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The Travel Journal of Jacqui and Lars


Bolivia - 17 December, 2001



Location Latitude Longitude Elevation

Travel Distance

Start San Juan, Altiplano S2054.066' W06745.890' 3,664 m
-  Flamingo Lake . . . .
-  Rock Formations . . . .
Finish Laguna Colorado, Altiplano S2210.403' W06749.096' 4,134 m 200 km (by Landcruiser)

Leg 1 Total:

7,045 km


771 km

Grand Total:

7,816 km


Weather: Overcast, cold and windy.  Occasional rain/hail/snow.  Cold at night.



Bolivia01_Plano2_Mudflats_4160_Web.jpg (42446 bytes)

We spend the day driving through the Altiplano of southwest Bolivia.  We are up early at 6 AM and after breakfast we pack up the Landcruisers and head off.  We drive across some mudflats - part of the same complex of old lakes that dried up millions of years ago - just that this one did not end up all salty.


Bolivia01_Plano2_Fox_4163_Web.jpg (145058 bytes)

Just before we arrived at Flamingo Lake, a fox passed in front of our Landcruiser - as we stopped, he stopped and came over and checked us out.  Maybe he was waiting for a handout.


Bolivia01_Plano2_FlamLake_4166_Web.jpg (45435 bytes)

The lake was, as all the lakes are around here, filled with minerals.  This attracts the flamingos and it is strange to see them this high up in the icy cold waters - we lost our pre-conception that flamingos are tropical birds!!


Bolivia01_Plano2_YellowLake_Lars_4174_Web.jpg (49086 bytes)

We also stopped at a lake that was yellow (this one was a bit dried up as it is the end of the dry season)!


Bolivia01_Plano2_Rock_4176_Web.jpg (77402 bytes)

As we drove on we passed a number of spots with fantastic views.  Just before 1 PM we arrived at one of the strange rock formations that grace the countryside.  As we drove up it started to snow (remember this is summer down here) and the landscape became magical.  We got out and took some pictures, but it then started to get a bit cold so we hoped back in and carried on.


Just before we arrived at Laguna Colorado, where we will be spending the night, we had to pass through a national park check point and pay our entrance fee.  Once through, we arrived at the lodge, picked out a bunk bed and dropped off our stuff.


Bolivia01_Plano2_LCol_Dinner_C187_Web.jpg (73250 bytes)

This lodge was a bit more basic than the one last night.  Rooms not as nice, the hallways served as dining and living rooms as well as passageway, and the toilet did not have flushing water.  With so many people here, it got a bit messy (and smelly) after a while, so many of us used the outdoors.  They prepared lunch for us, and once we had our fill, we hung out and relaxed and played some cards while it snowed/rained outside. At around 4:30 PM it cleared up, so we decided to explore the lake.


Bolivia01_Plano2_LCol_Lake_4180_Web.jpg (73571 bytes)

It is an amazing lake - the water is red and there is a huge mound of white sulfur/sodium substance that looks just like an iceberg.  And given the cold and the mountains, it would not be surprising to find an ice block in the middle of the lake up here. 


We wander around the lake and walk onto the "iceberg". From here we get a great view of the lake.  As the sun sets, the rays of the sun bounce off the red lake surface and turn the clouds pinkish/red.  This lake is also filled with pink flamingos.


We get back to the hostel and work on our diaries before dinner.  After dinner, we do not do much.  Some of the people have a bit of a drinking session, but we decide to head to bed early.


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