Isla del sol and Copacabana on the way from Bolivia to Peru

Note: This post is from my travel in June, 2013

Copacabana is the main Bolivian town on the shore of Lake Titicaca. It’s a quite a touristic town, very small but filled with restaurants, small shops and backpackers. Copacabana has a cool subtropical highland climate which I was very happy about, since I came from the cold mountains in Bolivia and had freezed my ass of for weeks. It was so sweet to feel the warming sun and sit without jacket there :)

I traveled during early morning and arrived in Copacabana by bus and a small ferry boat, took about 4-5 hours. I went down to the harbour to get the tickets for the first boat to cross over to Isla del Sol which leaves at 8. I costed 25 bolivianos. Then I hunted down a nice place to where to eat breakfast. :)

 

Where I enjoyed my first meal in Copacabana

Where I enjoyed my first meal in Copacabana

Easy to get boat tickets over to Isla del Sol

Easy to get boat tickets over to Isla del Sol for 25 bolivianos

 

Isla del Sol (Island of the Sun) is the largest island in Lake Titicaca. It’s an ancient holy site of the Inca, mostly known because the Incas believed that the God of the Sun was born here. Inca legend says that Viracocha, the bearded God who created the universe, emerged from the waters of Lake Titicaca and created the sun at this location.

On the boat over I started talking to a girl from Spain, Maider and a man from England, Anthony, and since we were all three traveling alone, we joined forces :) We decided to walk south to north, and take back the boat from the other side the next day.

The boat over to Copacabana was easy, it took about 1,5 hours, but when we arrived.. buff! Apparently all the houses and the society is on top of the island, there’s nothing by the lake except for the bridge. And there are quite stiff inca-steps to walk up with all your backpack at altitude! It’s recommended to leave your backpack in your hostel in Copacabana, but I just went straight from La Paz, so I thought… How hard can it be? Haha. Well… hard!

The place we stayed in Yumani during that night costed like 15 bolivians or something, and it was with breakfast included. But it was freezing inside and there was not a how shower (anywhere on the island, almost).

The house were we slept, with the familys kids playing in front

The house were we slept, with the familys kids playing in front (and my backpack!:)

View over some archeological sites from our house

View over some archeological sites from our house

We went out for a walk around to see some of the archeological sites in the area. There are over 80 ruins on the island. Most of these date to the Inca period circa the 15th century AD. We saw a few that were close by and then we climbed up to the highest top of the island to see the sunset. It was absolutely fantastic! All the people from around gathered there to watch it together.

Anthony enjoying the island and the sunset!

Anthony and Maider enjoying the island and the sunset from yet another ruin!

The beautiful sunset!!

The beautiful sunset!!

And me :)

And me :)

We also encountered two llamas having some fun and enjoying themselves, for a veery long time. I took plenty of photos, I just found the situation so funny, and they made this particularly funny sounds… Yes, I have it on video also… Haha. And it was a fantaastic location! :)

Beautiful scenery...

Beautiful scenery…

Beautiful llamas...

Beautiful llamas…

They are reaally enjoying themselves...

They are reaally enjoying themselves…

We then wen’t around ”in town” to find a place where we could eat dinner.The life in the island is tranquil, there is no noise, no motorized traffic and no rubbish on the streets, only animals and nature.

After the sunset it got really dark, and there were no lights on the streets! We survived not falling thanks to our head torches. We found a great little house who served dinner to us, we were the only guests, and I was so happy about having candle lights – its so cozy and totally missing from every other restaurant in south america, haha. The dinner was about 35 bolivianos and totally worth it. Then we went back to our cold beds to catch the sunrise early.

Our view while we ate breakfast :)

Our view while we ate breakfast :) (and the other swedish traveleres we met who were stupid)

We had breakfast outside our home to a view over the Lake Titicaca. Beautiful.
Geographically the terrain is harsh, it’s rocky and not so much growth, but it’s has beautiful views from wherever you are since you are above on a hill.

There are about 800 families on the whole island, and their main economic activity is farming, fishing and some tourism. Archaeologists have discovered evidence that people lived on the island as far back as the third millennium before christ!

Wherever you go on the island, you find a new archeological site. And there is no one else but you there. It’s free to walk and sit wherever you want. I walked around imagining how it was like over a thousands years ago.

So cute with all the colorful fabrics :)

So cute with all the colorful fabrics :)

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Enjoying ourselves in our ruin house ;)

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Me and Anthony :)

Actually, at the most famous place on the island, there were a couple of ”guides” there, one was about 6 years old and the other about 10. They explained the story about the mythology and the archeology and you can give them a small tip to show our appreciation. Actually, without them, we would not have seen what it was that was ”so famous” about that.. haha.

