Blogs from Potosí Department, Bolivia, South America

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South America » Bolivia » Potosí Department April 26th 2015

Potosi, one of the highest cities in the world and with an interesting and brutal past like not a lot of cities have. But most people in the world don’t even know that this place exists, even less, know about the tragic history it presents. So here is my story about Potosi and my experience in this city. I have read briefly about Potosi when I was in Sucre and the history of the city is fascinating. Officially founded in 1545, it is a city grossly linked to silver. Legend says that a local Indian found some silver by accident and word reached the Spanish very soon. So they started to exploit the silver, using at the beginning the local Indians and when that supply ran out they exported some African slaves. It is said that ... read more
Me on 96%....... - Potosi
Potosi
Potosi

South America » Bolivia » Potosí Department April 25th 2015

The fresh guacamole in Santiago feels like a long time ago now. Every night Maria, the maid, would have prepared our bedrooms, her turn-down service matched the best hotels I have ever been to. She made an amazing empenada con queso, which is like a big cheese Cornish pasty, but better. In the daytime we visited the 'museum of memories and lost people' which documented the fascist regime under Pinochet in the 70's. Sadly, the majority of the museum was in Spanish so I didn't understand everything but got the gist. That evening we went to a bar and because it was happy hour the drinks were pretty much free. We had champagne, piña colada and a few beers each. We spent very little in Santiago because all of our food and accommodation was free, thanks ... read more


We left the mountain town of Tupiza in a 4 x 4 Toyota Landcruiser with Felix (our driver and guide), Lydia (our cook) and a Belgian couple (Guillaume and Laura) and headed off into the remote and scenically spectacular south west corner of Bolivia. We spent the next four days driving to some of the country’s most amazing places, lakes of green, blue and red, volcanic rock formations and deserts, all with a giant backdrop of snow-capped peaks and colour-painted mountain ranges. We enjoyed watching vicuñas, llamas and sheep in the nearby scrublands. We were amazed to learn about and see the many flamingos that frequent the lakes to eat the algae in the cold temps of the season. The trip was incredible and the highlights were plentiful. Most of the trip was above 4000 metres ... read more
Tupiza
El Sillar
Rhea

South America » Bolivia » Potosí Department » Uyuni April 12th 2015

Sarah (Friday 10th April): Right now we're in the middle of absolutely nowhere, drinking hot coffee and munching on sweet biscuits and I am wearing a llama cardigan which is keeping me really warm and very happy! Going back to Wednesday killing time in La Paz before our nightbus, we went back to the Dutch restaurant for lunch and had a good feed followed by a good hour or so of people watching from our upstairs window seat and reading, escaping the crazy streets. We may have also had to order some hot chocolates to keep us going... (Nick's was actually a delicious hot milk with a chocolate bar melted in and we may have picked up some Dutch sweet waffles on our way out... to keep us going on our 3 day salt flat tour, ... read more
Pleased as punch with her new llama top!
Scrapped trains, rotting away near Uyuni.
RRRIIIIIPPP!!! The moment of inception of the Trousergate Crisis!

South America » Bolivia » Potosí Department » Uyuni April 7th 2015

The most obvious way to Bolivia from San Pedro de Atacama is via the salt flats of Uyuni. In San Pedro plenty of operators compete to take travelers through the southern Bolivian highland desert and across the salt flats to Uyuni. We quickly found out that this intense competition has lead to low prices, some times even too low as safety was comprised for the sake of lower prices. In 2008 this led to some accidents with fatalities. According to rumors there are also operators that use this tour to smuggle drugs across the border, and as a result don't care about the income from the actual tour but in turn the drivers aren't always sober and careful. Regardless of whether this was necessary or not, these things made us a bit concerned and led us ... read more
Many flamingos in the lake
And of course fooling around a bit :)
Altiplano lakes


