A Travellerspoint blog

La Paz to Chile via Salt Flats

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This is Hannah writing so I apoligise in advance for the spelling. We got to La Paz from Copacabana which was only a 3 hour bus journey. At one point the bus turned into a boat which was interesting. When we arrived in La Paz we were totally impressed with the setting. Basically a massive town in a bowl of mountains. We got to our hostel which was uphill in the worlds highest capital city (3800m) - only because Phil can´t map read and he sent us the wrong way. In La Paz we walked around the city and enjoyed some nice food (a British Indian curry house!!!). The downtown of La Paz was so different to the other areas of the city, much greener and less chaotic. We only had 2 days in La Paz but it was enough for us.

We got an overnight bus from La Paz to Uyuni in Bolivia with the intention of doing the salt flat tour. As this tour has notoriously bad press we were concerned with what we were in for. We got to Uyuni at 6am following a night bus that took 12 hours and managed to pick up a tour on the same day that would drop us in the Atacama desert of Chile. The tour was 3 days, 2 nights. It involved us driving around in a jeep with 4 others on all different terrains.
On the tour we visited the Salt Flats;

Jumping Hannah at the Salt Flats

Jumping Hannah at the Salt Flats

Big Phil and Little Phil Salt Flats

Big Phil and Little Phil Salt Flats

We visited a cactus island where the oldest ones were 900 years old.P1050486.jpg

It was cool on the Salt flats cos you could do really obscure pictures, like Big Phil balancing on Little Phils head;
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On the 2nd day of the tour we visited some different mountain ranges and lagoons which had flamingos in. It got a little chilly as we got higher and higher.

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The last day of the tour was the best. We got up at 4.30am to get to the geyser field at sunrise. It was so impressive, loud and smelly.P1050814.jpg

And then we went to some hot springs in the mountains where we had our first wash since we left La Paz!!!!!
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The last thing we saw was the impressive Lagoon Verde.P1050904.jpg

We managed to transfer over the border into Chile where our tour ended. In whole the scenery on the tour was amazing, the company of 4 dentists from Kings was brilliant, weather was perfect and we had a great time. Only good thing about it ending was having a proper shower and electricity when we got to Chile!!!!!

Posted by Phildean7 12:37 Archived in Bolivia Comments (1)

Copacabana, Bolivia

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We are now in La Paz, Bolivia. We will update the blog again in a few days with all the gossip from La Paz and our salt flats tour in Uynui which we start tomorrow.

Puno, Hannah gets a lift in a bike taxi! Queue happy smiles all round!

Puno, Hannah gets a lift in a bike taxi! Queue happy smiles all round!

Tracking back a little bit, we got the bus from Puno, Peru to Copacabana, Bolivia. The border crossing was a little tricky as i had lost the Peru exit stamps! We paid 10 dollars to get new ones. As usual we searched around for a hostel when we got to our new destination. This isn't easy when you are carrying massive bags and you are walking around in hot sun at 4000m! We found a great place with a brilliant view of Lake Titicaca or as i have nicknamed it 'Lake Achetits'. Later we trekked the gut busting climb to the lookout point. As you can see from the photos, it was worth the effort.

Sunset Lake Titicaca

Sunset Lake Titicaca

Copacabana is an interesting little town with loads of coffee shops and bars along the main street but, just like the rest of south america, it's full of stray dogs!

Copacabana, Bolivia. High street

Copacabana, Bolivia. High street

On the first night there we were having dinner when all the power in the town went! We had to walk home with Hannah's iphone as a torch. A stray dog scared Hannah half to death although her screams then scared another passer/by! The power didnt come back to the morning but apparntly it is a common occurence.

On the second day we took a boat to Isla Del Sol. It's an amazing place. We walked 3 hours from the north of the island to the south of the island. Most of the time we could see Lake Titicaca from both sides.

View of Lake Titicaca from Isla del Sol

View of Lake Titicaca from Isla del Sol

Our hostel on Isla del Sol was cool. It was a small cabin with two beds, no hot water but a fantastic view of the lake and the mountains. The hostel was run by a Bolivian family and we had dinner in the restaurant / kitchen that was attached. It was a great decision. The lady was an amazing cook making everything from scratch. She even sent her daughter to pick some fresh potatoes for our chips! We didnt want to leave Isla del Sol the next day but we had too.

This woman makes the best chips in South America!

This woman makes the best chips in South America!

On our last day in Copacabana we relaxed and planned our next move before taking the 4 hour bus to La Paz.

Posted by Phildean7 06:24 Archived in Bolivia Comments (2)

Cusco - Puno - Lake Titicaca

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On Monday we left Cusco which was sad as we have had an amazing time there. We got the Inka Express to Puno. The journey takes 9 hours because it stops along the way to visit some sites and have lunch.

Phil in Inca Ruins

Phil in Inca Ruins

We stopped at some Inca Ruins which were cool. We also stopped for a scenic view on the altiplano where i made friends with the world´s biggest Llama!

Phil, Hannah and a Peruvian Lady - Hannah really needs to have a shave soon!

Phil, Hannah and a Peruvian Lady - Hannah really needs to have a shave soon!