We watched the The Rock of the Puma, or Titi Kharka, after which the lake is named, which is a large formation of a rock that looks like a Puma (sort of… but the guide showed us ;)

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The Puma….. Its there somewhere, I swear!

Then there was a Inca table that was used for human sacrifices..

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And us chilling at the Inca table :) No sacrifices here!

And the most important, the Footsteps of the Sun – there are like some ”supernatural” marks in a rock, where it is said that it was there the God of the Sun took his first steps.

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The ”magical” footsteps of the sun…

Well. Maybe that wasn’t to much to brag about, the archeological sites and the scenery around is much nicer! :)

While getting closer to the north of the island, I noticed there’s like a special harmony there, you can feel it all over your body. I felt so good there, good vibrations, I don’t know what it was…. but it was something special about this place. I could have easily spent a week or so there just doing nothing, just feeling and breathing and being happy.

 

Panoramic over the walk

Panoramic over the walk

Beautiful lake!

Beautiful lake!

Terraces and blue sky

Terraces and blue sky

Walking around the island!

Walking around the island!

Some pigs and other animals by the beach :)

Some pigs and other animals by the beach :)

There are many agricultural terraces and llamas, donkeys, and then the island is surrounded with all this water, sometimes there are rocks, sometimes there’s beach, and on the other side of the water you can catch the glimps of the  big snowy mountain. There are so many contrasts! Then here in the north of the island, we also got on lower grounds and it was getting hotter, and there was a beach and some people from the villages around :)

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Farmers working

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Woman and her son by the beach

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Fantastic views!

When we arrived at Cha’llapampa, the town from where the boat leaves in the northern end of the island, we still had some time before the boat left back to Copacabana. We went to the Museo de Oro which shows different treasures that have been discovered underwater around the island. Then we bought some snacks and food.

During our walk around the island we had to pay some small fees because we were trespassing from the south to the norht of the island or something like that, also the museum was like 10 bs. But other than that, just beautiful silence and harmony.
We laughed at one guy who had got there with his big suitcase with wheels. Really not the best place where to bring that! Not at all in Bolivia I would say…. ;)

We took the boat back (and they let me steer a while:) and once back in Copacabana we enjoyed ourselves in the last hours of sun, just sitting outside a bar/restaurant, before splitting to different places.We all had buses leaving at 18,  I was on my way to Cusco in Peru again, Anthony to Arequipa in Peru and Maider to La Paz in Bolivia. I’m so glad I found these two, had such a nice time with them.

Stearing the boat back ;)

Stearing the boat back ;)

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Enjoying food and nice company in the sun!

I went with Huancayo tours from Copacabana to Cusco, a good company with nice buses and first class. :)

On the bus I met a guy named Sebastian who soon had been traveling for a year around the world and had visited like 55 countries!!…. And I will only visit like 6 countries in a year.. haha. He must have had a crazy schedule!

Well… That was that!

Don’t miss Isla del Sol if you are going between Bolivia and Peru!! :)

 

 

Annonser

My favorite hidden gems in South America

After a year traveling around Central & South America, these are the places I liked the most. Since they are not very well-known, I’d like to call them ”my hidden gems”.

These ”cities” are very down-to-earth and laid-back places where I have felt something special inside, like a bubbling feeling of happiness, calmness and fulfillness.

 

1. — Holbox – Mexico —

The beach at Holbox

The beach at Holbox

Sunset in Holbox

Sunset in Holbox

 

Shallow water, birds, and blue sky.

Shallow water, birds, and blue sky.

 

There is just something special about this small island outside of the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico. This island has a natural beauty – white sand, palm trees, shallow ocean, thousands of flamingos and pelicans. Most of the habitants work as fishermen and it’s considered a virgin tourist destination unspoiled by mass tourism. There is only a main square and a few streets which are made of sand and there are just a handful of ”cars” on the island. You sleep, eat, do some small excursions, go to small music events, visit small shops with handicraft and just relax. You eat and live cheaply here too.

 

2. — Isabela – The Galapagos – Ecuador —

The mainstreet in isabela... beautiful with sand!

The main street in isabela… beautiful with sand!

The tuneles

The tuneles

Bluefooted boobies

Bluefooted boobies

Beautiful surroundings!

Beautiful surroundings!


I love all the Galapagos islands,
but if I would have to choose one of them for living – it would be Isabela. although it is the biggest island it is the less populated of the habituated islands. Most tourists only come here for day tours so the ambiance feels very local. Also on this island, the streets are made of sand. It is very safe here. There are plenty of things to do and see here, you can visit lava tunnels, active volcanoes, you can snorkel with big tortoises, watch blue footed boobies, pink flamingos. It is not expensive here either.

