Cerro Blanco 51150 m - Puchuldiza
Contact: Franz Schubert
Duration: 1/2 Day
Starting point: Iquique - Puchuldiza
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How to get there:
Iquique km 0
In Iquique, we find not only a ton of places to shop and beautiful beaches, but also many different rental car companies. If travelers prefer booking the trip in advance I recommend contacting Billy Morales, his e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Intersection Ruta 5 km 53
From Iquique, we drove up the steep mountain side to the Panamericana. Shortly before the Intersection you should visit the ghost towns of Humberstone and Sta. Laura, a true photographers paradise.
Huara km 80
In Huara the church and cemetery are worth a visit. From here we leave the Panam taking the right fork at the Police station towards Bolivia. This road is paved up to the border. After driving for a half an hour we recognize a hill off to our left, the Cerro Unitas. A short access road leads us down to an incredible view of Chile.
Intersection Chiapa km 156
Back on the road to Bolivia we reach Chiapa at 3400 m. This little hidden town offers accommodations, the insight into a Aymara village and a number of excursions and hikes. It might take you a little while to get acclimated to the altitude. If you plan to stay here for a couple of days make sure to contact Billy before you go. The landscape at the foot of the Tata Jachura is dominated by oregano, cacti and herds of llama. Serafin and Celinda offer accommodation and food typical of the highlands.
From Chiapa we go back to the paved road, which takes about 45 minutes. On this road we reach 189km (of Iquique) and the highest point of our journey 4350 m. Now we head slightly downhill to reach towards Puchuldiza and Mauque at 4100m, 208km. The road now becomes gravel. At km 221, 4000 m , we turn left again and shortly there after we reach geothermal field Puchuldiza at 4200 m. Again and again we tried to tap into energy here on Earth, but today it was just an attempt. From the parking area here you can visit the beautiful surroundings of solfatara. Caution! Donīt get too close to the bubbling holes which can cause severe burns if not cautious.
From Puchuldiza km 0, we take the gravel road past a couple of houses. After 2 km you reach a grass meadow where you can usually see Alpacas grazing. To the left of the meadow lies a dirt road. This is still another 5 km and can be even further with a non 4 wheel drive vehicle. At 4350m the valley narrows and a path leads steeply uphill. If you dont have an all-wheel drive you can park here. If you do you can drive even further to a whopping 5040 m. Note, when you reach 4780m stay to your right.
From the parking lot at 5040 m there are various peaks to hike to that only take a short time. Some shine with bright white in the sky, others with red strips on an orange background. To the north you will recognize the Sajama in Bolivia and the perfectly shaped volcano Parinacota. In the south gleams the white level of the Salar de Coipasa.
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