Around the World... One Journey at a Time. Around the World... One Journey at a Time.

Bolivia: Day 5

by Kathy 30. November 2007 08:00

<< Day 4: Llica to Villa Mar | Day 6: Quetena to Tupiza >>


The Sud Lípez Area (Borax Mines, Laguna Colorada,Geysers, and Laguna Verde)


I woke up feeling very well rested. I even managed to eat a small amount of breakfast. Today we were setting off to explore the amazing Sud Lípez area in the southern tip of Bolivia.

On the way we stopped for a short break and I decided to take a rest by sitting on what I had been affectionately viewing as soft tufts of grass along the road. Down I sat, only to discover that those “soft tufts” are really a form of desert cactus. Up I sprang, pulling long spiny rods out of the back of my pants (ouch!). Here I am a few minutes later sitting on some rocks with some of my furry friends:


Our first destination today was the borax mines. From a distance, the borax mining area looked very similar to the salty salars we had crossed over the past two days. Our road with the borax fields in the distant:

A closer view:

Maurice wanted to take us to see the warehouses and the miners’ residences. We stopped briefly at the entrance, where a tire sign read “Prohibido el Ingreso a Vehiculos” (Vehicles Prohibited from Entering).

Here we are in front of one of the warehouses and some of the miners’ quarters. During the winter, the temperatures here can be brutally cold.

As we continued onward, we had our first sighting of a herd of wild vicuñas.

Vicuñas are small members of the camel family that live only at elevations above 11,400 feet in the high Andes. They have traditionally been hunted for their soft and warm fur; however, they were declared endangered in 1974, when only about 6,000 animals were left.

After traveling for miles through pretty stark landscape, we were surprised to find this natural spring with green plants (and a herd of llamas) at the entrance to the Reserva Eduardo Avaroa.

A short distance later we reached the Laguna Colorada, which is a large lake with a reddish color from the algae that live in the water. The lake is the nesting ground for different kinds of flamingoes that migrate here and feed on the red algae (which turns the flamingoes pink). The guard at the reserve entrance asked us to keep our bikes away from the edge of the lake because the flamingoes were in their nesting period and shouldn’t be disturbed.

Laguna Colorada is approximately 14,000 feet in elevation. The surrounding landscape has nothing visually alive for miles and miles--just barren rock and dirt. (But there’s actually a road sign out here!)

We then headed up to the Sol de Mañana geyser, at an altitude of over 15,000 feet. The geyser sits inside a volcanic crater, with numerous pools of boiling mud and sulphur.

David prepared a nice picnic lunch for us, and we sat among the rocks near the geyser and enjoyed the beautiful day. Here are Rene, Hugo (partially hidden) and Gérald:

Maurice then led us further south toward the Chilean border. Along the way, we passed more flamingoes:

One of the few buildings that we passed:

The roads then changed from rocky to fine deep sand (miles and miles of it), where you had to go really fast to stay up on top. The surrounding landscape:

We passed by the Dali Rocks (supposedly they inspired Salvador Dali), which we could see from a distance:

View of the Volcán Licancabur, a dormant volcano that is about 19,250 feet high.

Finally, we arrived at the Laguna Verde, with waters that are a beautiful green due to the arsenic and other minerals in the water.

We arrived just as a herd of vicuñas were running by the edge of the lake:

Ben and I:

The wind was blowing ferociously, so the water was choppy:

We returned through the same deep-sand roads that we arrived on (they were even more fun the second time). We were constantly entertained by the beauty of the mountains, rock formations, sporadic greenery, and llama herds:

David and I passing by a typical small village:

Close-up of one of the houses:

We finally arrived at the small town of Queteña, where we would stay the night. Here we are in the courtyard of our hostel:

The manager/owner of the hostel, with her daughter:

After a quick shower, I noticed that the daylight was fading, and I told Ben that I wanted to explore the town a bit. We went outside and walked around, saying hello to the few people that we saw. However, there weren’t many people outside (it was quite cold and windy), and there were no shops or cafes to visit, so we returned to the hostel after a short time. Here I am on the main street:

A local rancher cooked a dinner of llama steaks for the group this evening. Unfortunately, my stomach was still very sensitive and rejected even the thought of meat, so I had to miss the experience of eating llama.