 

3. — Jericoacoara – Brazil —

Enjoying life!!!

Enjoying life!!!

Windsurfers and a man playing capoeira-music

Windsurfers and a man playing capoeira-music

The streets are full with hantcraft stands

The streets are full with handicraft stands

Sunset in Jericoacoara

Sunset in Jericoacoara

A little street filled with restaurants

A little street filled with restaurants


This is like a bigger version of Holbox
, with more people, more shops and more activity, but still it has a lot of charm. This place is a paradise for windsurfers and kitesurfers. So yes, it is very windy but hey! – there are no mosquitoes :) If you get tired of the wind you can visit the Blue Lagoon, lovely calm lagoon famous for the hanging hammocks in the water. Jericoacoara is a mix of great people – during the day you’ll see all the active sporty people, and during the nights you’ll see all the musicians and the handicraftsmen out selling their work. There are always live music in a bar or a restaurant, always something to do. The main streets are of course – made of sand. :)

 

4. — Lagoa da Conceição – Florianopolis – Brazil —

Barra Da lagoa

Barra Da lagoa

View over Lagoa do Conceicão

View over Lagoa do Conceicão

Praia do Joaquina in Florianopolis

Praia do Joaquina in Florianopolis


This is a magical place
. It’s a laid-back neighbourhood with super nice surroundings. The area has a small town center and some of the island’s best beaches, and a lagoon that is surrounded by beautiful green hills. Surfing is a popular sport here. There is a lovely big mixture of all kind of Brazilians, but also a lot of Europeans that decided to stay or study here. The city Florianopolis has a lot of culture and bars to offer too.

 

5.  —  Isla del sol – Copacabana –  Bolivia — 

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Boats, beach, small houses and snowy mountains behind

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Clear water and hills with place for cultivation

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Local people in the south of Isla del Sol


This is an oasis in all the chaos between Bolivia and Peru
. This small island in the lake Titicaca is beautiful and super quiet. There is no noise, no cars, no rubbish on the streets. Not even lampposts (bring your head-torche). Beautiful sunsets and sunrises and the sky is super clear so you can see a lot of stars during the night. People live in harmony here with the nature and it’s surroundings. You can walk from the north to the south and see llamas and donkeys and some old inca-archaelogical sites along the way. Sweet local kids will offer you a little guided history about the history of Isla del Sol. There are a few small museums on the island too. I really enjoyed the landscapes in the south.

 

¿Have you been to any of these places? ¿What was your impression?

 

~ If I would extend the list these cities would probably make the list too, all though there are all not ”hidden gems” since some of them are capitals.

• Cusco (Peru) • Puerto Maldonado (Peru) • Quito (Ecuador) • Rio De Janeiro (Brazil) • Salvador (Brazil) • San Cristobal De Las Casas (Mexico) • Isla Mujeres (Mexico) • Tulum (Mexico) • La Paz (Bolivia) and • Buenos Aires (Argentina).

Brain short circuit – slowly coming back

I have been meaning to start writing for a very long time, but it has just been to much for me. You know when you have tooooo many things to write down so instead of just starting you get a short-circuit in your brain and watch tv-series and do bracelets instead?? Exactly.

That’s pretty much how I’ve felt the last couple of months. I don’t know why. I’ve felt quite inspired but not productive.. I’m really not good in handling strain right now. 

But today I’m taking a few short steps in starting writing again. Maybe it will come back.

What’s keeping me back is that I have missed to write about a few very important moments in my trip: 

1) My visit to the Island of Sun in Copacabana, Bolivia, where I really enjoyed the company of my fellow alone-travelers Maider from Spain and Anthony from England (where I later met Anne on my way back too!)

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One of the beaches on the north side (challapampa) of Isla del Sol in the lake Titikaka in Copacabana, Bolivia.

2) When I was in Cusco in Peru and got to meet with my friends from Sweden, Mats & Ewa, Jacob Spijk and David & Carol, such a weird feeling to speak Swedish and fika!

Having lunch with Ewa, Mats and Jacob in Cuzco (notice the snus on the table, so swedish!)

Having lunch with Ewa, Mats and Jacob in Cuzco (notice the snus on the table, so swedish!)

