A day trip to the red rocks, piedras Rojas, is booked for today and since 7am I am waiting to be picked up. It’s 7.50am when Flamingo Tours finally get me, they didn’t even know where to find my (relatively new) hostel and Chris and Mim had to provide directions. We head first to the Chaxa lakes, a flamingo reserve. In the morning sun the lakes and flamingos have a beautiful glow and the reflections are perfect for taking some nice pics. There are 3 types of flamingos in this area, but at this time of the year, only two are present: the Chilean flamingo (white) and the Andean flamingo (pinkish). We have breakfast at the Laguna, real French baguette and also some fruits!
Then we are driven to the Piedras Rojas, my favorite spot today. A milky blue lake, partly frozen, salt covered landscape, the volcanoes and colourful hills around us, the red rocks. It feels unreal and I could have stayed forever if it wouldn’t have been so cold due to the strong wind at some 4,300m altitude. Also I am in a guided tour and our guide is always “shouting” at us for being late….
Next up is Laguna Tuyaito, where we stop rather shortly to take some pictures.
Then back down a bit to the Laguna Miscanti and Miñiques. At a small refuge above Lake Miscanti we take our picnic lunch. A selection of vegetables, potatoes, noodles, avocado, tuna.. Perfect for me as I love being outside for lunch with a great view, but some people feel too cold. After lunch we walk around the two lakes and see some Vicunas, flamingos and other birds.
Our last stop on the way back is at the village Toconao with a cute little bell tower and church.
In the late afternoon we are back in San Pedro and all I can do is walk back to the hostel, have some dinner and go to bed. Too many impressions and not enough sleep the last days, I need a rest day! And so I just sleep in the next day, have breakfast at 10am and then sit in the nice patio of the Chill hostel, reading and researching information about Bolivia and planning where to go hiking! In the afternoon I meet up with Chris and Mim who also take a rest day. We end up hanging out in their hostel and cooking dinner together, a big salad, oven potatoes and veggies, wine and chocolate for desert. It’s such a nice evening!
The next morning is difficult though, after not sleeping the whole night (full moon, two girls coming in the dorm at 3am switching on the light…), I get up at 4.45am, ready to be picked up at 5am for my tour to the Tatio Geysirs.
It’s a small group today and we have some space in the van so I can rest on our drive in the darkness, up to the Tatio Geysirs. We arrive in the moonlit darkness and have our breakfast in the cold outside the van with view of the sunrise and the geysirs! The Tatio Geysirs are the highest geysirs in the world at 4,300m altitude and there are some 80 geysirs here. The reason for going up so early is the beautiful steam you can only see in the morning with the temperature difference due to the rising sun. We walk around and take plenty of pictures, my feet frozen and hands cold, only slowly getting warm in the sun.
While there us some pretty steam, the water bubbling is not that high. The geysirs are more about the quantity and altitude. We then drive a short bit to another part of the geysirs, where some are up for a soak in the hot springs (I am not) and the others can walk around. On our way back we make a stop at a view point to see the active volcanoe Putana and some goose. Another stop at a little village and the beautiful Puritama canyon.
Back in town I have lunch at the hostel and go for a walk in town with Tim, a French who stays at my hostel. In the evening, Leo, the owner of the hostel takes us to see the sunset, one of the best I saw on my trip! Dinner is baguette, avocado, eggs and nice chats before sleeping early.