One day, two capitals. We started at 1 am in Buenos Aires, reached from Ushuaia. Tried to get an Uber but they all declined because of the area our hostel was in… so we where forced to take a cab. After waking up we found out that we stayed in the SOHO area of BA, so food hunt! Or, that is what we thought. Restaurants open between 12 and 14, and we planned to head to the airport around 12:30. We ended up in a local pastry shop buying sweets. Such a disappointment!
Category: South America (Page 1 of 3)
It is 6:00 AM as the alarm wakes us up in a still rainy el Calafate. We packed our stuff, got our breakfast at 6:30 AM and at 6:45 AM the hostel already got us a private taxi to the airport for 600 pesos. Once arrived we checked in, got a window seat, had to rearrange our IKEA back pack because it was a bit overweight and took the flight to Ushuaia, duration: 1 hour and 10 minutes.
Waking up in Hosteria Y Apart Jardin De Los Presentes in a very comfortable bed, where the breakfast was amazing. Brownies, eggs, toasted bread, juices, fresh fruits, the list goes on. Between 8/8:30AM we got picked up to go towards the glacier for our hiking tour!
Today we have a 80 KM drive first, first part is a semi desert/ step landscape, after 30 minutes of forest landscape we had to pay 700 pesos per person entrance fee to the national park to enter the high mountain area of the Los Glaciares National Park in Santa Cruz. There are 48 major glaciers and more than 100 minor glaciers in the 370 KM long and 35 KM wide park located. It is the largest park in Argentina’s protected area system and an UNESCO world heritage site since 1981.
The day of travel for us, taking three flights within 24 hours will make this one of the most exhausting days. Last night we left San Pedro de Atacama around 19:15 with the shuttle to reach Calama airport in Chile for our 22:00 pm departure to the capital Santiago. Both airports being very neat, we first ate some sandwiches in Calama but while entering Santiago there was a McDonald’s right in front of us, only after check in. We had to get some burgers!
After we collected our luggage we had to kill 7 hours for our flight to Buenos Aires, Argentina at 7:25 am. After eating and using the WiFi (which was shit in the morning, better later on) we found a bench for two to make our bed for a few hours.
Between 4:30 and 5 we got picked up by Victor, our guide and driver who took us for an hour 45 minutes drive to go back to 4,200 altidute to our destination: Geyser el Tatio. Entrance fee is 10,000 per head, we arrived at 6:30. It was quite cold, -4! After paying the entrance we went to the main geyser to see the sunrise.
10 km2 square big and 5 km deep the Geysers are, with underneath Magma. The underwater that touches the hot stones receive a high temperature and create the boiling water at the geometric field of the geysers.
Day 19: Green lagoon and entering Chile
6:30 am early breakfast to leave for a short morning program before we were getting dropped at the border with Chile to enter San Pedro de Atacama.
First stop at 8 AM, dale desert. Here there are fresh water lagoons in the mountains, with lot of minerals in the mountains. The volcanic rocks piled up looks like it is a few hundred meters away, but in reality it is over two kilometers.
Day 17: Uyuni salt flats
Early in the morning we headed to the office of our tour operator. After a short walk we met our tour guide for the the trip, Bismath. Bismath took us to the first stop; a train cemetery, with lot of former gold mine trains from the 1930s. Bismath explained about the rich minerals Bolivia had in its grounds and how the rail was created for the rich to go to Sucre, the capital if Bolivia. The tracks go through the desert but in June/July it is -35 degrees the track froze with a lot of accidents with trains. The graveyard was great for some shoots.
After that we stopped at a small refinery, since the area has more enough salt for 5,000 years. He explained how salt is refined step by step. After that it was a tourist stop for souvenirs in the little town.
Woke up early to do the free walking tour of La Paz. The tour started at San Pedro square, located near it is a prison. It is a very unique prison, used to be a monastery for nuns, then a torture chamber, then a prison with a capacity of 400 people and now even over 2,000! Wifes and kids are also allowed to go in whenever they want. Kids walk in and out as well, with a school next to it. It is a very open prison, with just 10 guards the prison is running itself, a la prison break season 3! It has its own ecosystem, renting your own cell block, divided in poor and even richer areas which you pay 1,000 USD per month with hot tub and cable tv! The poor ones 5 USD per month with urinated mattresses and shared with 4 others. The prison also produces cocaine, with labs in the walls to deal it. They can easily smuggle cocoa leaves, gasoline etc in. And corrupt cops make it possible to distribute it in the outside world. They also used to put it in dirty diapers etc to get it outside. The book marching powder is written about the prison. Prison tours are not allowed anymore, so if someone offers you a tour it is a scam.
Around 5:00 AM we arrived in Puno, our last short stop in Peru before entering Bolivia with the Bolivia hop. Next country of our trip!
5:20 AM the lights of the bus went on to wake us up for a 9 soles breakfast with over salty scrambled eggs, some kind of juice and breads with jam playing hallelujah and titanic in pan flute on the background. Luckily Alfonso was also in the bus with his Slovenian friends to make it fun!
Right after breakfast we went for a two hour boat tour to Lake Titikaka. This lake is the highest navigated lake in the world, namely 3,806 meters high. Puno is the 8th city of the country, with 200,000 inhabitants. The lake has a lot of minerals and boarders between Peru and Bolivia, which causes some political friction between the two nations.
Around 7:00 am our journey started, getting picked up at the square of Cuszo. Destination: Winicunca and Palccoyo.
Nilto, our guide, gave us an explanation of the day. We are going to cross 5,000 meters altitude so we came prepared: Agua de Florida which is alcohol mixed with flowers (smells like a nice perfume too) of which you put three drops on your hands and after rubbing your hands smell it to give you a boost, cacao leaves, altitude pills and cacao candy.
Our first stop was around 9:30 am at a small town called Checacupe, here we stopped at a market which is located next to old bridges, one inca bridge dating back to 1420 a.d. and the original Inca foundations an eb enjoyed, an colonial bridge next to it built in the 18th century by order of the King of Spain, Carlos III to collect taxes and a republic bridge dating from 1895 made from Iron for heavier transport. For 2 soles per person we crossed the Inca bridge, really shaky but cool!