3) My trip to Puerto Maldonado where I visited the jungle, ziplined through the rainforest and kajaked in the amazonas river, got to pet some monkeys and parrots and also got to spend time with three great Norwegian guys, two French girls and a Brazilian couple :)

With the greatest group in front of the Amazonas river in Puerto Maldonado

With the greatest group in front of the Amazonas river in Puerto Maldonado

So you understand that I have a few adventures to write about, and thousands of pictures to share.  Well.. not really… Because my waterproof camera got lost in the Amazonas river together with all my pictures from the second and third point here above. Stupid stupid stupid me. I have a few cellphone pics from the Swedish invasion and all the pictures the norwegian guys took (thank god for that!) but it’s not really the same.

I think that’s one of the reasons why I haven’t written about it, because it reminds me of my lost, I can still remember every picture I’ve taken. Yes, I’ve always been very sentimental about my pictures…. Still remember and “cry about” (not literally) the two times my camera got stolen – about the pictures that got lost and that I’ll never see again. The memories slowly shade away. So no, I’m not sad about the camera itself (I can buy a new one) but I’m greatly sad because of the pictures of the future memories that got lost.

Well. I think this will be enough for this entry. By the way, I’ve recently started to look into Brazil… and woooow I’m looking so much forward to it, a warm sun, turquoise sea and a white sand beach….. scuba dive and surf…. Ahhh!!

Free Walking Tours and The Vertical Route!

Hello!

So after the most dangerous road we took a calm day in La Paz. We went shopping in the morning (yes, I have bought a christmas gift for everyone in my family now) and then we had some other tucumanas to eat (so good that Ad also is vegetarian, haha).  We also went to different agencies to try to arrange Ad’s uyuni trip and then my vertical route, but apparently you need to be 2 people to do that tour, and there was no one interested for the day after… :/

After that we went to the San Francisco church where the free walking tours start. It’s a great idea, you just need 1 boliviano for the chicken bus to the viewpoint over the city, and then you tip the guide what you want. :) It’s mostly young bolivians who want to show their city, so it’s more like a cultural experience.

Artwork and cars

Artwork and cars

Even if I had been in La Paz for 4 days, I still hadn’t visited many of the places we went to. We visited the main attractions but also some local places, like different markets.  We visited the Sagarnaga street, The witches market, Plaza murillo,  Calle Jaen, San Pedro jail, a few viewpoints over the city and a couple of different markets.. probably a few more places that I don’t remember the name of. It was great. They have free walking tours every day at 11am and 2pm, takes about 3 hours and the meeting point outside San Francisco church, the guide will wear a blue shirt where it says “free walking tour”.

The haunted street - looks quite lovely to me

The haunted street – looks quite lovely to me

In plaza murillo, lots of pidgeons!

In plaza murillo, lots of pidgeons!

Mmm!

Mmm!

Women selling vegetables at the street... on the street...

Women selling vegetables at the street… on the street…

View over La Paz

View over La Paz

Having some great banana and papaya juice in the local market in La Paz

Having some great banana and papaya juice in the local market in La Paz

On the walking tour I also met some nice people, one of them Tristan from Switzerland, which got interested in doing the vertical tour with me tomorrow, greeeeeeeaaaat!!! At night he, me and two german girls went to eat dinner at Swissfondue, the first time I eat swissfondue (in Bolivia), and it was really really nice (and expensive) :)

Having swiss fondue for the first time - in bolivia! With tristan and two german girls who I went on the city tour with

Having swiss fondue for the first time – in bolivia! With tristan and two german girls who I went on the city tour with

Next day we got picked up at our accommodation for the vertical route. It was me, Tristan, and two guides, Didac originally from Barcelona in Spain but who has been living in Bolivia for 10 years now and Freddy who is from a community here close to the vertical route and who has opened up this attraction. This Vertical Tour is the only “Via ferrata” (the only protected climbing route) in Bolivia, and also the highest one in the world : )

We had like one hour trip up to La Cumbre again and we passed by all the groups that were going to do the worlds most dangerous road : ) We started on that road but then took another way to the Yungas Valleys.

Haha..... do you see something funny in this picture?

Haha….. do you see something funny in this picture?

On our way they told me so much interesting stuff about Bolivia, about the upcoming narkotica-traffic problem, about the coca plantations, the pollution, about politics, the good and bad things todays government has done, about the communities and the non-profit organizations etc… so interesting talk, really appreciated.. Since this is the first country which I don’t do couchsurfing in, I haven’t really heard that much about the true Bolivia. 

When we arrived in the Yungas Valleys (so beautiful!) we started with rappelling down like 10-15 meters or something, wow, that’s so scary at first. It’s a controlled descent from a stiff rock with help of a rope.. but you have to lean out from the rock, and that is really scaring in the beginning because you are so used to be standing on your feet with the weight on them, but here you have the weight on your waist instead and the feet are just a support.. and then walking down by letting the rope go of a little bit more rope.. haha.

