Santa Cruz, Samaipata, La ruta del Che, and the Salt Flats
03.07.2012 - 31.07.2012
Unfortunately our updates seem to be spanning increasing distances and periods. If we keep going at this rate we may cover entire continents in one post, but we will try and be more diligent and stop that from happening.
We met up with our Austrian friend Johanes in Santa Cruz, with plans to wait for his friend Lukas who was on his way from Vienna. We took it easy in Santa Cruz, walking around town and enjoying the little oasis in the city the hostel provided. We took advantage of the fresh juices; there were men selling freshly squeezed orange and grapefruit juice all over town from little carts on the street.
When Lukas arrived, the four of us would take a bit of a trip on the tour del Che, thinking we could experience a little bit of Che Guevara history while we are in his neck of the woods. Bolivia was where Che's grand plan for la revolucion of south America started and ended. So we journeyed to some very small Bolivian villages to see such sites as where his body was displayed and where he was first buried in secret. Much of the adventure was finding these sites on our own and not taking a tour, which is often takes more time, but creates a bit more fun. We took a day off from Che and took a very old broken down taxi (with the dashboard on the wrong side) to a tiny village with a beautiful dam to swim in. We spent the day in the middle of nowhere listening to music and doing impromptu yoga sessions on the tables.
Probably our favorite stop, and one of our favourites in all of South America so far, was Samaipata.
This small village set in a beautiful green valley was our first stop in the Che tour, but we returned later and continually found excuses to extend our time there. We enjoyed the beautiful scenery, the nice bar run by an Australian couple and walking in the surrounding hills in the afternoon. On one afternoon trip we stumbled across a wildlife refuge in one of the surrounding hills and were met by a monkey who wandered alone onto the road to greet us, and then proceed to use me for climbing practice.
Our next stop, after a horror overnight bus ride, was Sucre. A much larger city that we had heard many great things about. But instead of visiting the many museums and churches the city is known for we seemed to spend most of of time eating, drinking red wine, playing cards and doing yoga in our hostel's garden. Not bad alternatives really. (we did get out and see the city despite ourselves)
From Sucre, we went to visit the salt flats of Uyuni.
The worlds highest and largest salt flats. We took a three day 2 night tour which spent the first day driving around the flats visiting various 'cactus islands' and villages followed by a night in a hotel pretty much made entirely of salt. The second day we visited many high altitude lakes of various colors filled with flamingoes.
On the third, we visited the volcanic region of the area, with geysers and thermal baths, and few active and dormant volcanoes in view. The area was amazing, it seemed like something from another planet and despite the freezing temperatures and effects of being at such a high altitude, we really enjoyed the experience. The pictures really cannot do such a strange landscape justice but we tried.