Salar de Uyuni

After arriving in Uyuni at 8 in the morning, the bus Terminal was already busy with travel agents selling tours for the salt flats of Uyuni.
I had already met Li from Taiwan on the bus and so the two of us decided to go along with one of the girls, who put us on a 3 day tour leaving the same morning.
It turned out that I was very lucky with my group of travelers: a very good national/international mix of a Bolivian mother traveling with her two teenage daughters, a Portuguese photographer, a Japanese guy named Kan who made the tour on his motorbike (he actually started his journey in Alaska and is now on his way to Patagonia…. quite crazy), Li and myself.
The Salar de Uyuni is the biggest and highest salt lake in the world; further south you can see some impressive volcanoes, multi colored lagoons with hundreds of flamingos, nice rock formations and hot geysers and natural thermal baths.
The first night we spent in a very nice hostal entirely built of salt, even the mattresses of our beds were put on blocks of salt!
The second day (December 24) we visited several nice lagoons and we spent the night at the shores of Laguna Colorada at 4’300 meters above sea level. After sunset it got quite cold and a strong wind was blowing all night long.
Together with some other groups we celebrated Christmas Eve with a lot of wine, beer and tequila. As we had an early start at 4:30 the next morning, for some of us the night was quite short!
Rui, usually very keen to take loads of pictures (he is a photographer after all) could not really be convinced to see the beauty of the geysers at 6:00 in the morning and preferred to rather get some sleep in the car….
Mid morning we arrived at the Chilean border and here it was already time to say good bye to Li and Kan, who continued their trip to San Pedro de Atacama. The rest of us returned to Uyuni, where we arrived at 7:00 in the evening after a long and tiring drive.
The same night at 10:00 I boarded the night train to Villazon, the border town between Bolivia and Argentina.

The Salar de Uyuni was another big highlight of my trip and probably because we spent Christmas there, it is a really memorable one too.

La Paz, Bolivia

The bus ride from Puno to La Paz does usually not take more than five hours, but since our bus (coming from Lima) was almost 8 hours (¡) late, it took us basically one whole day to get to La Paz….

I immediately liked La Paz, the highest capital city in the world at 3650 meters. Built in the basin of a canyon and surrounded by snow capped mountains, the city was bustling with pre-Christmas activities, colorful street markets and thousands of people everywhere…
I joined a city tour which took us around the main square, Plaza Murillo, to the witches market and the Moon Valley with its strange rock formations shaped by the weather.

After three weeks travel with my Tucan group it was time for me to say good–bye and to hit the road on my own again…it was great traveling with you guys, thanks a lot and hope to see you again sometime somewhere around the world! After two days in La Paz I boarded the night bus to Uyuni, my next destination, where I would spend Christmas touring the salar flats of Uyuni.

La Paz

Colorful street markets

Moon Valley


Lake Titicaca

Finally leaving Cuzco we took the bus to Puno at the shore of Lake Titicaca. The journey accros the Altiplano was very nice, with snow capped mountains in the distance and herds of llamas and alpacas all along the road.
After one night in Puno we first visited the floating reed islands in the Bay of Puno, the home of the Uros indians, who build their islands and boats from reeds.
The boat then took us to Amantaní island, where local Aymara and Quechua indian families hosted us for one night in their homes. This was a very nice experience and the local community even organized a party for us, where we were all dressed in the traditional costumes...
After breakfast the next morning, our “mamas” did escort us back down to the port, where we took the boat to the island of Taquile. After a walk in the rain we arrived at the main square of the village, where we had lunch and some free time to explore, before the boat did leave back to Puno

Floating reed islands

Hike to top of Amantani island (4200 m)

My host family on Amantani island

Amazon Rainforest

From Cuzco we flew to Puerto Maldonado, the starting point for our visit to the Amazon rainforest. After a journey of about 2 hours first by bus and then by canoe, we arrived at our jungle lodge.
After lunch we left for our first jungle walk on monkey island, we didn’t have to wait very long before we saw the first monkeys in the trees above us...
In the evening we went downstream by canoe to spot caimans, unfortunately they didn’t show up for our visit.
On the second day we set off early for a walk through the rainforest and our guide explained us a lot about the fauna and flora of the area. After about 2 hours walk we arrived at a hidden lagoon, where we took a short ride by canoe and could observe various wildlife such as parrots, tucans, herons, turtels etc.
In the afternoon we tried our luck fishing in one of the smaller side rivers, as nobody did catch anything that day, the cook had to buy the fish for dinner in the local market....
On the third day we had an early start again, leaving the lodge at 7 am by boat in order to catch our flight from Puerto Maldonado back to Cuzco (of course the flight was late as quite common in Peru....)

Sacred Valley

The four days on the Inca Trail were followed by a relaxing, “touri” like one day excursion to the Sacred Valley of the Incas. We first stopped at the site of Sacsayhuaman in the outskirts of Cuzco, where we could see some impressive Inca walls with massive rocks weighting up to 130 tons.
The next stop was at the museum of the llama, where you could of course also buy all sorts of things made of llama and alpaca wool.
Unfortunately the weather was not great that day and so our visit to the Inca fortres of Pisac was cut rather short. We had lunch in Pisac and also some free time to explore the local market and spend our money on presents and other stuff!

The next stop was at a traditional chicha bar, where we tasted the typical chicha (corn beer).
The last stop in the afternoon was in Ollantaytambo (which was also the starting point of our Inca trek a few days earlier), where we climbed the enormous Inca terraces constructed on the side of a steep mountain.