More rappel :)

Rappel :)

Then we came down to the Tibetan bridge, which basically is three ropes between to mountains, one you stand on and two higher above which you hold on to with your hands. That was really funny! So cool to see the forest below your feet while walking on a thin line. :) But it’s so much easier when you hold on to the ropes, you don’t have that bad balance then as you think you would have, haha.

Me in the tibetan bridge

Me in the tibetan bridge

The tibetan bridge.. love it!

The tibetan bridge.. love it!

When we arrived to the other side, we had to climb up maybe around 30 meters until we reached the base for the zipline to the other side. It’s a cable mounted on between to mountains, and you hang yourself with a freely moving pulley on the cable and then your own gravity makes you go from the top to the bottom of the inclined cable… so much fun! :) When I saw the cable the first time I actually got that lovely adrenaline rush in my body and it was the first time I felt a little bit scared by thinking that I’ll be hanging there soon .. but then once in the air – it was soooo much fun!! :) Then we did rappel down to our starting point.

Climbing .. very focused.. haha

Climbing .. very focused.. haha

Zipline!!

Zipline!!

Rappel down the mountain!

Rappel down the mountain!

Since we only were two on this route, we had time to do it again! So after lunch we did it a second time and it was much easier since we had a little bit more practice, we just started doing rappel without even thinking about . Didac pointed out that he was proud of us, what he loves about his work is to see the progress.

My shadow on the rock

My shadow on the rock

Tristan falling! Oh no! (The second time we felt a little bit more comfy to try this kind of stuff  ;)

Tristan falling! Oh no! (The second time we felt a little bit more comfy to try this kind of stuff ;)

Me and Tristan :)

Me and Tristan :)

Freddy and Didac, so great  guides, funny, friendly, helpful, careful.. everything!

Freddy and Didac, so great guides, funny, friendly, helpful, careful.. everything!

Rappel :(

Rappel :)

After doing everything again, they asked us if we wanted to do and extra rappel about 30 meters down, from where we usually climb up. It’s not in the route but since we had time, why not? :) They had done it a couple of times before, and you end up down below in the middle of the jungle/forest. It was really steep, but it was much easier to do this rappel since it was an even rock and not an uneven muddy mountain under. The hardest part with rappel is to actually have the guts to do it just in the beginning, the leaning out from the normal standing point.

Freddy is doing rappel 30 metres down... and now it's my turn! (this isn't in the regular route but since we only were 2 on the tour we had plenty more of time to do more cool stuff)

Freddy is doing rappel 30 metres down… and now it’s my turn! (this isn’t in the regular route but since we only were 2 on the tour we had plenty more of time to do more cool stuff)

Such a great day, I had a blast, and I felt so safe and comfortable with Freddy and Didac, they were both so much fun. This is really something I recommend – and it’s perfectly safe, they have had engineers there studying the technical viability and supervised the installations. The cables, harnesses, pulleys and helmets have all been certified. The cables and ropes are really strong, you can carry like 700 kilos on one rope (and you have two on you all the time!), and the zipline can carry about 16 tons on the cable.. so there’s nothing to be afraid of.. it’s just an adrenaline kick, some exercise and lot’s of fun!

I went through the agency Altitude which I had booked the world’s most dangerous road with before, so I got a little bit of a discount for 530 bs, but they work with other agencies too. Look at their webpage, http://verticalroutebolivia.com/

Group picture, Tristan, Freddy, Didac and Me in the beautiful surroundings of the Yungas Valley in La Paz, Bolivia

Group picture, Tristan, Freddy, Didac and Me in the beautiful surroundings of the Yungas Valley in La Paz, Bolivia

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Lovely La Paz and biking The Death Road

So.. I was worried that I would hate La Paz, I’ve heard it’s an ugly city and not worth to visit many days… but I had also heard it’s wonderful. You either love or hate la paz, and guess what –  I loved it!

I arrived in early morning and took a cab to the hostel, where I stayed the whole day with my computer, just chilling. I had a room with 6 people, but when I woke up (I went to bed when I got the room) we were only 2, me and Uma. Then in the afternoon another guy also showed up, Ad, both of them from England. We had really nice talks that evening. It’s a lot of party in this hostal, but our room remained calm, phew!

Next day Uma left and it was only me and Ad in our room for 6, really nice. :) We went for a walk around the city, I really really enjoy La Paz.. I had such a good feeling inside my body while walking around the streets, it feels bad to say it but I thought it was going to be much more “darker” here but people are so friendly and so sophisticated here..  there’s really a mix between business people in costumes and indigenous people.

