Incredibly, with 11 months down, the countdown to a whole year on the road truly begins… and if this (like most other months) one is usual, it will seem to fly by!
This month saw us accelerate a little, at the cost of time in Bolivia & northern Chile.
But we had our reasons…
Countries Visited: 3 (Peru, Bolivia, Chile)
With the 1st 3 days our last in Peru, the rest of the month was almost divided evenly between the very different Andean neighbours of Bolivia & Chile.
Essentially an example of the haves, & the have nots…
Cheapest Bed(s): Unknown Hostel, Isla del Sol, Bolivia $50.00 Bolivianos ($9.23AU)
Seriously, we don’t even know if it had a name… but it had the most incredible views!
We met a guy on the boat, negotiated a price, and it ultimately proved our cheapest stay in all of Bolivia!
Most Expensive Bed(s): Palafito Waiwen, Castro, Chile $24,000.00 Pesos ($50.46AU)
The flip side saw our most expensive pad for the month, also our most expensive night(s) since we left the US.
It was also however up there as a candidate for the best hostel of our trip!
Highlight: Salar de Uyuni
Normally I reserve copious amounts of salt for the consumption of my hot chips (fries) or on potato crisps.
This place however, this is different.
A vast, seemingly empty expanse. A literal sea of salt, like any true ocean broken by the odd island.
Simply stunning in its raw, possibly deadly (I’d hate to be lost in its midst) beauty.
Lowlight: Not being able to dive with the Moai off Isla de Pascua (Easter Island)
This month, this was a tough decision.
After all, it’s not every day you get denied the chance to see dinosaur footprints, simply because you aren’t wearing shoes (fear not, we’re not destitute, we just had flip-flops on), despite there being no information advising us of this rule.
However, when after 3 days of trying, the conditions for diving off Easter Island were just too rough, I had to give this the nod.
Favourite New Food: Bolivian Sonso
To be honest, I only think this is the correct name.
But when we were presented with the chance to grab a couple of these (from an old mountain railway station between Sucre & Potosi in Bolivia), curiosity got the better of me.
Deep fried mashed potato, & a dollop of a spicy salsa.
Pretty damn good we thought!
Best Beer: Kunstmann Cerveza Miel, Chile
Slim pickings on the beer front this month (Bolivia’s beers were woeful & with the colder weather, we’ve had a lot more wine), so this Honey flavoured number from Chile gets the nod.
Most impressive Church: Iglesia de Nercon, Nercon, Chile
This month was frustrating, as many of the better churches we visited were either not open, or expected an exorbitant entrance fee before entrance.
Sadly this was another that fell into the closed category, however it was beautiful (you don’t get a UNESCO listing for nothing), just one of 16 such examples on the Chilean island of Chiloé.
Bucket List Items: 1 Easter Island
Incredibly enough (it was a complete accident), these 2 colossus statues (Moai) are the exact same 2 that were featured on our ‘Bucket List‘ from oh so long ago (but not for long, as I like to update with our own images as we tick them off)!
It’s damn remote, it’s reasonably expensive, but boy, is it amazing!
New Bucket List Items: 1 Dive with the submerged Moai around Easter Island
See this one above…
Highest Elevation: 4,900m Uyuni Circuit, Bolivia
Okay, so as far as I know, there’s not really any such place…
However, as part of our 3 day adventure (which began in the Salar de Uyuni), we apparently hit this lofty height somewhere on day 2 (or was it 3) as we bounced our way through the border lands of Bolivia & Chile.
Days in thongs (flip flops): 10
Not a huge month of appearances for our favoured footwear, but given that we spent about 2 & a half weeks at over 2400 metres (as well, winter is fast approaching), not the most horrible of outcomes.
UNESCO Sites: 7 (Historical Centre of the City of Arequipa (Redux), Tiwanaku: Spiritual & Political Centre of the Tiwanaku Culture, Historic City of Sucre, City of Potosi, Rapa Nui National Park, Historic Quarter of the Seaport City of Valparaiso, Churches of Chiloé)
A couple of these stunning locations have already been featured in other highlights sections this month.
Just illustrates how luck we’ve been!
Number of towns: 17
Number of beds: 13
Nights in transit: 3 (3 buses)
All nights in transit proved to be buses this month, with one proving the longest journey of the trip to date (24 hours from San Pedro de Atacama to Santiago)!
- In Bolivia’s capital, Sucre, we’ve seen the most aggressive beggars of anywhere in the world! Quite prepared to grab passers by on the arm & even yell at them!
- Peru & Bolivia is in fact not the only place we’ve witnessed it, but we have little time for travellers from other countries trying to sell us their wares/services made to finance their travels. If we want to purchase woven wristbands, postcards or pay to listen to music as we eat, we’d much rather to contribute to the local economy!
- Bolivia is comfortably in front, with the dubious honour of providing the worst beers of the trip thus far…
- The abbreviated Bolivian currency can let me pretend I’m back in Australia before we adopted the Australian Dollar… here, I can get a good feed for just a few BOB (that’s right, Bolivian Boliviano’s)
- We have encountered so many French travellers in Chile, probably about 80% of the non-Spanish accents we have heard have been French!