ultramarinus – beyond the sea

Posts tagged “Altiplano

ROAD TO TITICACA, Colca Canyon to Puno, Peru

Maca was the last village we visited in the Colca Canyon.  Stood against the Andean mountains, the pure white walls and green painted doorway of Maca’s church left us a lingering feeling of the Altiplano (Andean Plateau) villages in this part of Peru.  It was a feeling that emerges from simple but harsh living condition, rough but beautiful landscapes, humble villagers mingled with curious tourists.  After Chivay, our minibus continued to crisscross the mountain roads in the area of Salinas and Aguada Blanca National Reserve where we passed by the day before.  Soon, we bid farewell to the area with our last glance of the Misti Volcano.

The ride heading east to Puno was bumpy and felt awfully long.  In mid-afternoon, we reached the picturesque Laguna Lagunillas at 4,450m above sea level.  Dozens of flamingos dotted the blue icy water, against a backdrop of golden windswept landscape.  In the strong and freezing winds, we stood as long as we could to take in the scenery and refreshing mountain air.  After the magnificent lake, the minibus just kept on going east until the sun was set.

After hours of bus ride in the mountains, we were all exhausted when we arrived at Puno.  Located right by the northwestern shore of Lake Titicaca, Puno is the largest city in the Southern Altiplano.  It is a transportation hub and a convenient base for tourists to explore the lake and its islands.  We walked a bit in the downtown area, found a place to grab a quick bite, and retired early to our hotel room to gain some rest in order to get over the high altitude syndrome as best  as we could.  The next day, we would sail out the highest navigable lake (by large boats) in the world to experience the magic of the deep blue Lake Titicaca.

9Church at Maca village near Chivay.

10The underside of the green doorway of Maca church.

2Even at sleepy Maca, tourism has been transforming the life of villagers in recent years. We tried a freshly squeezed juice of a local fruit which we all loved it. A small vendor next to the juice stand was an old woman selling dried roots chips which tasted delicious too.

1Farewell to Misti Volcano.

3By the mountain highway at an altitude of 4,450m, Laguna Lagunillas was really in the middle of nowhere.

4Crystal clear water and groups of flamingos.

5Peaceful scenery of Laguna Lagunillas.

9Traffic police stand with advertisement of Inca Kola at downtown Puno.

10Streetscape of downtown Puno near central market.

11Vendors at the main covered market in Puno.

13El Rancho, a grilled chicken restaurant in downtown Puno.

14Bread for sale on the street of Puno.

15The Glorioso Colegio Nacional de San Carlos at Pino Park in downtown Puno.

16Iglesia de San Juan at Pino Park in downtown Puno.

17The pedestrianized Lima Street in downtown Puno.

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Read other posts on Peru Trip 2010

LIMA
1. Peru Trip 2010
2.  Bumpy Arrival, Lima & Arequipa, Peru
AREQUIPA & COLCA CANYON
3.  Monasterio de Santa Catalina, Arequipa, Peru
4.  Plaza de Armas, Arequipa, Peru
5.  Volcanoes and Vicuna, Pampa Canahuas Natural Reserve, Patahuasi, and Patapampa, Peru
6.  Yanque, Colca Canyon, Peru
7. Cruz del Condor, Colca Canyon, Peru
8. Farming Terraces, Colca Canyon, Peru
PUNO & TITICACA
9. Road to Titicaca, Colca Canyon to Puno, Peru
10. Afternoon on Taquile Island, Titicaca, Peru
11. Morning on Taquile, Titicaca, Peru
12. Inka Express, Puno to Cusco, Peru
CUSCO & SACRED VALLEY
13. Pisac & Ollantaytambo, Sacred Valley, Peru
14. Salinas de Maras, & Moray, Sacred Valley, Peru
15. Lucuma Milkshake & Plaza de Armas, Cusco, Peru
16. Saksaywaman, Cusco, Peru
INCA TRAIL
17. KM 82 to Wayllabamba, Inca Trail, Peru
18. Wayllabamba to Pacamayo, Inca Trail, Peru
19. Pacasmayo to Winay Wayna, Inca Trail, Peru
20. Winay Wayna to Machu Picchu, Inca Trail, Peru
21. Machu Piccu, Inca Trail, Peru
22. Machu Picchu in Black and White, Inca Trail, Peru
23. Afterthought, Inca Trail, Peru
LAST DAY IN CUSCO & LIMA
24. Farewell to the Incas, Cusco, Peru
25. Last Day in Peru, Lima, Peru