<< Day 4: Llica to Villa Mar | Day 6: Quetena to Tupiza >>

Back to Home Page



Add comment

  Country flag

  • Comment
  • Preview

Map of Our Journeys

(click the map to enlarge)
Our travel map

Places We’ve Been, w/Quick Links

   Bumthang Valley
   Gom Kora
   Paro Valley
   Punakha Dzong
   Sangdrup Jongkhar
   Wangdi Phrodrang

   Janko Marca
   La Paz
   Laguna Colorada
   Laguna Verde
   Salar de Coipasa
   Salar de Uyuni
   San Pablo
   Santa Rosa
   Sud Lipez
   World’s Most Dangerous Road

   Banff National Park
   Battle Hill Nat'l Hist. Site
   Boya Lake Prov. Park, BC
   Burns Lake Bike Park
   Canyon Sainte-Anne
   Dawson Creek
   Eastern Townships
   Fort Nelson
   Jasper National Park
   Kluane Lake, YK
   'Ksan Historical Village
   Lake Louise
   Liard Hot Springs
   Niagara Falls
   Quebec City
   Thousand Islands
   Vancouver Island
   Watson Lake

   Forbidden City
   Great Wall at Mutianyu
   Hong Kong
   Summer Palace
   Terracotta Warriors
   Tiananmen Square
   Yungang Caves

Costa Rica
   Arenal Volcano
   Finca Corsicana
   Hanging Bridges
   Manuel Antonio
   Poas Volcano
   Proyecto Asis
   Sky Trek Zip Lining
   Venado Caves


   Amazon Rainforest
   Chaquiñan Bicycle Trail
   La Mitad del Mundo
   Napo Wildlife Center
   Papallacta Hot Springs
   Proyecto DCR
   Yasuní National Park


   Baja California
   Frida Kahlo Museum
   Hierve el Agua
   Marietas Islands
   Mexico City
   Monte Alban
   Oaxaca City
   Puerto Angel
   Puerto Escondido
   Puerto Vallarta
   San Agustin
   San Martin Tilcajete
   Santa Fe de la Laguna
   Santa María el Tule
   Studio of Jacobo Angeles
   Teotitlán del Valle

   Dead Vlei
   Elondo Village
   Etosha Nat'l Park
   Hippo Pools Camp
   Hoba Meteorite
   Khowarib Camp
   Moose McGregor's Bakery
   Mowani Camp
   Ngepi Camp
   Nkasa Lupala
   n'Kwzi Camp
   River Dance Lodge
   Seisriem Camp
   Treesleeper Camp

   Cañón del Pato
   Cerro de Pasco
   La Oroya
   Machu Picchu
   Nuevo Jaén
   Tingo Maria
   Yungay Memorial


South Africa

   Rock of Gibraltar
   Santillana del Mar

United States National Parks
   Arches National Park, UT
   Badlands National Park, SD
   Bandelier National Monument, NM
   Bryce Canyon National Park, UT
   Cahokia Mounds (UNESCO site), IL
   Carlsbad Caverns National Park, NM
   Canyon de Chelly Nat'l Monument, AZ
   Cape Hatteras National Shoreline, NC
   Capitol Reef National Park, UT
   Civil Rights Memorial, AL
   Death Valley National Park, CA
   Denali National Park, AK
   Devil’s Tower National Monument, WY
   El Morro National Monument, NM
   Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C.
   Glacier National Park, MT
   Grand Canyon National Park, AZ
   Grand Tetons National Park, WY
   Great Basin National Park, NV
   Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, HI
   Joshua Tree National Park, CA
   Kaloko-Honokohau Nat'l Hist. Park, HI
   Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks, NM
   King's Canyon National Park, CA
   Martin Luther King Jr. Nat'l Hist. Site, GA
   Mesa Verde National Park, CO
   Montezuma's Castle Nat'l Monument, AZ
   Monticello, VA
   Mount Rushmore National Memorial, SD
   Mt. Rainier National Park, WA
   Olympic National Park, WA
   Petrified Wood National Park, AZ
   Pinnacles National Monument, CA
   Pu'uhonua o Honaunau Nat'l Hist Pk, HI
   Pu'ukohola Heiau Nat'l Historic Site, HI
   San Antonio Missions Nat'l Hist. Park, TX
   Tuzigoot National Monument, AZ
   Walnut Canyon National Monument, AZ
   Washington Monument
   White Sands National Monument, NM
   Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, AK
   Wright Brothers National Memorial in NC
   Yellowstone National Park, WY
   Yosemite National Park, CA

