Bolivian Altiplano : Lagunas, Fumaroles, Flamingos, and Vicuñas

Jul 8, 2019



Laguna Colorada, Bolivia
Laguna Colorada

The next two days we just went higher and higher to see the mountains and lakes of the Bolivian Altiplano. Unlike the mountain ranges of the Himalayas or the Peruvian Andes, the Bolivian Altiplano has smaller mountains, volcanos, and lakes. The lakes in the Bolivian Altiplano also have different colors due to the abundance of minerals. The landscape out there was just insane.


Laguna Verde, Bolivia

Laguna, Bolivian Altiplano


LAGUNAS

Imagine a great day with clear skies and no cloud in sight. After trekking in Peru enduring rain, hail, and snow, this was beyond a glorious day for me. You drive through slick deserts, wide open space just ahead of you. Then all of a sudden, you’ll drive down and lakes – red, white, blue, and other colors – will be in sight. All these beautiful lakes against the backdrop of these gorgeous mountains.

Laguna, Bolivian Altiplano

Laguna, Bolivian Altiplano

Laguna, Bolivian Altiplano

Laguna Hedionda, Bolivia

Laguna Hedionda, Bolivia

Laguna Hedionda, Bolivia

Laguna Colorada, Bolivia
Laguna Colorada

Laguna Colorada, Bolivia
Laguna Colorada

Laguna Colorada, Bolivia
Laguna Colorada

Laguna Colorada, Bolivia
Laguna Colorada

Laguna Colorada, Bolivia
Laguna Colorada

Laguna Verde, Bolivia

Laguna Verde, Bolivia

Laguna Verde, Bolivia

Bolivian Altiplano

Bolivian Altiplano


FUMAROLES

The presence of geysers/fumaroles in the Bolivian Altiplano also makes the area much more interesting. Before we even walked towards the boiling mud pots, our guide already warned us to be very careful. Try not to walk in between them as there have been accidents/deaths of people falling into the pots. As soon as we started walking I could already see how possible it is. Fumes were everywhere which might make it hard for people to see where they’re walking. I took a few photos and videos and immediately went back to the van. I was too scared to explore and it was freezing as it was windy, and we were at 4900m and the sun was about to set.

Sol de Manana, Bolivia
Sol de Manana

Sol de Manana, Bolivia

Sol de Manana, Bolivia

Sol de Manana, Bolivia

Sol de Manana, Bolivia


FLAMINGOS

Creatures, unique to this part of the world and high altitude landscape are abundant too. There are the beautiful pink flamingos that thrive in the lakes.

Laguna, Bolivian Altiplano

Laguna, Bolivian Altiplano

Laguna Hedionda, Bolivia

Laguna Hedionda, Bolivia


VICUÑAS

Vicuñas. I first heard about them in Arequipa. They supposedly have the finest, warmest, and most expensive wool, more than alpacas. It is said that during the Inca time, only royalty can wear their wool. It has such a high value that the Bolivian government have decided to declare them as protected wildlife because of poachers. Unlike alpacas and llamas which are mostly domesticated, vicuñas roam free in the high Bolivian Andes.

Vicunas, Bolivia

Of course, the curious (geek) person that I am. I asked our guide what they eat and drink given the lack of vegetation and water source in the dry and high-altitude landscape of the Andes. He said they feed off the minerals in the rocks (which the Bolivian Andes has a lot of) and they can survive for days without water. They're tougher and adapted than what I thought they would be, which is why they have the finest and warmest wool.

Unlike llamas and alpacas which travel in groups, vicuñas travel in small groups. Normally just one alpha male, and a few females with their offsprings. Vicuñas also have just one color and pattern, unlike llamas and alpacas.

Bolivian Altiplano

I was so fascinated by these animals that I get excited whenever we spot them (I was always on the lookout haha) during our drive. And our driver gladly indulged us by stopping for photos most of the time.



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