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DAY 52 (2 OF 3) – LAGUNAS ALTIPLANICAS, ATACAMA, CHILE

The highlight of the day was visiting Lagunas Miscanti and Miniques, two lagunas altiplanicas (highland lagoons) at abour 4,300m above sea level. It was our last opportunity in our journey to appreciate the peaceful highland lagoons with a spectacular backdrop of volcanoes and snow-capped mountains. Compared to Bolivia, visiting a natural reserve in Chile is more restrictive as visitors are not permitted to go beyond a designated path. Lagunas Miscanti and Miniques are two highland lagoons in very close proximity. The water of both lagoons is deep blue in colour, and far saltier than the water of the Pacific. Because of the minerals content and the lack of oxygen, no fish can survive in these fairytale like lagoons. Only birds, flamingos and vicunas frequent the lagoons for food and rest. The deep blue of the water, in addition to the blue sky, white clouds, yellow plant clusters, and red earth of the mountain slopes, form a fantastic colour palette of Altiplano scenery. We would certainly miss the Andean highlands. Before we left the lagoon area, we even bumped into an Andean fox!
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Read more on San Pedro de Atacama, 2013 South America
Day 49 – Arrival, San Pedro de Atacama
Day 50.1 – Geyser del Tatio, Atacama Dessert
Day 50.2 – Altiplano Wetland, near El Tatio
Day 50.3 – Machuca Village, Atacama
Day 50.4 – Stargazing, Atacama Dessert
Day 51.1 – Town, San Pedro de Atacama
Day 51.2 – Valle de la Muerte & Cordillera de la Sal, San Pedro de Atacama
Day 51.3 – Valle de la Luna, San Pedro de Atacama
Day 52.1 – Laguna Chaxa, Atacama
Day 52.2 – Lagunas Altiplanicas, Atacama
Day 52.3 – Tropic de Capricorn, Atacama
Day 53.1 – Pacific Ocean, Antofagasta
Day 53.2 – Nan King Restaurant, Antofagasta
Day 54.1 – On the Road, Atacama Desert
Day 54.2 – Paranal Observatory, Atacama Desert

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South America 2013 – Our Destinations
Buenos Aires (Argentina), Iguazu Falls (Argentina/Brazil), Pantanal (Brazil), Brasilia (Brazil), Belo Horizonte & Inhotim (Brazil), Ouro Preto (Brazil), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Paraty (Brazil), Sao Paulo (Brazil), Samaipata & Santa Cruz (Bolivia), Sucre (Bolivia), Potosi (Bolivia), Southwest Circuit (Bolivia), Tilcara, Purmamarca, Salta (Argentina), Cafayate (Argentina), San Pedro de Atacama (Chile), Antofagasta & Paranal Observatory (Chile), Chiloe (Chile), Puerto Varas (Chile), Torres del Paine (Chile), Ushuaia (Argentina), El Chalten (Argentina), El Calafate (Argentina), Isla Magdalena (Argentina), Santiago (Chile), Valparaiso (Chile), Afterthought


