Lipiz Sur – Bolivia Altiplano
At 6 AM on Wednesday, October 11 we left Uyuni Town and headed south 3 hours to the southwestern corner of Bolivia – not far from where the country meets with Chile and Argentina. There, we left the highway and would not see a paved road until the return to Uyuni two and a half days later.
The only settlements were some mining and farming villages.
Llamas, a distant relation to camels, are a source of wool and meat, are semi – domesticated , grazing for scarce vegetation and sometimes return to pens, herded by dogs and farmers.
Spring snowmelt brings some drinking water.
The land is rugged and never dips below 12,000 feet. By this time , TotalAdventure is quite comfortable with the altitude. We stopped at a hot springs at mid day. Please view the video above to see it. Swimming was balmy at 105 degrees ( 41C) while there air was around 40 ( 5 C).
Climbing higher, we reached Laguna Verde. The green color comes from a high concentration of arsenic. Swimming in or drinking from the lake can be fatal. There are no fish ,birds or four footed animals anywhere near the lake.
Close to 16,000 feet we reached the remains of winter snows, that actually can fall in the summer as well. The strong dry wind and strong subtropical sun three miles above sea level evaporate it into strange shapes.
The ground underneath is always frozen.
From underneath the frozen ground comes boiling sulphur clouds. All of the Bolivian Altiplano borders the Pacific Ring of Fire.
Llama and quinoa for lunch. Tough and lean, but tasty and very healthy !
A steam vent.
Rock formations that look manmade but aren’t.
We spent the night at Hotel Tayka. See more in the video. Amazingly at 15,500 feet, ten hours over very rugged dirt tracks from the nearest paved road , that such a hotel can exist. Comfortable beds, reasonable heat and solar generated hot water (quick shower) .Oxygen is kept behind the front desk for those in need.
The next morning we explored several lakes that were home to huge flocks of flamingos. Most people think of flamingos as a bird of the tropics – but here they thrive in very cold temperatures.
A coyote enjoys some llama meat.
San Pedro de Quemes from another Tayka Hotel.
The town store closes early, but has the essentials.
On The last night in Bolivia, TotalAdventure looked forward to Salar de Uyuni the next day.