Posted by: pckatie | November 20, 2014

COS Trip (with pictures!)

Hello from La Ciudad de Mexico!  Confused?  As much as I wish I could say I am exploring this interesting city, that will have to wait for another trip.  Right now, I am writing from the Mexico City airport during my three hour layover on my way HOME (what?!?)!   I did, however, just spend the last three weeks exploring beautiful Bolivia!  (sorry if you got this post twice…it posted without pictures the first time!)

After saying all of my goodbyes, ringing the bell, and biding mi querida Colombia a final farewell….I hopped on a plane and headed to Bolivia where I met up with my amiga Chelsey!  Now for a recap of the trip:

Reunited after a whole year apart!

Reunited after a whole year apart!

La Paz

We met up in La Paz, the highest national (de facto) capital in the world at about 13,400 feet, and spent our first few days acquainting ourselves with Bolivia (and acclimatizing to the altitude!).

View of La Paz from the hostel!

View of La Paz from the hostel!

Copacabana/Lake Titicaca/Isla del Sol

Next we hopped on a bus for the two hour ride to Copacabana, a quaint town on the shore of Lake Titicaca and the gateway to Isla del Sol, which is considered to be the spiritual center of the Andean world and  the birthplace of the sun and the moon.  We spent the day walking from one side of the island to the other (and getting a little bit lost, momentarily thinking we were going to die, and then being lead back to safety by a dog). In the evening we caught a boat back to Copacabana and spent the evening relaxing at our beautiful hotel looking out over the lake.

Just chatting with some llamas.

Just chatting with some llamas.

Hiking on Isla del Sol

Hiking on Isla del Sol

Little farms and houses on Isla del Sol

Little farms and houses on Isla del Sol

Sucre

After leaving Copacabana and making a short pit stop in La Paz to regroup, we headed out for the city of Sucre.  We wandered through the center of town, visited historic buildings and museums, and hiked up to the mirador.  My favorite place we visited was about two hours outside of Sucre, at the Tarabuco Sunday market, where inhabitants still gather in traditional dress to exchange textiles and other products.

Beautiful white buildings line the streets of Sucre!

Beautiful white buildings line the streets of Sucre!

View of the city from the mirador.

View of the city from the mirador.

A family of pigs in Tarabuco!

A family of pigs in Tarabuco!

Textiles at the Tarabuco market.

Textiles at the Tarabuco market.

Potosí

As much as I would have loved to stay in Sucre forever, we had other places to see!  We got on a bus and rode about three hours to the town of Potosí, one of the highest cities in the world! The town sits at the foot of the Cerro Rico. The town is on the UNESCO World Heritage List for the intricate baroque churches and monasteries found throughout the town and home to beautiful Spanish colonial architecture.

Cero Rico from the rooftop terrace of the hostel.

Cero Rico from the rooftop terrace of the hostel.

Papas Huacainas

Papas Huacainas

Uyuni and the Salt Flats

Our next stop was the town of Uyuni which we reached by yet another bus ride.  Uyuni is a very small pueblo with nothing really to see, but it is the jumping off point for the salt flat tours and has lots of tiny hostels, restaurants, and shops catering to people getting ready to head out.

Salar de Uyuni

Salar de Uyuni

In the morning we met up with our group for a 3-day, 4×4 tour in and around Salar de Uyuni, the largest salt desert in the world. The trip was absolutely mind blowing as we crossed rugged deserts, stood in the middle of the huge expanse of salt, cut through epic volcano-lined mountain ranges and admired breathtaking multi-colored lagoons along the way.

Train graveyard

Train graveyard

Fun on the salt flats!

Fun on the salt flats!

Playing with perspective.

Playing with perspective.

Our awesome group!

Our awesome group!

Arbol de Piedra

Arbol de Piedra

Cacti that reminded me of home!

Cacti that reminded me of home!

Laguna Colorada

Laguna Colorada

We returned to Uyuni on the third night, grabbed a bite to eat, and then caught a 12 hour overnight bus back to La Paz.  We spent our last few days in La Paz mostly just relaxing, buying llama print everything, and enjoying hot showers after getting pretty cold and dirty on the salt flats!

Gysers in a snow storm!

Geysers in a snow storm!

It is just a LITTLE colder here than my last two years on the Colombian coast....

It is just a LITTLE colder here than my last two years on the Colombian coast….

This morning we left the hostel around 2:15am (yikes!) in order to get to the airport for our 4:25am flight!  Ironically, one of my layovers was in Bogota, so I said goodbye to Colombia one last time with a cup of my beloved Juan Valdez coffee and parted ways with Chelsey. I have had a smooth (and LONG) day of traveling so far and I am just one more flight away from stepping foot in the UNITED STATES for the first time in over two years!

One last glimpse of Colombia from the airport!

One last glimpse of Colombia from the airport!

Bolivia was unlike anywhere else I have ever traveled and I was quick to fall in love with the beautiful scenery and gentle people.  Although it definitely has the ‘gringo trail’ (which I stuck to pretty closely), it is much less touristy than many other places I have been.  It is one of the most ‘remote’ countries in the western hemisphere and the most indigenous country in the Americas with 60% of its population being of pure Native American ancestry.  It is a country that is still rough around the edges, with unparalleled geographical diversity, a vibrant culture, and fascinating people—all of which make it a unique experience for travelers.

Freezing, but so happy to have been reunited!

Freezing, but so happy to have been reunited!

Until next time (which will be FROM THE UNITED STATES)………paz y amor.

See you soon Arizona!

Adios South America!  See you soon Arizona!

See all of the pictures from Bolivia here.

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Responses

  1. Katie, I can’t believe 27 months have past! Peace Corps was your dream & now it is completed!  Your travels have blown my mind! Your sense of adventure is amazing and impressive. I can’t tell you how I have enjoyed your Postings!! I am tickled for you and your family and friends to be together again! Keep those nerves under control – u r almost HERE! Bryn

    Sent from my T-Mobile 4G LTE Device


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