (and precious wifi) and when we finally built up the courage to leave to seek out food we were metaphorically and nearly literally struck by a beam of lightning no more than a hundred meters down the street from where we stood. Not only did it scare us out of our whits but if ever I doubted the consciousness altering power of lightning I can ... read more

South America » Bolivia » Potosí Department » Uyuni February 16th 2014

With an 8:30am pick up and only a 15 minute drive from San Pedro to the border, it wasn't long until we had said goodbye to Chile for the final time and hello to Bolivia. With the Bolivian border being little more than a garden shed with a flag, it was a pleasant five minute border crossing (unlike the 4 hrs Chile/Argentina crossing). Once we passed the border, it was then time to change from minibus to 4x4, which we would be travelling across the arid Bolivian desert in over the next three days. With images in our head of being stuck on a three day tour with a bunch of Argentinians or even worse...Germans, it came as a pleasant surprise when we discovered our 4x4 buddies were two Aussies and an English girl. However, with ... read more
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South America » Bolivia » Potosí Department » Uyuni February 11th 2014

Christmas and New Year... South American style Christmas Eve began with an early start and a spectacular drive across the Altiplano - a vast expanse of bleak wilderness, framed by majestic volcanic mountains and virtually devoid of wildlife and human settlement. Due to some of the dirt tracks of part of the journey and therefore the low speeds we were driving, we were able to sit on the roof for periods of the journey - breath taking. We arrived at our refuge in time to cook our 'Christmas dinner' only to realise that all the meat had been left in the fridge in Uyuni. Vegetable curry it was then!! At least secret Santa wasn't put off the food as he arrived to hand out the presents...but only if we all sat on his knee first and ... read more
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South America » Bolivia » Potosí Department » Salar de Uyuni December 20th 2013

It’s easy to describe our three day trip to Salar de Uyuni with one word: a-ma-zing. Probably you have never even heard of such a place (unless you are reading our blog to get information about it), and we hadn’t either, until we were planning for this trip. Now that we have seen it, it’s hard to believe Salar de Uyuni is not world famous- it should be. And after all, most of it is only salt. Salt, and a few flamingo filled lagoons in all colors of the rainbow, of course. And oh yea, some geysirs and thermal pools as well. To reach this wonderful place we took a night bus from La Paz to the desert town of Uyuni. It was a rough ride with several hundred kilometers of bumpy unpaved road, so again ... read more
piles of salt
digging and piling of the salt
more of salt piles

South America » Bolivia » Potosí Department » Tupiza December 9th 2013

Our 4 day tour began in the town of Tupiza, which is surrounded by mountainous, jagged red rocks. The town depends mainly on agriculture and mining. Due to it standing at 2,950m above sea level the temperature can drop to freezing at night, but was late 20's in the day. We then drove in the jeep up the narrow mountain paths until we reached an incredible view point. The mines can provide minerals such as silver, lead and gold. We then chased some llamas across some fields and headed to a little village where we had a kickabout and some lunch. It was so hard to breath as we were then 4,500m above sea level and the air was so thin. After lunch we headed to the Ghost Town which was used for mining but is ... read more
The Team
Ghost Town
Cheeky Llama

South America » Bolivia » Potosí Department » Tupiza November 3rd 2013

Thursday 20 June to Sunday 23 June The trip to La Quiaca (Argentina) took around 2.5 hours through more arid landscapes, spotted with Stipa Grass (or Needle Grass) and a few parched looking bushes. La Quiaca itself was very plain – made up of straight roads, residential property, restaurants, a bus station and truck parks. I got the impression it existed predominantly as a border town. Finding a taxi, I took the short journey across the bridge to the Bolivian border. Despite warnings it could take a while to get through passport control, I crossed into Villazon (Bolivia) about 10 minutes later – simplez! The next priority was changing some money and searching out the bus station to travel on to Tupiza. Bolivia felt immediately different to what I’d left behind. It seemed more authentic and ... read more
Seeing Red
On Track
Cradled by Mountains

South America » Bolivia » Potosí Department » Potosi October 30th 2013

My asthmatic lungs wheezed out a tune as I climbed the steep hills of one of the world's highest cities, Potosi, at 4,090 m/13,420 ft. For a couple of weeks, I explored the labyrinthine, narrow streets, ferreting out rich churches and monasteries encrusted with gold and silver, colorful, balconied 17c colonial palaces, and church roofs for grand views over the city and surrounding countryside. Travel Drama I'd come from little, wild west Tupiza on the only bus traveling the five hours by day. Everyone else was continuing to the capital, and the driver forgot about me, passed the terminal, and let me off only when I started shouting. By then we were in a dodgy part of town from which I had to walk uphill with all my things to find a taxi; this wouldn't have ... read more
Ojo del Inca Hot Springs
gorgeous details on colonial buildings
looking through old city gate to Cerro Rico

South America » Bolivia » Potosí Department » Tupiza October 22nd 2013

For an amateur geologist like myself, Tupiza was so delicious. The little town was nestled in a spectacular setting of red-rock canyons, multicolored hills, and cactus forests and bisected by a dramatic, ever-changing river. With only 25,000 people, it was small enough that I easily got out of town and accessed fine hiking trails. Plus, in Bolivia, everything was wonderfully affordable, so I had an upscale room, went horseback riding in Butch Cassidy country and gorged on gorgeous tropical fruit. As usual, time stretched and my planned days became weeks. Cry for Me, Argentina I left the multi-colored canyons of my beloved Iruya when the Argentine holidays began; on January 3rd, the once-peaceful town had become swamped, and I lost my room. With a week left on my visa, I went to little-visited, adobe Yavi (population ... read more
my faithful steed heading into the canyon
Valle de los Machos
Riding in the red rock canyons with Dutch friends




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