Panorama over La Paz

Panorama over La Paz

La Paz is around 3650 meters above sea level, beautifully surrounded by mountains and snow tops. But the architechure is weird, you see one house that’s about to fall apart just besides a totally brand new modern house. They have a lot of colonial buildings, but it costs more to restore them then to build a new modern house.. so the whole city is a mix of everything, and I find it charming. :)

We went to Plaza Murillo, to the San Francisco church (yes, there’s one in every city),  had some humitas/tucumans,  shopped in the witches market (sooo many beautiful things!!!!) and then had a great coffee at Alexanders. Ad had been there the day before, and wow, great coffee (it’s not easy to get normal coffee in south america, it’s almost always nescafe) and the greatest brownie with ice-cream ever. Hehe. ;)

Plaza Murillo

Plaza Murillo

Me and Ad having tucumanas, lovely egg and potato empanadas for 3 bs each (0,4 USD) :)

Me and Ad having tucumanas, lovely egg and potato empanadas for 3 bs each (0,4 USD) :)

So weird architechture here in la paz....

So weird architechture here in la paz….

Llama fosters...

Llama fosters in the witches market… They help you keep bad spirits away when you move into a house..

So many shops... *shopping*

So many nice things to shop… :)

Wall in La Paz

Wall in La Paz

Then Ad left to the airport to go to Rurrenbaque (the jungle), and I went to the Altitude office to book my ”The worlds most dangerous road”-tour for next day. While I was sitting alone and a little bit sad in my room (yes, it was only me there now), Ad came back! His flight got cancelled because of a storm or something, too bad for him, but I had great company again : )

He also signed up for the same bike-tour tomorrow and then we went out to eat dinner in a place on the Sagarnaga street, a Thai/Indian/Japanese restaurant… It was a really long ”hallway” to the restaurant, and we were just about to turn around just because it was tooo long walk from the street.. but the music and my curiousness kept me going and when I saw the restaurant – beautiful cozy lights, lovely andean music, beautiful furniture – we were like ”oh, it’s looks nice, at least let’s go and see the menu!”. The man that attended us was sooooo sweeet, he was half bolivian and half italian, and a real gentlemen. So funny and talk active too, and he let us have a menu even if it was night, so it was 2 meals and dessert for like 30 bolivianos.. Perfect! And the food was amazing, I had indian aubergine-thing… so good. : )

Me and Ad having DELICIOUS food!

Me and Ad having DELICIOUS food!

Lovely restaurant!! Thai indian and japanese something... in sagarnata street.. one block from san francisco church to the left!

Lovely restaurant!! Thai indian and japanese something… in sagarnata street.. one block from san francisco church to the left!

Next day they picked us up at 7.30 to go to the Yungas road, or the Death Road as it’s normally called. We were about 14 people in total in our group, plus 3 guides. We went in two vans, and it was a really funny group, we also listened to really great music that makes you pepp. The road up to where the death road starts was closed though due to snowfall and icy roads, so we had to wait for a couple of hours in the mountains, we got our gear and had breakfast. The mountains were all covered in snow, so beautiful. A funny thing, the man I sat next to on the bus from Uyuni to La Paz was here too, with his two daughters that was visiting him from Brasil, such a coincidence! Hehe. 

Lovely sights on our way to the death road

Lovely sights on our way to the death road

In the beginning of the road, getting our bikes... snowy mountains!

In the beginning of the road, getting our bikes… snowy mountains!

Group picture before the ride. :)

Group picture before the ride. :)

Later the road opened and we started from La Cumbre at 4650m and around 64 km downhill bike tour through the most dangerous road in the world. There are many crosses along the road marking where the vehicles have fallen.. On Wikipedia it says that around 200-300 travellers are killed every year along the road, but I don’t know if it’s true.. or maybe it’s on vehicles. On bikes there’s just a few people every year that die, our guide told us last one was a Japanese girl that took a self shoot while cycling and fell over the edge… so now the guides tell us not to have any cameras with us while cycling, to leave them in the car, and they take pictures instead (the company gives you a dvd later with them).

Me and my bike :)

Me and my kona-bike :)

Group picture on the death road!

Group picture on the death road!

t was a really nice experience, such a beautiful scenery. I didn’t find the road that dangerous itself, you can of course fall on it because there’s sand and rocks, but the road is quite wide for an bicycle, it’s more dangerous for a car, or when two cars meet eachother, then one of them have to reverse until they find a place where it’s wide enough for two cars to pass. So bicycling isn’t as dangerous as long as you have control over your bike, some people fall on the road and maybe break their arm or something, but you don’t fall over the edge if you don’t go too fast. Also we had good weather, I guess it’re more dangerous when it’s all really muddy. One thing that is a little scary is that the downhill bikers aren’t allowed to bike on the inside against the mountain, we have to move to the outer edge of the road. It’s a little scary but it makes it’s safer for the vehicles so that they can pass safely.

