08.13.2003 Laguna Verde, Laguna Colorada
Transfer from Chile to Bolivia and desert crossing from Laguna Verde to Laguna Colorada

(Click on a picture to see an enlarged version)

 

Border between Chile and Bolivia Licancabur volcano
A short minubus ride, brings the group from San Pedro de Atacama to the Bolivian's border. The road climbs from San Pedro to the altiplano, reaching up to 4500 meters above sea level in less than one hour. On the way, the bus stops on a nice viewpoint to Licancabur volcano (picture on the right),

 

Laguna Blanca, Bolivia
We soon arrive at Laguna Blanca (white lagoon) so called because of the color caused by the high concentration of salt and minerals. The lake is partly frozen, as the night temperature usually drops many degrees below freezing point.

 

Laguna Verde, Bolivia
We leave the minibus at Laguna Blanca, continuing on a 4WD. The first stop is at Laguna Verde, a beautiful lake colored by minerals.

 

Offroad travel on Bolivian altiplano Offroad travel on Bolivian altiplano
Our bolivian guide calls it "the highway". This dusty track will be our way for the next 4 days, up to Uyuni and Potosì, far to the northeast. The life up here is not easy and only few highly specialized plants and animals can live and reproduce here. Because of the elevation, the atmospheric pressure is much more lower than normal, as well as the oxigen and the humidity. The temperature is very cold at night, but the sun is hot with higher levels of UV rays. Everything is more tiring than normal, even taking just a picture, as the body and the brain is hungry of oxigen. It took just one night for me to acclimatize, then I did each day slightly better.

 

Hot water spring, Bolivia
Hot water spring, Bolivia
Hot water spring, Bolivia The trip continues to a lagoon containing hot water because of geothermal activity. When the level of the water is higher, it is also possible to bathe in.

 

Sometimes, steam and dust raises from the ground.

 

A cactus, probably a Tephrocactus, protects its green body from the cold and from the UV rays, by a thick and dense layer of thorns. Up here, everything is slower than normal and a size like this may require dozens of years (perhaps hundreds) to be reached.

 

Other types of vegetation. Grass (top left pictures) and lichens (other pictures). On the bottom-right picture, a macro of a lichen taken from 3 centimeters of distance.

 

Sometimes, blue lakes can be seen here and there. The water is normally not-drinkable (sometime is toxic) because of the high salt concentration or different mineral content.

 

Geyser in Bolivia
After some hour, we reach a geothermal field at 4900 meters of elevation. In the picture, a 360 degrees WidevieW of the entire area.

 

Geyser in Bolivia
Geyser in Bolivia Bolivia by Toyota 4x4
Clouds of steam raises from the hot muds, leaving in the air a dense smell of sulfur.

 

Boiling muds, Bolivia
Enormous pots containing boiling muds.

 

Laguna colorada, Bolivia
After a long trip started this early morning in San Pedro, we reach our today's destination of Laguna Colorada (red lagoon). The water, visible far away in the picture, is red because of the presence of algae.

 

Flamingoes, Laguna Colorada, Bolivia Flamingoes, Laguna Colorada, Bolivia
Laguna colorada, Bolivia Pink flamingos populate Laguna Colorada, eating the algae contained in the water. On the bottom-left picture, an area of the lake is particularly red.

 

Offroad travel by Toyota 4x4 in Bolivia
The jeep with our Bolivian guide.

 

The sun sets over Laguna Colorata, replaced by a cold, long night.

 

At the end of the day, if I close my eyes, I still see the most beautiful places... Laguna Verde... the geysers... Laguna Colorada... Beautiful images... to keep the mind busy, while the body slowly adapts to the altitude !

 

PICTURES OF PERU - BOLIVIA - CILE: IMAGES FROM THE TRIP DAY BY DAY
Santiago del Cile

09.08.2003 - Santiago day tour

Guided day tour of Santiago, visiting Plaza de Armas, the downtown with its tall skyscrapers, and the outskirts.

Winery tour from Santiago

10.08.2003 - Winery tour from Santiago

Chile is getting every year more competitive in the wine market, thanks to the quality and to the increasing quantity. A winery tour in a farm near Santiago lets to discover the wine production process and to taste excellent wines.

Moon Valley

11.08.2003 - San Pedro De Atacama

The Atacama desert in Chile is considered one of the world's driest place where, in several areas, there are no registered rainfalls for many consecutive years. But this doesn't mean that there is no life or nothing to see...

Atacama Desert

12.08.2003 - San Pedro de Atacama and Salar De Atacama

Day tour from San Pedro de Atacama to Salar de Atacama, a huge salt flat surrounded by majestic volcanoes, where flamingoes have made their home.

