Day 47 - Journey to Putre - Isluga N.P-National reserve for Vicunas-Hot Springs-Salar de Surire


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South America » Chile » Tarapacá
November 20th 2018
Published: November 21st 2018
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We had a nice breakfast considering we were in the middle of nowhere. I went outside for a walk around and all I could see were trucks parked everywhere so I assume the drivers were staying somewhere in Colchane, but I couldn’t see much around at all. We set off on schedule at 09:00. Today was another traveling day but with a lot of brief stops for photos. As has been the case on a few days, it was about the journey rather the destination, there were beautiful spots everywhere as drove higher and higher.. We stopped at four small ghost towns which had well maintained churches for historical preservation reasons. One was just 15 minutes from Colchane in Isluga which was named after the Volcano Isluga which we could view whilst driving through the Isluga National Park. We also stopped for photos and Alvaro showed us the bright green lichen we had noticed growing on rocks as we approached the higher ground again. The lichen grows at over 3,500mn asl.

We finally left Isluga NP at 11:35 and entered the National Reserve for Vicunas and our destination were some thermal baths called Termes de Polloquere which was to be our lunch stop. There were only 3 other people there having lunch, when we arrived but they were just about finished. By this time the weather had warmed up considerably and luckily for us there was no wind so when Alvaro offered us time to try the natural hot springs, while they set up lunch, we decided to get our swimmers out and try it. Alvaro joined us as well. The water was very warm and it was very relaxing so we’re glad we took the opportunity to bathe in a completely natural hot spring. We then got the call for lunch which was just right, tuna and salad on rolls.

After lunch we continued the drive through the reserve and obviously saw many vicunas, stopping occasionally until we got to Salar de Surire, where we saw more flamingos. After that we continued driving through the reserve until another ghost town, Guallatire where Alvaro had to report that we had left the reserve. From here we could see the Guallatiri and Capaurata Volcanoes, the latter being right on the Bolivian border. Then continued on until we reached Lauca National Park at 16:24 which is where we will explore tomorrow.

We got into our overnight stay at Putre, Hotel Vientos Del Altiplanos which is our base now for two nights as we explore Lauca National Park. Dinner was at 19:00 and is included with our tour, so Alvaro came back and walked us to the restaurant. He is an interesting guide. He lived in Frankfurt Germany for 15 years when he was just 20 and is may start teaching German soon and he has very strong views on politics. Dinner was nice , we had soup and salmon with salad.


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