The Bolivian Antiplano

18-19 August 2003

We took a three day trip around the Antiplano in South West Bolivia. As our day began, we could feel the arid dusty air sizzling in the back of our throats. The next few days we would be in some of the most barren landscapes seen yet.

Welcome to Bolivia and the Antiplano!

At 4,500 metres the border crossing is 2000 metres straight up from San Pedro de Atacama in Chile.

This is VolcanLincancaber reflecting in Laguna Verde. The lake contains a cocktail of minerals that enable it to turn a pale green during the day.

Other spectacular lakes included Laguna Blanca (white) and Laguna Colorado which was the most striking red colour we have ever seen. The vastness of the scenery was amazing and quite breath taking, particularly as we were all a bit woozy from the altitude and lack of acclimatisation.

Whenever you go to thermal pools there is always one!

Guess where this bloke is from? Clues are:

... they seem to be keen on getting nude

.... their country is between the UK, Spain and Germany.

... the last bloke to insist in getting nude in front of us was from ------ Guyana and spoke the same language.... see the Amazon pages

The Sol de Manana Geysers stand at 4950m. Fumaroles belched cement grey and sludge-brown mud in the most deserted landscape yet.

Its the difference between the frozen earth and the 85 degree hot water that blasts steam out of the geysers some 10-15 metres high.

The thin crusty earth was hard to walk on. We had to be really careful where we walked as rumours of tourists disappearing beneath the boiling mud were common.

Flamingos are fantastic to see and there were thousands of them on the Antiplano.

These are the Andean species which are over 1 metre tall.

Unfortunately by this stage, Claire's altitude sickness was taking its toll and making it all a bit hard work.

Rock tree in the middle of no where.

Altitude sickness kicks in.

Sleeping at 3,800 metres after reaching nearly 5,000 during the day, Claire was suffering. Someone was banging her head with a large mallet all night and it didn't bode well with the throwing up in a really dirty toilet, before sleeping on a manky springless bed, with 6 others crammed in the room.

We did get to stay in a village of locals at this altitude rather than the 'made-for-tourists' trap at 4,200 metres.

Descending to a lower altitude in the dark had some additional bonuses as the next day we had a very lazy morning chasing lamas, donkeys, emus and generally getting too much sun.

Lamas... are everywhere. This is our favourite as he kept pouting at us.

Apparently this means he was getting ready to spit at us before trying to bite rather than displaying affection.

This local boy was fascinated by the digital camera.

Jason just wanted another excuse to take a picture of himself.

A jeep full of tourists and our guide.

From Left to Right: Louise (Scotland), Emma (Aus), Anastasia (Bolivia - not the missing Russian heir), Russell and Hannah (UK), and us two.

We were really lucky to have such a good group, it made it a really relaxing 3 day trip, despite the continous Bolivian repeated music.

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