DAY 50 (2 OF 4) – ALTIPLANO WETLAND, NEAR EL TATIO, ATACAMA, CHILE

After the geysers, our tour bus stopped by an Altiplano wetland.  We saw some highland birds, and we particularly loved the peaceful atmosphere and the palette of green under water in the pristine mountain streams.
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Read more on San Pedro de Atacama, 2013 South America
Day 49 – Arrival, San Pedro de Atacama
Day 50.1 – Geyser del Tatio, Atacama Dessert
Day 50.2 – Altiplano Wetland, near El Tatio
Day 50.3 – Machuca Village, Atacama
Day 50.4 – Stargazing, Atacama Dessert
Day 51.1 – Town, San Pedro de Atacama
Day 51.2 – Valle de la Muerte & Cordillera de la Sal, San Pedro de Atacama
Day 51.3 – Valle de la Luna, San Pedro de Atacama
Day 52.1 – Laguna Chaxa, Atacama
Day 52.2 – Lagunas Altiplanicas, Atacama
Day 52.3 – Tropic de Capricorn, Atacama
Day 53.1 – Pacific Ocean, Antofagasta
Day 53.2 – Nan King Restaurant, Antofagasta
Day 54.1 – On the Road, Atacama Desert
Day 54.2 – Paranal Observatory, Atacama Desert

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South America 2013 – Our Destinations
Buenos Aires (Argentina), Iguazu Falls (Argentina/Brazil), Pantanal (Brazil), Brasilia (Brazil), Belo Horizonte & Inhotim (Brazil), Ouro Preto (Brazil), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Paraty (Brazil), Sao Paulo (Brazil), Samaipata & Santa Cruz (Bolivia), Sucre (Bolivia), Potosi (Bolivia), Southwest Circuit (Bolivia), Tilcara, Purmamarca, Salta (Argentina), Cafayate (Argentina), San Pedro de Atacama (Chile), Antofagasta & Paranal Observatory (Chile), Chiloe (Chile), Puerto Varas (Chile), Torres del Paine (Chile), Ushuaia (Argentina), El Chalten (Argentina), El Calafate (Argentina), Isla Magdalena (Argentina), Santiago (Chile), Valparaiso (Chile), Afterthought


DAY 41 (5 OF 5) – TRAIN CEMETERY, UYUNI, SOUTHWEST CIRCUIT DAY 4, BOLIVIA

Before we had our farewell lunch, we stopped at the last attraction of the tour, the Train Cemetery in Uyuni.  Before the mining industry collapsed in 1940s, Uyuni was a major railway hub from the mines of the interior to the Pacific coast in Chile.  After the collapse, the cargo trains and locomotives (mainly from Britain in late 19th century) were abandoned.  Today it is one of the major tourist attractions in Uyuni.

After the Train Cemetery, our group had our farewell lunch at a hotel in Uyuni.  We were the only two in the group returning to Tupiza.  The rest of the group would depart from Uyuni for La Paz.  The end of the Southwest Circuit also marks the end of our journey in Bolivia.  Tomorrow, we would head south to Argentina.

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Read more on Southwest Circuit, Bolivia in 2013 South America:

Day 36.2 – Cerro Corazon de Jesus, Tupiza
Day 37 – Quebrada Hike, Tupiza
Day 38.1 – Departure Southwest Circuit Day 1
Day 38.2 – Highland, Southwest Circuit Day 1
Day 38.3 – Ruinas, Southwest Circuit Day 1
Day 38.4 – Quieten Chico, Southwest Circuit Day 1
Day 39.1 – Reserva Nacional de Fauna Andina Eduardo Avaroa, Southwest Circuit Day 2
Day 39. 2 – Laguna Verde & Blanca, Southwest Circuit Day 2
Day 39.3 – Desierto de Dali, Southwest Circuit Day 2
Day 39.4 – Geysers Sol de Manana, Southwest Circuit Day 2
Day 39.5 – Laguna Colorada, Southwest Circuit Day 2
Day 40.1 – Huaylliara, Southwest Circuit Day 3
Day 40.2 – Arbol de Piedra, Southwest Circuit Day 3
Day 40.3 – Flamingos, Southwest Circuit Day 3
Day 40.4 – Ollague Volcano, Southwest Circuit Day 3
Day 41.1 – Salt Hotel, Southwest Circuit Day 4
Day 41.2 – Sunrise at Uyuni Salt Flat, Southwest Circuit Day 4
Day 41.3 – Isla Incahuasi at Uyuni Salt Flat, Southwest Circuit Day 4
Day 41.4 – Salar de Uyuni, Southwest Circuit Day 4
Day 41.5 – Train Cemetery, Uyuni, Southwest Circuit Day 4
Day 42 – Border Crossing, Villain, Bolivia / La Quiaca, Argentina

