Hello friends and families,
We have reached an exciting point in our nine-month journey here in Bolivia. In just a few days we will be setting off on our “winter” excursion. After a busy two week vacation of hiking to waterfalls, 5ks, secret santa, cooking banana bread and tacos, watching Black Mirror, playing with our many dogs, charades, Q’oas, and fireworks on New Years, we are more than ready to face the intense reflection that midcourse has to offer.
Can you believe it? Half of our time in Bolivia is gone! Yet we are still asking ourselves… why are we here? This excursion will help us answer this pressing question. We will also make concrete goals for the second half of our course, practice travel skills, and see some of the most historical and culturally important places in Bolivia.
Here is our itinerary for the first two weeks of January! Unfortunately for you, we have also decided that this is the perfect opportunity for a much needed wifi fast. But don’t you worry, the instructors are refusing to participate so you can contact them.
January 4: Travel day
Travel by bus from Cochabamba to Oruro, take train from Oruro to Uyuni, arriving in the evening to the town of Uyuni
January 5-7: Salar de Uyuni
We will spend three days touring the largest salt desert in the world, along with the spectacular National Park called Eduardo Avaroa. You may know Salar de Uyuni from those crazy mirrored photos, or perhaps Dali paintings. During our visit we will have the opportunity to learn about the Salar’s geographic formation and history in resource extraction while also enjoying hot springs and stargazing.
Located at an altitude between 4,200m and 5,400m, the National Park is home to an incredible amount of biodiversity, including three of the five species in the world of flamingos, vicuñas, vizcachas, ñandús, condors, and pumas (the last two of which we would be extremely lucky to see). This area is also home to active volcanoes, geysers, canyons, natural arches, and lakes of different colors.
January 8-10: Potosi
Potosi is one of the most historically significant (and highest) cities in the world! Once the most populated cities in the world, Potosi sustained the Spanish empire during colonization and, as we learned in one of our charlas, started global capitalism. Here we will work with CONNETSOP, a union of child workers, and explore the silver mines, architecture, and museums.
January 11-18: Sucre
Sucre is home to world-class museums, Bolivia’s declaration of independence, rich indigenous textile traditions, and a delicious regional cuisine. After exploring the city, we will head out on a four day trek through the spectacular Cordillera de los Frailes, an incredible mountain range with dinosaur footprints, cave paintings, Inca roads, and an 8km wide ancient crater.
January 19: Home sweet home!
We will return to Tiquipaya from Sucre, and students will resume their service site work and settle back in with their homestay families.