The last few days have been some of the best of my time in Bolivia. A few days ago myself, Menchi, Irwin, Menchi’s sister, and the cousin of M+I son-in-law hopped into a car and drove to the Bolivian countryside. It was a long drive, on an open country highway that just continues straight forever . It’s normal to get stopped by police every once in a while to have the drivers ID checked, but something a little more strange happened to us out in the middle of nowhere. Imagine getting pulled over in the middle of a Wyoming interstate and being asked for ID. After the police officer asked Rafael for his ID (who was driving), the cop looked at me strange (seeing I was a gringo) and asked to see my passport and visa. He glanced at it, and then asked when I was leaving, checking to see if it was the same as my visa. One of the more bizarre parts of the trip.
We drove about 6 hours to visit a few small towns in the Chiquitos region. This area in the eastern part of the country and is about 3 hours from the Brazilian border. The area is famous for its Jesuit Churches in many of the small towns. Old churches that were built several hundred years ago. The churches themselves were very pretty. For more about the history of these churches you can read here.
Below is the church in the town of San José De Chiquitos.
After touring the church we continued for another 1.5 hours to the town of Roboré. The church in this town was not as elegant as the last, but it was older, built in the 1300’s.
Unbeknownst to me, there is also lots in the form of nature in this area. I looked these towns up online before we went, and I found very little. By the time we were in the area of Roboré there were mountains aside us and as well as massive rock formations. Now the elevation of these mountains was no more than 3k, but the prominence must have been 2.5k or so, making them look massive.
Our first little hike in the area was to a waterfall. This waterfall was absolutely gorgeous. Must have been 100 feet or so.
Not only was there a stunning waterfall, there were also cave paintings! They were to the right of the waterfall.
On the way back to the car I saw some wildlife. A monkey and a large lizard that was about 3-4 feet long.
In the evening we again went to another very cool natural area, aquas caliente hot springs.
In the first picture you can see the water bubbling with warmth. It was pretty cool because when you went to step on the bubbling water, I sank into the sand, 3 or 4 feet!
The next morning (yesterday) we went on another hike, to the valle Tucuvaca. In recent years the Bolivian government had decided to protect the area with park rangers. The park rangers in the area were actually young soldiers from Santiago de Chiqitos.
Here is a 17 year old soldier signing us into the park.
After a steep hike we got to the top of the mountain, overlooking Valle de Tucavaca.
The massive rock figures at the top were not something I had ever seen before!
Four out last natural stop in the region we hiked into an area known for its amazing swimming holes. This was incredible! Hard to believe it was natural!
The really cool part about the swimming holes, was that the water was very deep. In the pool above, the water was 14-20 feet deep, likely deeper! Our hike to Las Espozas was great last adverture in the region.
On the way home we stopped in a town called Chichois. This town is known for its massive rock cliffs overlooking the town, and for a beautiful church up higher by a large vertical rock formation.
I’m sure these walls have never been climbed before…
Overall, I had a great time in Bolivia. It’s a country that’s very different from the US, and I was delighted to be able to learn about the culture through the hospitalality of Menchi and her family. I am especially grateful to Patricia, Menchi’s sister, for hosting me for the last two weeks. Such an incredible family and it was great to spend time with them.
I only got to see a small piece of Bolivia this trip…I know I’ll be back!
Here I am with Menchi and Irwin for our great steak dinner tonight.
So grateful for my Bolivian parents!!!
And now for one last addition of Dogs of Bolivia
Thank you Bolivia!!!!!
Thank you all for reading! My next post will be in Peru with Emil!!!