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:
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!).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
Until next time (which will be FROM THE UNITED STATES)………paz y amor.
See all of the pictures from Bolivia here.