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South America 2013 – Our Destinations
Buenos Aires (Argentina), Iguazu Falls (Argentina/Brazil), Pantanal (Brazil), Brasilia (Brazil), Belo Horizonte & Inhotim (Brazil), Ouro Preto (Brazil), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Paraty (Brazil), Sao Paulo (Brazil), Samaipata & Santa Cruz (Bolivia), Sucre (Bolivia), Potosi (Bolivia), Southwest Circuit (Bolivia), Tilcara, Purmamarca, Salta (Argentina), Cafayate (Argentina), San Pedro de Atacama (Chile), Antofagasta & Paranal Observatory (Chile), Chiloe (Chile), Puerto Varas (Chile), Torres del Paine (Chile), Ushuaia (Argentina), El Chalten (Argentina), El Calafate (Argentina), Isla Magdalena (Argentina), Santiago (Chile), Valparaiso (Chile), Afterthought


DAY 41 (4 OF 5) – SALAR DE UYUNI, SOUTHWEST CIRCUIT DAY 4, BOLIVIA

The Salar de Uyuni (Uyuni Salt Flat) is one of the most well known geographic feature in Bolivia. About 40,000 years ago, the salt flat was part of the prehistoric Lake Minchin.  When Lake Minchin dried up, it left behind two lakes and two major salt flats, with the biggest being Salar de Uyuni.  Today, Salar de Uyuni is the biggest salt flat in the world, and is visible even  from the space.  The Salar de Uyuni stays dry for most of the year, except for the wet season when it would be flooded by water.  Every year during wet season, incoming water would bring salt from the surrounding area.  When the water evaporates, a new layer of salt would be formed.  The annual layering of salt deposit is clearly visible from the salt blocks that the locals sometimes use as building materials.  Apart from tourism, salt and rare earth extraction are some of the major industries here.  In the near future, the government is planning to expand the mining of lithium (vital component for electronic batteries) at the salt flat.
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Read more on Southwest Circuit, Bolivia in 2013 South America:

Day 36.2 – Cerro Corazon de Jesus, Tupiza
Day 37 – Quebrada Hike, Tupiza
Day 38.1 – Departure Southwest Circuit Day 1
Day 38.2 – Highland, Southwest Circuit Day 1
Day 38.3 – Ruinas, Southwest Circuit Day 1
Day 38.4 – Quieten Chico, Southwest Circuit Day 1
Day 39.1 – Reserva Nacional de Fauna Andina Eduardo Avaroa, Southwest Circuit Day 2
Day 39. 2 – Laguna Verde & Blanca, Southwest Circuit Day 2
Day 39.3 – Desierto de Dali, Southwest Circuit Day 2
Day 39.4 – Geysers Sol de Manana, Southwest Circuit Day 2
Day 39.5 – Laguna Colorada, Southwest Circuit Day 2
Day 40.1 – Huaylliara, Southwest Circuit Day 3
Day 40.2 – Arbol de Piedra, Southwest Circuit Day 3
Day 40.3 – Flamingos, Southwest Circuit Day 3
Day 40.4 – Ollague Volcano, Southwest Circuit Day 3
Day 41.1 – Salt Hotel, Southwest Circuit Day 4
Day 41.2 – Sunrise at Uyuni Salt Flat, Southwest Circuit Day 4
Day 41.3 – Isla Incahuasi at Uyuni Salt Flat, Southwest Circuit Day 4
Day 41.4 – Salar de Uyuni, Southwest Circuit Day 4
Day 41.5 – Train Cemetery, Uyuni, Southwest Circuit Day 4
Day 42 – Border Crossing, Villain, Bolivia / La Quiaca, Argentina

