Jeep Tour of Southern Bolivia – Volcanoes and Lagoons

The rest of the jeep tour was spent driving through some really beautiful landscapes.  We saw some cute animals…

Andean Fox Rabbit/Squirel

some crazy rock formations…

Lion Rock

Arbol de Piedra

and a lot of volcanoes and colored lagoons (complete with flamingos).

First Volcano First Lagoon Lagoon Colorada Lagoon Colorada 2 Group Picture Lagoon Colorada 3

Laguna Verde

Along the way, we saw some steaming geysers and bubbling sulfur pools.

Geiser Boiling Sulfer

We stopped to relax in a hot spring one day to break up the drive before continuing on through snow capped mountains and then the Dali Desert.

Thermal Pool Jeep and the mountains Dali Desert

The accommodations were definitely the most “rustic” that we’ve stayed in so far.  Most of the roofs of the hostels were held down by rocks (and tires!) and the final night, we put on almost everything that we owned to try to stay warm.

Second Night hostel Last night dinner

The tour ended at the border between Bolivia and Chile (which was one lonely building) where we said bye to Roberto and Julia and took a transfer to San Pedro de Atacama.  Overall, our 4 day jeep tour has been one of the highlights of our trip so far!

Crossing out of Bolivia Roberto y Julia


Jeep Tour of Southern Bolivia – Salt Flats

When we first started planning our trip, one of the must-do’s on Brandon’s list was to go to the Salt Flat by Uyuni, Bolivia, which is the largest in the world.  Originally, going to the salt flat was the only thing we were going to do in Bolivia – and then we ended up spending 6 weeks visiting La Paz, Cochabamba, Sucre, Potosí, Tupiza and then doing the jeep trip to the salt flat!

Our four day trip started in Tupiza.  Besides Brandon and me, the Toyota Land Cruiser held our driver Roberto, our cook Julia and another tourist couple from Switzerland.  As we drove out of town, there were some cool rock formations and canyons – it looked a bit like the U.S. southwest.  We also saw a lot of llamas!

Leaving Tupiza Llamas on the loose

A few hours into the trip took us past San Vincente.  Back in Brookings before leaving on the trip, my dad had us watch Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid in preparation for our Bolivia visit.  San Vincente is supposed to be the site of the final shootout with Butch Cassidy and where he is buried, so we asked Roberto if we could stop by the cemetery and see the grave.  The cemetery was locked so we scrambled up a hill overlooking it and Roberto pointed out the location of the grave.

San Vicente BC & SDK Graves

About 6 hours later we finally made it to the Salt Flat and it lived up to all our expectations!

Hahn on Top Flags on the flat Salt Flat

The big thing to do when at the Salt Flat is to take “fotos locos”.  Our guides had tons of ideas (most of which involved us “standing” on fruit and other items from the jeep) and here are just a few of our “crazy pictures”

Snack Time Hahn is hungry Jump! PRINGLES salt flat Awwww!

That night we slept in a salt hotel – all the walls and bed frames where made of salt.

Salt Hotel

Very early the next morning we got up to see the sun rise over the salt flat and then traveled on to the Cactus Island in the middle.  While we hiked around the cacti, Julia got some breakfast ready for us – including a cake!

Sun Rise Cactus Island Cake for breakfast

After breakfast we took off to keep touring southern Bolivia.  More on that soon!


We spent two nights in Potosí on our way from Sucre to Tupiza.  We had originally planned on touring the famous silver mines there, but I had been struggling with a cold and wasn’t too keen on crawling through small passages holes in an active mine (ie – explosions going on during the tour) while sniffling and blowing my nose every 5 minutes, so we ended up spending our time alternating between eating and trying to stay warm.  Potosí is one of the highest cities in the world – 14,420 ft – and the weather was much colder than we had been used to.  Luckily, we haven’t been hit by altitude sickness yet, but I did have to stop and catch my breath after any uphill walking.

Here are just a few pictures from around town.

Potosi Streets Potosi Square Potosi Church Potosi Street 2 Potosi Church 2 Mine Potosi Church 3 View of Potosi

Turning 28 in Sucre

After we packed everything up in Cochabamba, we flew to Sucre just in time to celebrate my birthday! Quick side note on travel in Bolivia – flying is the way to do it! Buses are cheap, but flying is only a bit more and takes a fraction of the time. Buses from La Paz to Cochabamba and then Cochabamba to Sucre take 7-10 hours each, but flights are 30 minutes and cost $30-$40. We decided to forgo the 7-hour bus ride to Sucre for a $30 – 30 minute flight instead 🙂

Anyway, Sucre is a really nice, cool looking city. It is nicknamed “the white city” because all the downtown buildings are white.

Sucre Streets

White Church

White Street

It was much smaller than I had expected it to be – it only has a population of around 300,000 and when Brandon and I set off to explore the downtown area, we’d pretty much seen it all in an hour, including some really nice parks.



Park in Sucre

Bolivia loves parades and there were several of them both days we were there – midday and evening!

Day Parade

Night Parade

On my actual birthday, Brandon surprised me with some chocolate cake for breakfast and when we got going, we walked up to a square that overlooked the city and had a leisurely lunch with a nice view.

Brandon on Top!

View from lunch

On the way back we stopped at a chocolate shop that I had heard good things about to pick up more treats.

Para Ti

For dinner we went to a French restaurant called La Taverne where we splurged on our most expensive meal yet in South America. We had wine, shared a shrimp starter, ate steak for our main and then split tiramisu for dessert – all for $40!

Birthday Dinner



Goodbye Cochabamba!

Wow – we only left Cochabamba a little over a week ago, but it already feels longer than that!  We really enjoyed our month in Cochabamba – it was a bit hard to leave what felt a bit like “home”. We got into a really nice routine over the month that we were there and really enjoyed the organizations that we volunteered with.  Here we are at the office with the Fundacion Bosques Director, Bonnie.

Picture with Bonnie

Bonnie even took us on a field trip out into the mountains to an area they work in – and it was beautiful!

Field Trip

I got to brush up on my sewing skills to help out one of our housemates with a Feminine Hygiene project she was doing for her organization – she held a pad making party and I got to try my hand at making a belted pad!

Pad Construction

We’ll definitely miss the social aspect too – we met so many cool people and it was fun living with 6 other housemates – well, 7 if you count Bruno the dog.


We’ll also miss walking around the city. I can’t even count the times that we walked 30 minutes north of our house to the Recoleta neighborhood to poke around or to enjoy the more diverse food offerings.

Recoleta Strip


Kebab Dinner