Salar de Uyuni was one the top highlights of almost every traveller we had met in South America, so with high expectations we booked in a 3 day / 2 night trip out of Uyuni to the salt flats then south into the wilds of Bolivia towards the border of Chile and the Atacama desert. Typically, travellers use the tour to cross into Chile and continue south along the west coast of South America, but as we had a date with Iguaçu Falls and our tour to Rio we did the full loop back out of the desert to Uyuni, a total of about 900km driving in 3 days. The salt flats of Bolivia is an enormous ancient sea that was pushed to about 4000m above sea level when the Andes were formed. The sea then ... read more
What a year 2014 has been!
Trying to get the right perspective photo was tough work!
Flamingoes at beautiful lakes in the desert

South America » Bolivia » Potosí Department » Salar de Uyuni December 14th 2014

Depuis Potosi, 4h de bus suffisent pour rejoindre Uyuni. Pour aller voir le salar (désert de sel) plusieurs groupes rencontrés sur notre route nous ont recommandé une bonne agence, Blueline (pour ceux que ça intéresse). On réserve notre tour sur 3 jours, avec Grober, un très bon guide. Jour 1 : Le Salar Nous partons le lendemain matin, avec 3 brésiliens qui ont également booké un tour. Tous les déplacements se font désormais avec un gros 4x4 conduits par Grober. Durant les 3 jours, il sera donc chauffeur, guide et cuisinier. Premier étape à l'extérieur d'Uyuni, le cimetière de trains. Il s'agit d'anciennes locomotives et anciens wagons venus d'Europe pour avoir une deuxième mais sont tous aujourd'hui hors d'état. Etant donné qu'il y a de très nombreux 4x4 de touristes, on ne s'attarde pas. Grober veut ... read more
Entrée sur le salar
Incontournabe dans le DAKAR
L'immensité blanche

South America » Bolivia » Potosí Department » Potosi December 12th 2014

Nous réservons donc un tour dans les mines auprès de notre auberge. Le départ se fait le lendemain matin. On commence par s'équiper : bottes, pantalons, veste, foulard, casque et grosse lampe frontale. Avant de sortir de Potosi, un petit tour par le marché des mineurs. La coutume veut que l'on offre des cadeaux aux mineurs qui nous laissent visiter leurs galeries pendant leurs heures de travail. On peut leur acheter des feuilles de coca, de l'alcool pur, des jus de fruits (à mélanger avec l'alcool), des cigarettes artisanales et même de la dynamite. On se dirige ensuite vers le Cerro Rico (le "Mont Riche") avec Orlando, notre guide. Les mines étant considérées comme l'enfer, Orlando commence par nous présenter le Tio, autrement dit le diable. Nous lui faisons quelques offrandes, comme des cigarettes ou de ... read more
Mineurs au travail
Apero en enfer
On se fume un pétard

South America » Bolivia » Potosí Department November 29th 2014

Potosi is a nothing special city. Or maybe it is only for us that after over a month of travelling, all those cities start to look kind of the same… :-) It was known as the city full of silver. Even if the silver did dry up very quickly, they still extract the ore nowadays, and people come here to visit mines and miners at work. However, as I do not believe that someone should make a tourist attraction and business out of miserable miners’ working conditions, we had a better activity here in Potosi. Just 30 minutes by bus (and 4 bolivianos one side) there are natural hot springs “ Ojo del Inca” at Tarapaya (entrance 10 Bolivianos) with big natural lake surrounded with red and white mountains. And obviously with very warm water. We ... read more
DSC_0601 Stitch
DSC_0615

South America » Bolivia » Potosí Department » Uyuni November 28th 2014

Monday was the last day in Peru. We were picked up at the hotel by the guy who was going to drive us to the border. For some reason his wife was there too. The drive to the border only took a couple of hours, but of course we had to stop along the way and look at another church or two. I think I have been to more churches on this trip than I have in the total of my life up to this point. You’ll be surprised to know that there was nothing special. At one of the churches there were absolutely no other tourists around so the security guards said we could take photos – normally you can’t. By late morning we reached the border with Bolivia. I was expecting a tightly controlled ... read more
The Green Lagoon
Inside a Church on the way to Bolivia
Inside a Church on the way to Bolivia




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