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South America 2013 – Our Destinations
Buenos Aires (Argentina), Iguazu Falls (Argentina/Brazil), Pantanal (Brazil), Brasilia (Brazil), Belo Horizonte & Inhotim (Brazil), Ouro Preto (Brazil), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Paraty (Brazil), Sao Paulo (Brazil), Samaipata & Santa Cruz (Bolivia), Sucre (Bolivia), Potosi (Bolivia), Southwest Circuit (Bolivia), Tilcara, Purmamarca, Salta (Argentina), Cafayate (Argentina), San Pedro de Atacama (Chile), Antofagasta & Paranal Observatory (Chile), Chiloe (Chile), Puerto Varas (Chile), Torres del Paine (Chile), Ushuaia (Argentina), El Chalten (Argentina), El Calafate (Argentina), Isla Magdalena (Argentina), Santiago (Chile), Valparaiso (Chile), Afterthought


DAY 41 (2 OF 5) – SUNRISE AT UYUNI SALT FLAT, SOUTHWEST CIRCUIT DAY 4, BOLIVIA

Finally we were on our way out to the Uyuni Salt Falt. The sky was already pretty bright as our 4×4 rushed out to the open whiteness looking for the perfect spot to see the sunrise. The moon was getting lower and lower on our left, and gradually disappeared under the horizon. After half an hour, the driver stopped our 4×4. We opened the door and made our first steps onto the famous Uyuni Salt Flat just after dawn. The view to the distant mountains under the early morning sunlight was sublime.
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Read more on Southwest Circuit, Bolivia in 2013 South America:

Day 36.2 – Cerro Corazon de Jesus, Tupiza
Day 37 – Quebrada Hike, Tupiza
Day 38.1 – Departure Southwest Circuit Day 1
Day 38.2 – Highland, Southwest Circuit Day 1
Day 38.3 – Ruinas, Southwest Circuit Day 1
Day 38.4 – Quieten Chico, Southwest Circuit Day 1
Day 39.1 – Reserva Nacional de Fauna Andina Eduardo Avaroa, Southwest Circuit Day 2
Day 39. 2 – Laguna Verde & Blanca, Southwest Circuit Day 2
Day 39.3 – Desierto de Dali, Southwest Circuit Day 2
Day 39.4 – Geysers Sol de Manana, Southwest Circuit Day 2
Day 39.5 – Laguna Colorada, Southwest Circuit Day 2
Day 40.1 – Huaylliara, Southwest Circuit Day 3
Day 40.2 – Arbol de Piedra, Southwest Circuit Day 3
Day 40.3 – Flamingos, Southwest Circuit Day 3
Day 40.4 – Ollague Volcano, Southwest Circuit Day 3
Day 41.1 – Salt Hotel, Southwest Circuit Day 4
Day 41.2 – Sunrise at Uyuni Salt Flat, Southwest Circuit Day 4
Day 41.3 – Isla Incahuasi at Uyuni Salt Flat, Southwest Circuit Day 4
Day 41.4 – Salar de Uyuni, Southwest Circuit Day 4
Day 41.5 – Train Cemetery, Uyuni, Southwest Circuit Day 4
Day 42 – Border Crossing, Villain, Bolivia / La Quiaca, Argentina

