Riding into the Sunset in the Wild Wild South

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December 18th 2008
Published: December 26th 2008
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Day 620 (09.12.08)

We arrived in Tupiza, right in the South of Bolivia, at the inconvenient hour of 4am and after waking a poor chap found some beds in a hostel and crashed out for a few hours.

We'd met up with James, a guy who'd stayed at the same place as us in Potosi, and together headed out to explore the town and book up a tour to the Salar de Uyuni, a must-do trip touring the south-west of Bolivia. It turned out that there were a couple of people booked for the following day and with the three of us that would fill a jeep. It was a little earlier than we'd planned to go as we'd wanted to spend some time exploring the surrounds of Tupiza but it worked out cheaper to have a full jeep guaranteed so we booked up with the lovely ladies at Gran del Oro for the following day and then managed to sort out a horse riding trip for that afternoon with the same company.

With its dusty red landscape and miles from anywhere feel, Tupiza really does feel like the Wild Wild West and is therefore the perfect place to saddle up and trot off into the countryside. Before we knew it we were hopping onto our horses and off down the road on a 5 hour ride to explore some of the amazing canyons and rock formations that surround the town. Showing incredible confidence in our extremely limited equestrian skills our guide soon had us galloping along as we held on for dear life and tried to enjoy the views! Once we relaxed into the riding (and dealt with the obvious pecking order amongst the horses - Chrissie's had to be in the lead and Mark's was the lowest in the line!) the scenery was absolutely spectacular. The dusty plains dotted with huge cacti were towered over by vast red rock faces carved into incredible formations by years of wind and rain buffeting their surfaces. We made a couple of stops in some superb narrow canyons, happy to hop off the horses and explore on our own feet for a time. By the time we made it back to town several hours later as the sun was setting our butts were ready for a break but we'd had a fantastic time and all that was missing was a swing-doored saloon and a cold beer from a gnarled old bartender!

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