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The Travel Journal of Jacqui and Lars


Bolivia/Chile - 18 December, 2001



Location Latitude Longitude Elevation

Travel Distance

Start Laguna Colorado, Altiplano S2210.403' W06749.096' 4,134 m
-  Sol de Manana geyser basin . . 4,850 m .
-  Chalviri hot springs . . . .
-  Volcanic rocks . . . .
-  White Lake . . . .
-  Green Lake . . 4,362 m .
Border transfer . . . 100 km (by Landcruiser)
Bolivia border post . . 4,500 m .
Chile border post - San Pedro . . . .
Campsite, San Pedro, Chile S2254.789' W06812.027' 2,440 m 60 km (by mini-bus)
Tour of Moon Valley and Death Valley . . . .
Finish Campsite, San Pedro, Chile S2254.789' W06812.027' 2,440 m 40 km (by mini-bus)

Leg 1 Total:

7,245 km


771 km

Grand Total:

8,016 km


Weather: Cold in the morning, then partly cloudy, occasional sun and hot.



Today is a busy day.  We complete our tour of the Altiplano and head into Chile.  We are up at 4 AM, pack up our stuff, load all our gear into the Landcruisers and are off. As we head up we cross the snow line and the landscape looks like it has been coated with powdered sugar.  After about an hour we arrive at the geyser basin.


Bolivia01_Plano3_Geysers_4183_Web.jpg (59127 bytes)

In the crisp, cold morning air, the steam bellowed out of the geysers and filled the sky.  We spent about half an hour wandering through the field.  Unlike other geyser fields in more developed parks, there are no barriers or paths - you can wander where you want.  We get up very close to some of the sputtering mud holes - but we have to be careful, some of the boiling mud splatters out of the holes.


Bolivia01_Plano3_HotSprings_4185_Web.jpg (86629 bytes)

Around 7 AM we arrived at the hot springs.  We stopped here for a dip in the springs and for breakfast.  While it was cold in the air, the spring water was hot.


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Breakfast of scrambled eggs was prepared by the driver.


Bolivia01_Plano3_Rocks_4188_Web.jpg (76042 bytes)

From the hot springs we head to a valley that is strewn with volcanic rocks sitting on a flat plain.  The guide explained that millions of years ago the valley was filled with water and a volcano exploded and the volcanic chucks landed in the lake, solidified and fell to the bottom.  They re-emerged as the lake dried up.


Bolivia01_Plano3_GreenLake_4191_Web.jpg (68199 bytes)

We checked out two lakes after that - the White Lake and the Green Lake.  The Green Lake was really cool - it was really green.  After a short drive later, we arrived at the vehicle transfer point.  We unloaded the Landcruisers and packed everything into a mini-bus for our drive into Chile.


The Bolivian border check point was at 4,500 meters in a valley between two huge mountains.  It was a barren and desolate place - it must be a nightmare to be posted here.  We cleared the formalities quickly, and headed on.  A short while later, when we crossed into Chile, we hit a paved road.  Our pace picked up as we headed down into the plain below.  We dropped about 2,000 meters in 40 kms, arriving at the Chile border check point at San Pedro.


They were tough checking everything.  All gags were inspected, but we were not carrying any fruit or vegetables.  From there it was a short ride to the campsite and where Sam was waiting for us with Priscilla.  After settling in and having lunch, we prepared for our sunset tour to Death and Moon Valleys.


Chile01_SanPedro_Moon_4196_Web.jpg (87286 bytes)

Another mini-bus picked us up and we headed off on our tour.  It was a great few hours looking at some very strange landscape.  We even had a chance to walk a few kilometers down into Death Valley before the mini-bus picked us up at the other end.  He showed us some strange rock formations that had many possible interpretations.  They ranged from the head of a T-Rex to a woman with child to some that are x-rated and can not be repeated here.


Chile01_SanPedro_Moon_Sunset_4201_Web.jpg (74840 bytes)

We ended up at Moon Valley, where we climbed up a dune (now that was hard work even at this lower altitude of 2,500 meters) to a hilltop to watch the sunset.  


Chile01_SanPedro_Moon_Sunset_4204_Web.jpg (63898 bytes)

It was a magical place, except that as the sun went down it got a bit cold with the strong wind.  After a glorious sunset, we headed down - this time a bit easier.  We ran down the side of the sand dune.


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