Laguna Verde, Bolivia

13.08.2003 - from Laguna Verde to Laguna Colorada <YOU ARE HERE>

Today the groups gets into Bolivia where an adventure by 4x4 begins. The today itinerary goes from Laguna Verde (green lake) to Laguna Colorada (red lake) driving off road or onto dirty roads, between spectacular lunar landscape of extreme high mountain.

Tree rock, Bolivia

14.08.2003 - Crossing Bolivian plateau by 4x4

The Bolivian desert expedition by 4x4 continues at altitudes between 3.500 and 5000 meters above sea level, in an incredible landscape of rocks sculptured by winds and other extreme elements.

Salt flats in Bolivia

15.08.2003 - Salar De Uyuni tour

With an average altitude higher than 4000 meters, the Bolivian plateau offers spectacular scenery, like the immense Salar de Uyuni, the world's largest salt flat. We make a stop at Isla Pescado (fish island) a small hill in the middle of the salt, where there are giant cactus.

Uyuni - Potosi road, Bolivia

16.08.2003 - Travel from Uyuni to Potosi

Travel by public bus service from Uyuni to Potosi, over partly paved roads at extreme altitudes, in the middle of the Andes.

Potosi, Bolivia

17.08.2003 - Potosi city tour and silver miner excursion

Excursion to the interesting "museum of the coins" in Potosi, then tour into a silver miner where people work in terrible conditions, inside a mountain above 4.000 meters of altitude.

Sucre, Bolivia

18.08.2003 - Sucre city tour

Travel by public bus service from Potosi to Uyuni, Bolivia, then short Sucre city tour and excursion to the "dinosaurs footprints" park, a vertical wall of rock where dinosaurs tracks were left impressed after a sudden catastrophic event.

La Paz, Bolivia

19.08.2003 - La Paz city tour

Flight from Sucre to El Alto, one of the world's most elevated airports, near the city of La Paz, Bolivia. A short city tour of La Paz follows.

Tiahuanaco ruins, Bolivia

20.08.2003 - Tiahuanaco tour

Excursion to Tiahuanaco ruins by bus, departing from La Paz. This archeological site is very interesting and belongs to pre-Inca time.

Copacabana, Bolivia

21.08.2003 - Travel La Paz - Puno via Copacabana

Travel by public bus from La Paz to Puno (Peru) via Copacabana. Today, we cross the border line between Bolivia and Peru, traveling along the Titicaca lake shores.

Titicaca lake

22.08.2003 - Titicaca lake cruise

Like the ancient Uros people, about 2000 Peruvians still populate the floating islands built of Totora reeds, over lake Titicaca in Peru. Everything, from homes to the floating islands itself, is built using Totora reeds, a plant growing along the shores of lake Titicaca.

Perurail train

23.08.2003 - Travel Puno - Cusco by train

Travel from Puno to Cusco by train, over one of the world highest railway. The entire journey takes almost 12 hours, but worth because of the beautiful scenery.

Sacsayhuaman ruins, Peru

24.08.2003 - Excursions from Cusco

Cusco, in the middle of the Andes in Peru, is a city full of history and fascinating museum. The first day spent in Cusco is dedicated to an excursion to Sacsayhuaman fortress and to the temple of the sun.

Pisaq, Peru

25.08.2003 - Pisaq and Ollantaytambo tour

Drive from Cusco thru the Sacred Valley to Pisaq with its ancient ruins and the local handicraft market. Continue to Ollantaytambo where we spend the night.

Rail to Machu Picchu

26.08.2003 - Travel to Machu Picchu by train

Travel to Machu Picchu by train from Ollantaytambo. The narrow gauge railway finishes in Aguas Calientes where we have some rest and overnight.

Machu Picchu

27.08.2003 - Machu Picchu tour

Machu Picchu, the ancient Inca town, has been discovered only in 1911, although was always known by several local farmers. A tour of Machu Picchu gives the possibility to better understand the everyday life of who has lived here.

Inca wall

28.08.2003 - Cusco city tour and museums

Only one day in Cusco is never enough, so, in this second day, I visit several interesting museums and do more hikes in the city, where many modern buildings are built over ancient Inca walls.

Andes

29.08.2003 - Flight Cusco - Lima

Short flight from Cusco to Lima by a Lan Peru Airbus A320. This journey thru the Andes of South America is now about to finish.

Pre-Inca cemetery in Lima

30.08.2003 - Lima day tour

Excursion to a pre-Inca cemetery, before visiting Plaza de Armas and the interesting San Francisco monastery.

Minolta Dynax 5

Collection of the best pictures

The most beautiful pictures from Peru, Bolivia and Chile are collected in this page. Click the highlighted links for additional travel information, for useful links and for a description of the photography equipment.



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