Blogs from Lauca National Park, Arica & Parinacota, Chile, South America


- Drive from San Pedro de Atacama to Iquique - 490 km A long drive with straights as long as the horizon and never ending dirt roads due to road constructions, that was the ride in a nutshell to Iquique. The town itself proofed to be nothing exciting and we were happy to move on further north. On our way to Arica we stopped at Humberstone and Santa Laura, where the wealth of the nitrate boom is still whispering through the deserted ghost towns. We wondered for half a day thru a bygone time and enjoyed the desert heat. Another short stop at “El Gigante” – a geoglyph which dates back to around AD 900 took both our fascination. - Drive from Iquique to Arica - 310 km The roads in the north of Chile are ... read more
Parque Nacional Lauca
Pisco Sour

I an writing this blog entry sat on a tock by a lake Chungara at 4500 meters snobs sea level. I am High in the Antiplsno. Of tje lLauca Natonal prtk.. .it is so Peaceful here, as grorgie fame on e wrote no one looking over my shoulder, nobody bresthing in my ear , ehixh at ghd moment sould be vety difficult. The air is do thin here i sm lgbt heared and msking msny typinf mostakes. Just imbing u a smLl hill leaves dveryone breathless. I os skso msking me cery tired snd i had started to fall aslerp on the bus. Cncentration is very difficult. I have been at 4500 before on Bivia but that was a gradual climb over a week. This has edn from desevel to 4500 meters in four lady ... read more
The interesting shack
flower on Cactus
Pirate poncho day

First of all dear blog followers a confession. I have had my first South American MacDonalds.Wandering around the city of Arica in search of an iron construction church designed by Eiffel - he who built the tower that bears his name in Paris- I saw the golden arches on top of a large pole. I started to salivated. Resistance was futile as having not eaten anything except Henny's grapes the night before, and despite the promise I try and make every time I go away to solely eat the food of the country I am in, I caved in and wandered inside. It was like a magnet and there was nothing I could do to resist. It was also a public holiday in ... read more
sunsetting at caves
south america in a rock
sunsetting at caves

After almost three months and 4,000 kilometres, we've made it all the way to the top of Chile. We've arrived in Arica and our Chilean adventure is about to come to an end. Peru is only a couple of miles away. Sitting right on the Pacific Ocean, Arica is famous for being the driest city on Earth - an average year will see it get less than one millimetre of rain. While we've been making our way north from Santiago, Arica and its surrounding region have seen torrential rain and flooding. Yes, flooding. The driest city in the world. The world! Farms in the Azapa Valley - Arica's answer to the Elqui Valley - have been inundated, countless adobe homes washed away, roads blocked, bridges destroyed. You just could not make it up. While in Iquique ... read more
Where are their legs?
Down valley from Putre
Down valley from Putre

1.Celebrate your history at UICCP: What is a mountain that you think you have climbed since your time here at UICCP? Be specific and explain. What helped you cross this mountain? the moutain that I think that I have climbes since being here at UICCP, was taking over and ackleing my junior year, it was my first year at UICCP, and I tooked it over and conqured it. 2. What immediate mountain is before you in your final semester as a senior? Be specific. How do you plan to tackle this mountain? How do you need help climbing this mountain? The immidate mountain that i will take over final semester is presenting my senior portfollio, I think this will be a challenge beacuse I have to practice on my public speaking skills without being nervous, this ... read more

This week I went on my first excursion with SIT. On Tuesday we drove up to Putre, a town in the altiplano (high plains) of the Andes. Putre is at 3,500 meters (11,400 ft) above sea level, meaning that there is little oxygen and a high risk of altitude sickness. On our climb up into the Andes, on narrow roads bordered by cliffs or desert gorges, we stopped several times to help our bodies acclimate to the changing environment and lack of oxygen. Our program directors provided us with coca leaves to chew or drink in tea. This reduces the fatigue, nausea and dizziness associated with altitude sickness. With the help of some coca tea, didn't have any problems with the altitude except for a fast heart rate and being out of breath, but this may ... read more
Atacama Desert
Don Severo

Still in Putre the weather has been clear and hot and as of now still no rain, It occurred to me that I have not seen rain for 4 months, that has to be a record for me. As a result the the ground is so dry and dusty and dust storms although small because of the lack of wind can be seen in the distance. We met a girl called Katie from Montana, on befriending here she inspired me to take another look and the cave painting in the valley a few miles from the hostel, We stuck to the trail over the ridge instead of climbing over it, it took at lot longer but was a lot easier than our first excursion scrambling through cactus. The following day we borrowed a car from our ... read more
Katie John and me
John's new buddy
gimme an apple

There resides a vast number of birds in this area, noisy little things in a kaleidoscope of colours, many hawks eagles and condors call the area home also, John found a condor feather measuring about 20" in length, Days have been spend researching and casually exploring. We spent a few days in another Hostel in town called Pacha Mama as Chakana had a prior booking and had no room, Its a sweet little place but oh so cold at night, they have a 4 month old alpaca who has the run of the place, so cute. We met a german lass called Regina who was fun to hang out with and a gentleman from Switzerland called Dieter who was 75 years old and could outwalk all of us. An orchestra filled the square of Putre one ... read more
Plaza Putre
Photo 4
Photo 5

We soon settled back in Putre in Chakana mountain lodge and having been a wee bit stagnant for some time we decided on another trek, John decided it was time for me to learn how to repel, Oh lordie! We climbed a nearby "hill" (my arse Mallorey would have been proud of me) Again I am reminded how I love to trek but just don't get the same satisfaction from climbing, Perhaps I am spoiled and not at all versed on the gratification of achieving such heights (pardon the pun). We reached the top much to my amazement and tried to find a spot to tie off the anchor (I hope I'm getting the repelling jargon correct) I was doubtful of my abilities but decided I needed to "cowboy up" and just go for it, We ... read more
no clue
veiw from the top

Another sleepless night, I am tired and irritable, Breakfast, then I inspected my feet from Sunday when they blistered badly, still a little raw so I cleaned them put Sangre de Drago on the wounds and covered them with second skin and tape, boots on and off we went. We started at the hot springs with the intention of climbing colorful mountain about a 6-8 hour climb. It was arduous from the beginning and I was feeling the altitude immediately, when we reached the top of the first mount the views were gorgeous, We climbed across the range which was difficult and put a lot of pressure on the knees, I was breathing hard, John was ascending like a mountain goat, I on the other hand resembled a lame baby elephant. We had been on the ... read more
Photo 4

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