After an easy border crossing from Peru we entered Bolivia, loaded our bags onto the Bolivia Hop bus and went to Copacabana. This is a small town on the edge of Lake Titicaca, we spent a few hours here and saw a festive street parade.
The name Bolivia comes from Simon Bolivar who led Valenzuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia to independence from Spain in 1825 and he was the first president in Bolivia.
We went to La Paz which is the highest administrative capital in the world sitting at 3,500m above sea level. The city is in a valley in the Andes Mountains.
The public transport system here is Mi Teleférico (cable car), this project was started in 2014 and cost US$ 5.830.527 – a lot of money!! There are 11 lines in total (blue, red, orange, white, brown, silver, purple, light blue, yellow, green and gold) and it transports 194.971 people in one day. We spent a day riding around sightseeing from above and managed to ride on 7 of these lines. The tickets were really cheap and cost 3 Bolivians per line which is equal to R6.
On the Sunday night, we went to watch a traditional Cholita wrestling match where women perform wearing traditional Bolivian outfits, long braided hair, bowler hats and puffy, multi-layered skirts. Cholita wrestling is empowering women by providing the female working-class with an opportunity to earn money. Many tourists and locals come to watch the show and get quite excited and throw things at the wrestlers. It was very funny to watch.
Our next adventure was to visit the Salar de Uyuni (the worlds largest salt flat). We needed to head to Uyuni for this, so took a night bus to get us there in time for our 3 day tour the following day.
In the morning a man that worked on the bus came to my mom and said that we needed to get off and walk to town (only 15 mins) as there was a road block. We were a bit confused but got our bags and started to walk. It turned out to be a 2 hour walk (8 km). When we got to town we found out that there was a protest by the taxi drivers blocking the road.
We finally reached our tour company, loaded the 4X4’s and headed out towards the salt flats. We learnt that deep deep under the salt is water from the sea from millions of years ago and this is where the salt is coming from. In summer the flats are covered in water but by winter the water has dried up leaving the salt. That night we slept in a salt hotel where everything was made out of salt bricks (I licked the wall a few times).
The next day we continued to drive through the open landscape and stopped to see certain areas and rock formations. On one of the rock islands we saw Viscachas, these look like rabbits with long tails and they are amazing at climbing (we fed them apple and they were soo cute).
Early the next day we started at 04:30AM and went to the geysers which are a collection of boiling mud pots in the ground and sometimes shooting out muddy water to a height of approximately 3 meters.There was a lot of steam coming out of the ground. It was still dark when we got there and you could walk around freely but apparently some tourists fell into a hole and died a few months ago, so we didn’t walk around too much. After another hour driving we went to the hot spring, it was freezing outside and we sat in the warm water for sunrise. It was not fun getting out afterwards!!
Next stop was Chile. Our guide told us that morning that due to the snowfall during the night, we may experience some problems crossing the border as the border often closes due to the weather. We waited for 5 hours in the car at the border with no heating and snow falling around us – we were freezing.
Finally we heard that the border had been opened and we got onto a bus that took us into Chile.
We could feel our toes and fingers again!
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