Me on the death road.. :)

Me on a wide part of the death road.. :)

Having a water break on the death road

Having a water break on the death road

The end of the road we arrive in Coroico at 1200 metres, where it’s really warm! Such a difference, we left winter and arrived in summer! We had a buffet and then I jumped in the outside swimming pool there : ) So nice to not be cold! Hehe.

Having our lunch on like 1200 metres... where it's 25 degrees, sunny and hot!! :)

Having our lunch on Coroico… where it’s 25 degrees, sunny and hot!! :) P.S a HUGE butterfly was circuling there, it looks like a bat on the pic, you see where they are looking? just above one girls head.

Then we had like a 3 hour ride back home to our hostel, we arrived quite tired.. Ad had hurt his arm on the road, nothing too serious but still enough to not be able to bend the arm. He went to bed early to rest and slept like 12 hours, haha. I was thinking first about going out to a club where one of our guides were a DJ, but then I got really lazy too, so nice to lay on the bed skyping with Duilio.. : )

Next post will be about the free walking tour and the vertical route!

 

 

Salt flakes tour – day 3 & 4

Day 3: LAGUNA COLORADA – SAN JUAN.-
After breakfast (we got up at 7, so it was ok) we went to Laguna Colorada where we finally could see flamingos!! : ) They usually migrate to warmer countries during winter, but there were plenty of them in Laguna Colorada and later in Laguna Cañapa. We also crossed the Desert of Siloli where de famous ¨Arbol de Piedra¨or ¨Stone Tree¨ can be seen and other big rocks… there was quite much snow there, and you noticed the tourists there who aren’t used to snow haha, they were all throwing snowballs at each other : ) After that we went to a lot of different small lagoons, Laguna Ramaditas, Laguna Honda, Laguna Chiarkota, Laguna Hediond and lastly the Laguna Cañapa. We passed by an active volcano that had smoke and then we passed by the  small Salar De Chiguana  before we arrived at San Juan where we spent the night. It was all made of salt, the beds (not the matrasses though) the chairs, tables, floor, walls… everything :)
This was also the place were you could charge your camera, phew, because I was almost out of battery!! (the cold eats it up). We played some cards again and had an early night sleep.

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Laguna Colorada and some flamingos

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Laguna cañapa. Beautiful!

Flamingo

Flamingo

Me photographing some flamingos (david took this pic)

Me photographing some flamingos (david took this pic)

A fox.

A fox.

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Me and the famous stone tree :) All natural!

Volcanic rocks

Volcanic rocks

Snowball fight haha.

Snowball fight haha.

Our room at the salt hostel.

Our room at the salt hostel. Everything is made of salt! Walls, floor, beds..

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Haha, such a funny pic…. group picture of the four of us in the salt hostel :) We laugh so much together!


Day 4: SAN JUAN –
 UYUNI .-
Once again we woke up at 5 to drive to the Salar de Uyuni where we watched the sunrise. Then we went to Isla del Pescado, where there are giant cactuses and a nice viewpoint over the whole salar. We had our breakfast there and then we drove out in the middle of nowhere in the Salar de Uyuni and took loads of pictures and had our lunch there. Then we went to the first Salar Hotel and then a lodized salt processing plant in Colchani. Then we had a stop at a market where we bought some souvenirs and then drove to the town of Uyuni (ugly) where we visited the Train Cementary.. The trains was taken out of service 1825 but Bolivia don’t have what it takes to recycle it, so they were just put there in Uyuni instead… After that they left us at Uyuni around 14.30 where David, Jessika and Anne were staying one night. My bus didn’t leave until 20 so I joined them, I payed 20 bs to storage my bag there and to take a shower.. ah lovely hot shower!! :D Then we went to minuteman pizza, in the lonely planet book it is said to be the best pizza in bolivia… and damn it was goooood. :) Time flew by and I had to go to the bus terminal to take the bus to La Paz. It costed 105 bs (around 15 USD) with Cruz del Norte, and I arrived at la paz around 6.30 in the morning.

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In Isla del Pescado, with gigant cactuses, like 2000 years old

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Breakfast :)

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Haha.. what to say.. I’m like a puppet.

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Blowing away Jessika and David.. :)

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Crushing Anne! Hehehe

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Eating Anne and Jessika.. yummi!

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I can jump over our car.. and Anne.. hehe

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A lot of flags represented, but no Swedish or Spanish flag… damn it, should have brought one!

