Saturday (Sabado) 29th May, 2010
Day 442

Laguna Colorado, Bolivia
Laguna Colorado, Bolivia
Miles: 45,081
S 22.22438°
W 67.73476°

We were up and away early this morning to give ourselves plenty of daylight for our first foray onto Bolivian roads. We have heard so many horror stories about these roads and this is apparently one of the worst areas of the country.

First chore of the day was our exit through Chile customs and immigration just on the outskirts of San Pedro. The climb back onto the plateau was much quicker than yesterdays descent and we soon found ourselves on a dusty road pulling into a Bolivian immigration post. The place was already well populated with Bolivian registered beaten-up Toyotas and shivering young tourists as passengers - they were all tour company vehicles.

The entry process was straightforward but a little weird. This post only did immigration, the customs post was a further 80km down the road (and as we would discovered, 5 kms down a side road and at 5100m altitude).

A few kms later we entered the national park(paid our entry fee). And then onto tracks that varied from reasonable graded gravel roads to simply 4x4 tracks.

Laguna Verde lived up to its name - with bright light green water. More interesting than the color was the mix of ice and salt on the edge of the lake. It was difficult to tell which of the white encrustations on the rocks around the edge of the lake was ice and which was salt.

A few Kms farther on we came upon a hot spring. Parked next to it were a number of tour company Toyotas. Tourists were in all stages of swimming. We joined in for a 20 minute soak in pleasant hot water. However there was little pleasant, about getting out into 35°F temperature and a 40mph wind.

We continued along the track following the obvious signs of earlier traffic until we encoutered a sign telling as that the Aduana (customs station) was 5 km down a side road. Not wanting to have border complications we took this side road. We climbed up a good deal further to a peak of 50250m. What did we find - a soccer field (no grass of course) - who plays soccer at 5025m (16,500').This is the highest point we have reached on the trip. We had to wake up the customs officials - it's siesta time. It took only a few minutes to get the vehicle processed for a 60 day stay in Bolivia.

Another hour north we came to the shore of Laguna Colorado and its famous red waters. We will stayed the night in the hope of getting some good photos in the morning light.


We camped at the eastern end of Laguna Colorado. Altitude 4300m. Fierce wind, bright sun.