From Arequipa we crossed the border into Bolivia and on to the town of Copacabana, which sits on the shores of lake Titicaca (the highest navigable lake in the world). Brilliant timing as always, we arrived as they were facing the worst winter for 10 years and the morning we were setting off for a day trip to Isla del Sol (the birthplace of the sun) we woke up to snow! Needless to say we were freezing! We took a boat over to the island and after a brief visit to the museum we started scenic a mini-trek across the island. We saw the rock from which the locals believe the sun was born and supposedly with the light of the setting sun you can see the silhouette of a puma catching its prey on this rock. We also looked round some Inca ruins and had good photos squeezing through tiny doors. Back in Copacabana the girls went shopping and came back with pretty much head to toe alpaca outfits, which they sported at dinner at Fatima’s that night, tasting the delights of trout fresh from the lake.
Uyuni and the Salt Flats tour:
From Copacabana we took a short bus ride to La Paz, and then from there an 11 hour freezing cold bus to Uyuni, luckily we were prepared and all got our sleeping bags out on the bus, but nonetheless Danny still woke up at 3 in the morning finding his cheek stuck frozen to the window! We had breakfast and slowly warmed up in a local pizzaria and then finally set off in the jeeps on our salt flat adventure. There was a lot of driving on the 1st day but it was broken up by lunch and activities such as rock climbing which was epic. Before arriving at our hostel for the night we saw the beautiful Laguna Colorada and a whole hoard of pink flamingos.
A 5 o´clock wake up hit the team hard given the conditions…we’d heard a rumour that the rooms had hit a low of -26 degrees that week, luckily for us our temperature low was only a mere -15 degrees, although it was definately a challenge getting into the icy clothes from the warm (ish) bed. We were packed straight off into the jeeps and after an hour or so we hit the geysers, which were pretty spectacular especially as the sun was just rising (the smell coming from them though was less than pleasant!). Following that we sped off to Laguna Verde (one of the many colourful lakes in the area), and then onto the hot springs. We wolfed down some spot-on pancakes for breakfast before braving the wind and cold to see if the hot springs were all they were made out to be – we were not disappointed! The landscape also provided a pretty epic wilderness backdrop for the hour long hot bath. We stopped off briefly at Laguna Colorada again en route to another cluster of rocks that provided most of us with an hour or so’s climbing entertainment. We spent the rest of the afternoon in the car, only stopping to check out an active smoking volcano.
Day 3 of the tour again saw us waking up well before the crack of dawn. After a brief drive we soon found ourselves on a sea of pure whiteness, driving through the world’s largest salt falts (4085 square miles). We saw an amazing sunrise and naturally created some fantastic kodak moments. We then passed by some salt bricks and learnt about how the salt is mined. Our next stop on the flats was Isla del Pescado (Fish Island), with very limited amounts of fish but rather more cacti. After a cracking pancake breakfast we embarked on a tour of the island for yet more photos at the top.