Dragoman D14- You shall not passApril 19, 2017 in Bolivia ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C
Jumping into the bus at 8 we headed to the Chilean border control at the edge of San Pedro de Atacama. It opened at 9 so we were onenl of the first in the queue apart from two cyclists. Our plan was to cross the altiplano into Bolivia which would take us up to an altitude of 5200m and we woukdnpass through lagunas filled with wildlife. How the cyclists thought they could cycle over that pass in a day was beyond us.
As the shutters opened we were dismayed to hear that the border was closed as the high pass had snow and high winds. We could wait untill 11 for further news, stay in San Pedro until it opened (it was census day so everything was shut!) or make a new plan. Pros at the unexpected Lou and David snapped to plan B. There was another border 4 hours up the road. Off we went.
After fueling up at a city we continued on a lonely road with not a spec of life in sight. Flanked by volcanos either side, Mamasita battled through high winds and sandstorms that sandblasted the windscreen. Arriving at the Chile border we saw a commercial bus so knew the road was clear to Bolivia. Stamped out we continued to the Bolivian border, to find that even though they are in the middle of nowhere with less than 50 people crossing a day they were shut for a 2 hour lunch!
Once the Bolivians had been fed and watered we crossed into Bolivia. Stopping at a laguna we spotted flamingoes, comerants, ducks, cranes and herds of llamas. As a pack, 8 of us stalked a lone flamingo for the best shot. The llamas were very stately and were beautifully decorated with colourful ribbons and bells that chimed as they moved. As it got later we came across lone sheppards hearding their flock back towards pens for the night.
As sunset fell we stopped at a few villages looking for a hostel/hotel so that we wouldn't have to bush camp in high winds. We struck gold in the small mining town of San cristobal which had room in its ecohotel. Due to the constant sun its solar powered shower was bliss! The only open restraunt in town luckily had just enough llama and beef stakes to feed us all. Accompanied by egg, rice and chips it was a very filling meal which sent me straight off to sleep the minute mubhead hit the pillow.
We later learnt that the other border never opened again so we made the right choice with plan B!Read more