United States, Cities and Places
   The Alamo, TX
   Alaska Wildlife Conservation Cntr.
   Alpine Loop in CO
   Anchorage, AK
   Antares Junction, AZ
   Arctic Circle, AK
   Barrel Oak Winery in VA
   Biloxi, MS
   Bottle Tree Farm in CA
   Calico Ghost Town, CA
   Canfield Mountain Trail System, ID
   Cape St. Vincent, NY
   Carson City, NV
   Carter Caves State Park in KY
   Chappie-Shasta OHV Area, CA
   Child's Glacier, AK
   Circle B Chuckwagon Show in SD
   City Museum in MO
   Cody, WY
   Corn Palace in SD
   Crazy Horse Memorial in SD
   Custer State Park, SD
   Dalton Highway, AK
   Dinosaur Tracks in AZ
   Discovery Place in Charlotte, NC
   Dry Falls (Sun Lakes-Dry Falls), WA
   Fairbanks, AK
   Front Royal, VA
   Gallup, NM
   Goffs, CA
   Grand Canyon Caves, AZ
   Grand Canyon Skywalk, AZ
   Grave Digger Monster Truck in NC
   Great Salt Lake, UT
   Hackberry General Store in AZ
   Hannibal, MO
   Hatteras Island, NC
   Hawaii (Big Island)
   Hickison Petroglyphs, NV
   Holbrook, AZ
   Hole in the Rock, UT
   Homer, AK
   Honey Island Swamp Tour in LA
   Hoover Dam, NV
   Hyder, AK
   Jim Gray’s Petrified Wood Co. in AZ
   John’s Peak OHV Area, OR
   Kailua-Kona, HI
   Keepers of the Wild Nature Park in AZ
   Kennecott, AK
   Kennecott Copper Mine in UT
   Kingman, AZ
   Lake Havasu, AZ
   Lake Tahoe, NV
   Las Vegas, NV (winter 2010)
   Little Brown Church in IA
   London Bridge in AZ
   Loneliest Road in America, Hwy. 50, NV
   Los Angeles, CA
   Lost Colony Show on Roanoke Isl., NC
   Lowe’s Speedway in NC
   Mardi Gras World in LA
   Mark Twain Museum in MO
   Meteor Crater, AZ
   Million Dollar Highway, CO
   Minnesota Zoo
   Mitchell, SD
   Moab, UT
   Moab, UT (dirt biking)
   Montgomery, AL
   Montpelier, ID
   Navajo Nation, AZ
   Needles, CA
   Nevada Beach, NV
   Newberry Springs, CA
   New River Gorge, WV
   New Orleans, LA
   Niagara Falls 
   North Pole, AK
   Oatman, AZ
   Old Faithful Geyser in WY
   Omak Stampede, WA
   Painted Desert, AZ
   Park City, UT (summer)
   Plymouth, NC
   Portage Valley, AK
   Portland, OR
   Prospect OHV Trail System, OR
   Resaca, GA
   Riverside State Park, WA
   Rock City in TN
   Rosa Parks Library and Museum in AL
   Roswell, NM
   Russian River, AK
   Salt Lake City, UT
   San Antonio, TX
   San Diego, CA
   San Juan Islands, WA
   San Francisco, CA
   Santa Catalina Island, CA
   Seattle, WA
   Sedona, AZ
   Shoe Tree in CA
   Shoe Tree in NV
   Silverton, CO
   Sonora, TX
   St. Louis, MO
   St. Paul, MN
   Talkeetna, AK
   Telluride, CO
   Route 66
   Twin Knobs Recreation Area in KY
   Virginia Beach, VA
   Washington D.C.
   Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park in IL
   Williamsburg, VA
   Winom Frazier OHV Area, OR
   Winslow, AZ
   Zion National Park, UT

Planning Our Adventures

For us, each journey begins with the initial heart pangs to venture to a certain part of the world. Then the ideas start coming together . . . ahh, the possibilities . . . and the dream evolves gradually into an actual plan. But, oh, the joy of the dream!  Click here to learn more about how we plan and prepare for our journeys.

Where Are We Now?

Click here to discover where we are now, as well as our uncoming travel plans.

Words for the Heart

“. . . and then the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

Anais Nin