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South America 2013 – Our Destinations
Buenos Aires (Argentina), Iguazu Falls (Argentina/Brazil), Pantanal (Brazil), Brasilia (Brazil), Belo Horizonte & Inhotim (Brazil), Ouro Preto (Brazil), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Paraty (Brazil), Sao Paulo (Brazil), Samaipata & Santa Cruz (Bolivia), Sucre (Bolivia), Potosi (Bolivia), Southwest Circuit (Bolivia), Tilcara, Purmamarca, Salta (Argentina), Cafayate (Argentina), San Pedro de Atacama (Chile), Antofagasta & Paranal Observatory (Chile), Chiloe (Chile), Puerto Varas (Chile), Torres del Paine (Chile), Ushuaia (Argentina), El Chalten (Argentina), El Calafate (Argentina), Isla Magdalena (Argentina), Santiago (Chile), Valparaiso (Chile), Afterthought


DAY 41 (1 OF 5) – SALT HOTEL, SOUTHWEST CIRCUIT DAY 4, BOLIVIA

Today was the last day of our Southwest Circuit tour. Finally it’s time for the Uyuni Salt Flat! We got up at around 4:30am to prepare for our early departure to see the sunrise at the salt flat.
Compared to the last two accommodations, this last guesthouse was quite unique. It’s a large complex built with salt blocks located near the salt flat. The facilities were still quite basic, but at least there were hot showers for sell.
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Read more on Southwest Circuit, Bolivia in 2013 South America:

Day 36.2 – Cerro Corazon de Jesus, Tupiza
Day 37 – Quebrada Hike, Tupiza
Day 38.1 – Departure Southwest Circuit Day 1
Day 38.2 – Highland, Southwest Circuit Day 1
Day 38.3 – Ruinas, Southwest Circuit Day 1
Day 38.4 – Quieten Chico, Southwest Circuit Day 1
Day 39.1 – Reserva Nacional de Fauna Andina Eduardo Avaroa, Southwest Circuit Day 2
Day 39. 2 – Laguna Verde & Blanca, Southwest Circuit Day 2
Day 39.3 – Desierto de Dali, Southwest Circuit Day 2
Day 39.4 – Geysers Sol de Manana, Southwest Circuit Day 2
Day 39.5 – Laguna Colorada, Southwest Circuit Day 2
Day 40.1 – Huaylliara, Southwest Circuit Day 3
Day 40.2 – Arbol de Piedra, Southwest Circuit Day 3
Day 40.3 – Flamingos, Southwest Circuit Day 3
Day 40.4 – Ollague Volcano, Southwest Circuit Day 3
Day 41.1 – Salt Hotel, Southwest Circuit Day 4
Day 41.2 – Sunrise at Uyuni Salt Flat, Southwest Circuit Day 4
Day 41.3 – Isla Incahuasi at Uyuni Salt Flat, Southwest Circuit Day 4
Day 41.4 – Salar de Uyuni, Southwest Circuit Day 4
Day 41.5 – Train Cemetery, Uyuni, Southwest Circuit Day 4
Day 42 – Border Crossing, Villain, Bolivia / La Quiaca, Argentina

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South America 2013 – Our Destinations
Buenos Aires (Argentina), Iguazu Falls (Argentina/Brazil), Pantanal (Brazil), Brasilia (Brazil), Belo Horizonte & Inhotim (Brazil), Ouro Preto (Brazil), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Paraty (Brazil), Sao Paulo (Brazil), Samaipata & Santa Cruz (Bolivia), Sucre (Bolivia), Potosi (Bolivia), Southwest Circuit (Bolivia), Tilcara, Purmamarca, Salta (Argentina), Cafayate (Argentina), San Pedro de Atacama (Chile), Antofagasta & Paranal Observatory (Chile), Chiloe (Chile), Puerto Varas (Chile), Torres del Paine (Chile), Ushuaia (Argentina), El Chalten (Argentina), El Calafate (Argentina), Isla Magdalena (Argentina), Santiago (Chile), Valparaiso (Chile), Afterthought