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salt processing plantation

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The train cementary… :)

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Sooo goood pizza….!! Mmmm…

more pics

 

4 days Salt flakes tour – lovely! Day 1 & 2

I’ve had such an amazing time on the tour, the itinerary was great, the sights and places breathtaking beautiful and our group so funny, I enjoyed every second of it (except the freezing nights, but that’s also an experience…so). I thought it was going to be hard to be without internet – meaning no talking to Duilio, but having such a great tour and people around me made it much easier, and I started to feel the travel spirit inside of me again.

This is going to be a quite long entry with loooots of pictures,…. it was sooo beautiful. And cold. Apparently internet SUCKS here so I’ll only upload day 1 and 2 today!

Day 1: TUPIZA – SAN ANTONIO DE LIPEZ.- 
Me and Anne were supposed to get picked up at 8.30, but we didn’t leave until around 13. We had lunch at our hotel first with the two other people, David and Jessika from England. Then we finally started our tour, we passed by the Quebrada de palala and then the Sillar, that has a fantastic moon landscape. It was sooo windy too! But actually quite hot in the car. Then we went to the mining areas of Nazarenito, Chilcobija, Cerrillos, Polulos, Rio San Pablo until we reaced the village of San Antonio de Lipez where we slept our first night. It was soooo cold. The flush in the toilets didn’t work because the water in them had frozen to ice. We had some tea and then a good dinner, and two kids from the village sang and played some music for us (or something like that, it was sweet though). Then we all went to sleep since we were going up at 5 next morning. I put everything I had on me, It was -7*C outside, and 2 degrees inside… people would think I should be used to the cold, but I’m not used to have it so cold inside!! I had 2 thermal tights, 3 long sleeved shirts, 1 fleece jacket, a pair of socks, a pair of leg warmers, a hat, gloves and two scarfs…. Still it took me a couple of hours to fall asleep because I was so cold, my feet hurt.  I woke up a couple of times during night because I needed to pee, but I reaaaally didn’t want to go up.. so I didn’t, haha.

Quebrada de Palala, this was all in the bottom of the ocean before!

Quebrada de Palala, this was all in the bottom of the ocean before!

El sillar/Valley of the moon.

El sillar/Valley of the moon.

Day 2: SAN ANTONIO – LAGUNA COLORADA.-
Next morning we woke up at 5, and it was still dark outside. We had breakfast and then started our journey,we visited the colonial ruins of San Antonio, also known as Ghost Town… 200 years ago people actually lived there, but it seemed much older. It was so cold that we just ran trough the ruins and took some pictures, then we kept on to the Torreón and the Laguna Morejón.. then we went to Quetena where they have aguas calientes, hot springs…. Oh and it was sooo great, the water temperature was 35 degrees!! We never wanted to get out.. and I feel soooo sorry for the people who didn’t dare to jump in because it was cold outside. It was totally worth it! So nice to be warm again. We had lunch there, and Anne had put her bikini to dry in the sun, but instead it froze, haha so fun. After lunch we headed to some other lagoons and volcanos
(Laguna Polques to Laguna Verde, at the foot of the Volcano Licancabur 5960 m.a.s.l.).

Then we cross the Desert of Dali which I didn’t really fond so much… then we went to 5000 m.a.s.l. and visited the ¨Sol de Mañana¨ geysers, volcanic craters with effusions of sulfur vapors and heavy water. Then we went to the village where we were going to sleep. We went to the little shop in town and I bought an extra pair of socks, then we spent the afternoon having tea and talking and after dinner we played cards in our room.
This is the highest and coldest place, around -15*C outside, but it felt warmer inside then yesterday, we actually had two doors into our room, so we were happy :)

Beautiful scenery along the way. There has snowed a bit here too!

Beautiful scenery along the way. There has snowed a bit here too!

Our group jumping in front of Laguna Celeste and the volcano Uturuncu

Our group jumping in front of Laguna Celeste and the volcano Uturuncu

A small little lagoon

A small little lagoon

Some vicuñas running

Some vicuñas running

Beautiful scenery..

Beautiful scenery..

Me and Anne at the thermal baths - so happy to be warm again! 35 degrees inside, but probably around 5 degrees in the air.

Me and Anne at the thermal baths – so happy to be warm again! 35 degrees inside, but probably around 5 degrees in the air.

Sometimes you get stuck!

Sometimes you get stuck!

Playing cards at our second place.. we all sit in our sleeping bags and in a lot of clothes to not freeze to death :p

Playing cards at our second place.. we all sit in our sleeping bags and in a lot of clothes to not freeze to death :p