The scenery all along the trip was stunning. Although i slept for the 1st hour as the new travel sickness tablets we have bought tend to knock me out for a while. Nevertheless the journey gave Hannah the opportunity to play with her new best friend - the camera. She must have taken about 50 photos of the same mountain. When i tried to take the camera away she got the shakes! Although i have to admit the scenery was stunning. There was one horrendously boring stop at a ceramics museum in the middle of nowhere! I managed to amuse Hannah by going into the ladies toilets (by mistake obviously). We also managed to find an old Inca ceramic statue that looked like ET.

The long and (un)winding road from Cusco to Puno

The long and (un)winding road from Cusco to Puno

We got to Puno around 6pm on Monday night. We got a taxi to our hostel - Bothy Hostel. It is our cheapest so far but really good value for money with the most comfortable bed yet. And a duvet! And sheets! And fresh towels! Although our room does seem to be lacking any windows.

Today (Tuesday) we have been to Lake Titicaca. It is amazing, we have had a brilliant day. It started badly though when the company we booked with turned up an hour late but we managed to catch up with the boat. They took 40 soles off the price which meant that the whole day cost us 35 soles, about 7 pounds! We took the boat to Uros - the floating islands. These were amazing. It was like standing on a massive trampoline. It was cool to see people still living and making a living there.

The floating islands of Uros

The floating islands of Uros

The boat then took another 3 hours to get to Isla Taquile. We sunbathed on the top deck by using the lonely planet guidebook as a pillow. The boat was full of Germans for some reasons. The island of Taquile was stunning. As was the surrounding Lake Tititcaca. Hannah asked me how big the lake was and i estimated about 6 square miles. Our guide told us that it was in fact half the size of Holland! We walked around the island and then got the 3 hour boat journey back to Puno. It was a great day.

Lake Titicaca artistic shot by Phil

Lake Titicaca artistic shot by Phil

We are having a rest day tomorow before we say goodbye to Peru and hola to Bolivia!

Posted by Phildean7 18:16 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

Inca Trail and Machu Picchu

Days 14 to 17

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We are recovering today after arriving back late last night from our 4 day, 3 night inca trail. As i type, Hannah is fast asleep in the room at 4 45 pm!

The inca trail was stunning. We were in a group of 17. Us two, another english girl, two aussie couples, 6 americans, a chinese girl, a canadian girl and two irish cousins. We went with Peru Treks who were amazing from the start.

Hannah bought a walking stick before we started the trekking but i decided to go it without one. The first day was relatively easy with a gentle climb over about 5 hours. It got chilly at night but our season 4 sleeping bags were great even though the tent was not quite long enough for my massive legs!

The 2nd day is the challenging day as we ascended to 4200metres above sea level. I was really struggling for breath but hannah breezed through! Grrr!!! The views along the way were unbelievable. Hannah took over 300 photos over the course of the trail.

On the 3rd day we walked for about 10 miles, the longest so far. Again, the views were amazing and we stopped off on loads of Inca Ruins along the way which our guide explained to us.

We had to wake up at 3 30am on the fourth morning so we could get to Machu Picchu, the sun gate, for sunrise. We made it in time and it was spectacular. The view of the three mountains with the huge inca ruins was brilliant. We had a tour of the site itself before chilling for a bit and heading back.

We have had a great time with the group, making lots of friends. The food throughout was really good, they even catered for our cheese hating ways! We are happy to be back in Cusco now so we can enjoy a shower and some Coca Cola!!

We are moving on again tomorrow to Puno in Southern Peru where we are going to do some day trips to the islands in the middle of Lake Titicaca. SHould be fun!

Posted by Phildean7 14:42 Archived in Peru Tagged backpacking Comments (3)

Cuzco

Days 8 to 13

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It has been a while since we updated the blog. We have been relaxing and acclimatising in Cusco, approx 3000m above sea level. We flew from Buenos Aires to Lima and onto Cusco last Friday. We were totally shocked when we landed. The altitude hit us straight away. It was like we were drunk! It took us a day or so to get used to the altitude but after that it was fine. You still need to take it easy though as you get short of breath quicker than you would at sea level.

Cuzco is a stunning little town / city. The main square is very pretty with cathedrals and old buildings. Everywhere you look the city is surrounded by brown mountains. The weather is amazing. The sun is very strong and we are slowly getting tans. In the evening it can get bitterly cold but we have still been able to enjoy the atmosphere in the central square.

Our hostel called El Andariego is brilliant. We have been enjoying the home comforts of a duvet and sheets rather than dodgy looking blankets! We have cooked our own tea most nights to save some money but we are celebrating our wedding anniversary in style today with a McDonalds!!

Altitude does seem to have other effects. I have not shaved since leaving Buenos Aires four days ago and show no signs of needing a shave anytime soon. Also we have found that if you cut yourself then blood pours out lots more than it would at home. Hannah says there is scientific reasoning behind this but she is dumbfounded about the whole beard thing.

Cuzco is very Peruvian! The streets are lined with women wearing weird but cool hats and wearing bright self made clothes. They carry their babies in diy blankets / rucksacks on their backs. We have been offered lambs to buy and there are random llamas wandering the streets!

We start the Inca Trail tomorrow for 4 days and then we head down to Lake Tititcaca.

Posted by Phildean7 11:10 Archived in Peru Comments (4)

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