This route is incredibly beautiful and I can totally understand why all the tourists visit those places. The delicious wine of Chile, the beautiful and unique landscape of Bolivia and the historic spirits of Machu Pichu will give you an unforgettable memory. So don’t hesitate to book your next trip to there if you haven’t been there yet.
I went to Santiago de Chile. As you can read in my last blog post I came from Mendoza Argentina. For some unknown reason, I had to wait three hours at the border. Probably it’s better to fly to Santiago than traveling by bus.
The Chilean capital is very modern and looks like the cities in Europe. At least in central areas. More or less clean and very good public transportation. In the area of Bellavista, you will find everything you need for a good holiday. Good restaurants, parties, bars and so on. I had very good seafood and a delicious Chilean wine as well. In Chile, you should try some Carmenere which is a grape that grows there. It is especially good in this climate. I also had very good Cabernet-Sauvignon or some assemblage.
Santiago is a very green city. Loads of parks and trees turn the business city into a nice place to stay. I especially liked the park of Cerro Santa Lucia. With its old fort, it has a very special charm and it gives the city a real additional value.
If you are in Santiago it’s very easy to go to Valparaiso. Just take a bus for one hour. I went there only for two days. It’s probably better to have one or two days more. Because I figured there are some things I would like to try but did not have time to do it. Anyways, I have to go back to Argentina so I can also come back to Chile again.
In Valparaiso, you have loads of nice street arts to see and the city has also a very interesting history as it was a very important harbor for all ships passing by before the channel of Panama was built. (Sorry this period of my travel will remain without photos because some Bolivian pickpockets took them with my smartphone… ask them for more insights 🙂. I got these pics back because I sent them to a very nice friend… It’s good to send pics to friends also as a backup 😉
After the trip to Valparaiso, I went to another trip from Santiago to the Cajon de Maipo. The landscape is beautiful for hiking and hot springs to enjoy. I rent a car so I could check out all the side valleys as well. It makes sense to rent a 4×4 for that reason because the streets are pretty bad in the side valleys.
As I was a bit behind my travel schedule I after this I went directly to San Pedro de Atacama and skipped some places in Chile. I made it a habit to always have an excuse to every country I go to… From there I started a three-day guided tour to Uyuni in Bolivia. The Landscape is absolutely amazing and for that reason, it was really worth to go on the trip. By the way, it’s cheaper to book it at San Pedro de Atacama than book it online. There were plenty of companies for the same tour and I bought mine for 86000 Chilean Pesos. It includes food and accommodation. If you buy it online it will be around 120000 Chilean Peso.
The downside was that I hate to be patronized. You have to eat when they want you to eat and how much they give to you. You have to sleep when they want you to sleep. I felt like in school. And I don’t have to mention that it can be freezing cold on 5000 m above sea level. Furthermore, I had a pretty bad headache because of the altitude. But! Enjoy the following photos hopefully without feeling other pain than the itchy feet:
Nope! it’s not the Photo… go fix your eyes 🙂
A hotel made out of salt
I don’t know why but for some reason I copied these pics to my laptop before my phone got stolen… unfortunately, not all pics that were on the phone. Btw. click on them to make them larger.
I arrived safely in Uyuni and I took the next night bus to La Paz. It is a 10-hour bus ride and the first 5 hours are more or less off the road. So be prepared to be shaken if you want to do that as well.
In La Paz, I went biking on so-called Death Road. The Yungas road supposed to be the most dangerous road in the world because it has some very narrow passages and you would fall pretty far down into the valley. Every year there were reported 200 to 300 number of people who died on this road that it got its name, el Camino del Muerte or Death Road. The historic road today is mainly used by tourists who enjoy downhill biking. Since 2006 there is another route that leads from La Paz to Coroico so not many die there anymore. Still, it remains a dangerous road.
Thanks to some rocks that felt on this new road death road were the only way from La Paz to Coroico for that day. As a result, there was traffic on death road and the unbelievable Bolivians did not mention this detail until we were there. I even crossed a few heavy Trucks. It was a real “Death Road Experience” like the pics that you can see on google. But as a biker, it is not as dangerous because you are small and you can always find space to stop and let them pass.
It is quite unusual though because it is the only road in Bolivia where you actually have to drive on the left side so the driver can see the edge better. There could be rocks hitting you from above and at some point, there is a waterfall you have to pass. Well, I survived and I actually had a lot of fun on the Death Road. I can totally recommend this tour despite the danger. The fact that there is usually no traffic makes it pretty safe. The most unbelievable part (but actually typical for Bolivia) about the trip is that you even have to pay to pass the crazy road. I got this great photo from a friend who participated the tour 🙂 Thank you!
And the last one I had posted instantly on Instagram…
After La Paz, I went to the lake of Titicaca (Copacabana). The place is sweet and you can find a single Room for 6 $ US. Tourists go there to the “Isla de Sol” so I did the same. Some views are really beautiful and you can see an ancient village and touch the stone of energy. I got this one from a very nice friend, as well.
The next day some Peruvian were on strike and the street along the lake of Titicaca was blocked. That’s why I decided to go back to La Paz and take a plane to Cusco. As I lost my smartphone in La Paz I had no camera anymore… So I bought one in Cusco to be able to make some pictures on Machu Pichu. There are possibilities to go to Machu Pichu by bus or train. As the bus was half price I decided to take that option. The train is more convenient though and safer because some parts of the road looked like the Death Road in Bolivia.
The bus will drop you off at “Hidroeléctrica”. From there you either have to walk two hours or take the train (for a fortune) to “Aguas Calientes”. Actually, it was a nice walk along the train track.
The next morning 5am everybody walks about 1.5 hours up to Machu Pichu. It’s also possible to take a bus for another fortune… Well for me as an evening person I had to take several breaks. And as you can see I still look pretty sleepy on the official tourist photo.
And yes, it is really crowded up there… but really impressive as well.
On this picture, you can see that they did not work properly anymore. When they heard about the Spanish invasion they got the order to finish quickly. They worked very precisely in the beginning.
I took a plane to Lima and had the real problem to sit in that chair… there is really no space for tall people in this plane of Peruvian Airlines. Using the seat belt was completely unnecessary I was stuck anyway.
The second biggest city on the continent has many faces. I stayed there only 3 days because I already had booked a flight to Colombia. I stayed in Miraflores which is a very western, rich and pretty fancy neighborhood. You can find very good food and it is a very easy life there although a bit more expensive than other parts of the city.
And don’t go shopping in a mall. The goods are totally overpriced in malls. There are other places where you can find the same stuff for lower prices. I was looking for shoes in EU size 46. I found some in “Polvo Azules” which is a large indoor market definitely not in a western style. There are no known shops or food quarts like in a normal mall. Instead, people sell things in small stands or niches. I had a problem to find my shoe size in their shops. But because they all know each other they brought me quickly to the one guy selling “oversized” shoes.
I really enjoyed the city center with the colonial buildings it is beautiful and they also clean and renovate them properly. But if you take a wrong turn it starts to be weird so keep an eye on what’s going on in the streets because as a tourist you are a welcome victim. As soon as there are no busy people around anymore you should go back to the busy areas. Pickpocketing is more common in busy areas but you can’t get robbed out totally. So keep an eye on your pockets and stay in busy areas.
Well that was actually a very short stay in Peru and I know I have to go back and discover more of the country in another occasion. But while traveling you always have to set some priorities. And I’ve set them for this time in Colombia where I stayed for a full month which is enough to see a lot of different places. So you can look forward to my next article about Columbia and a short trip to Ecuador.