Copacabana & Isla del Sol
After my days at the Peruvian side of Lake Titicaca, it’s time to visit the Bolivian side of the lake. Following an easy border crossing, I get to the city Copacabana at the shores of the lake. A kind of touristic place where they got a reggae thing going. All over the reggae music is playing and the bars and restaurant are definitely trying to look like a Caribbean style place. After a day in Copacabana, I take the ferry to Isla del Sol which by far has been my favourite place on the lake. This island got an amazing energy and the nature is so beautiful with its green hills and the deep blue lake all around. I spend my day hiking, relaxing and meditating. During the night, I’m surprised by the powers of Mother Nature when a storm with heavy rain and thunder last most of the night.
La Paz, The Highest Capital in the World
A 4-hour drive from Lake Titicaca takes me to Bolivia’s capital La Paz which is placed in a valley surrounded by huge mountains with snow-covered peaks. We’re in an altitude of 3.500 metres. These factors really affect the weather. In a day, you’ll have all kinds of weather. From sun to clouds to rain to thunder to 5 degrees to nearly 20. The city is kind of grayish and haven’t got much to offer but it does have some good markets. One of them is the mystically witches’ market. Here you can find anything from healing herbs and incense to small dead alpacas and magical statues.
Even though, it’s the capital, you don’t really see any of the big American brands, like McDonald’s and Starbucks. It could be due to their relatively bad relationship to the United States. Americans are some of the only ones who need a visa to get into Bolivia and it is expensive for them.
I spend most of my time in La Paz doing walks around the city. One thing I enjoy, is settling down on a plaza and watch life unfolds itself. I enjoy the fact that most of the women wear traditionally clothes. There’s the big skirt and the two braids with the pong pong in the ends, and then of course, there’s the funny looking hat which almost looks like a bowler hat. It’s cool and fascinating that they keep these traditions alive.
The Ruins of Tiwanaku
From La Paz, I do a trip to Tiwanaku ruins. I decide to go on my own thinking sure, I can do this easily. I’m already having problems in the teleferico which I think is such a nice thing to have in city with mountains, if you know where to get off. Apparently, I don’t and it almost takes me an hour to find the right shuttle going to Tiwanaku. One thing I learn this day, is that the Bolivians are friendly and helpful people, though sometimes the men get too friendly and sometimes you have to ask at least 3 different persons to get the right answer. Apparently, bad help is better than no help.
After a 2-hour drive from La Paz, I get to Tiwanaku, and to be honest, it’s not really worth the trouble. Or maybe, I’ve just seen my fair share of ruins and these ones are not the most impressing. But I do learn a bit about the Tiwanakus who were pre-Incan.
Sucre, The White City
After La Paz, I feel need to see something pretty, and Sucre does not disappoint me. Beautiful Sucre with its white houses and many green plazas. It’s such a nice place to relax for a couple of days. It’s a city famous for its many Spanish schools which explain the big amount of backpackers. So what else to do here? The cemetery is actually a nice place to visit. I’ve always liked catholic cemeteries. The way they pimp their graves with huge buildings, flowers and religious sayings and this cemetery definitely does the trick.
Sucre is also the place where I get to eat my first chocolate after my ayahuasca retreat, and yes, I decide to go crazy and spend all my hardworking money in a fancy chocolate store. From my bench in the park with my mouth full of chocolate, I can tell you – it’s so much worth it!
Salar de Uyuni and The Desert
As we’re approaching Uyuni, the sky gets more and more deep blue and it looks like you never see a raindrop around here. Everything is dry. But the scenery is breath taking. With the orange and yellow mountains and the deep blue sky. What colours!
Three Days Off-Roading in the Desert
Day 1: The Salt Lake
From Uyuni it’s about to get crazy. From here, I do a 3 day desert trip in a 4W. With 6 women in the car and our driver, we are set to take off on a journey to some of the craziest landscape I’ve ever seen. The first part of the trip is to the train cemetery and through the famous Salt Lake, and I get why it’s famous. This place is incredible! Once again, Mother Nature surprises me with her magic. The duality of the clear blue sky and the completely white Salt Lake looks amazing. The only problem; I stepped on my sun glasses right before entering the Salt Lake and the light is so bright that I end up almost blinded (I am seriously not kidding – my eyes were troubled for 2 days).
Day 2: Surreal Landscape
After a cold night in the desert, it’s time to see what day 2 got to offer and we’re in for a treat. The landscape is so surreal and beautiful, and the fact that we are off-roading in the middle of a big desert just makes it all that much more appealing. The landscape goes from dessert and huge mountains with snow-covered peaks to red, green and white lagoons to crazy rock formations and lakes filled with pink flamingos.
Day 3: Goodbye Bolivia, Hello Chile
On day 3 we start the day at 5:00am to see the geysers which are only active during the early morning hours. After that, we are off to the hot springs. But to be honest, it just too cold and early for me to be thinking about wearing a swim suit but the sunrise is amazing. Our driver drops us off at the border to Chile where my new adventure begins in San Pedro de Atacama. And to be honest, it’s going to be nice with a shower after 3 days in the desert.