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BOLIVIA - THE ANDES di Axel Kaiser

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Mountainbiking from Bolivia to Chile

After a lot of search I hire a pickup who agrees to bring us until 10 km of the border, not closer as his car didn't have the right documents. Next morning we go, we pass several abandoned villages with some churches which seem to came out of a spaghetti western. We cross the salar de Coipasa, another saltlake.


At the border we have to wait for the guards to finish their lunch and then we get our passports stamped. They warn us that bad weather is coming. Nonetheless we go, we wanted to reach the nationalpark of ???????. The road is terrible, lots of sand and washboard pattern, so after only 15 km, which took us over 2 hours we have to backtrack and sleep at the border. We have to rent a room in n a private house as their is no lodging.

Next day we change our plans and stick to the mainroad, its a typical Andean landscape. He we reach the highest point on our trip, reached by bike at least, 5100 meters

From her its, almost all downhill for 100 km, as we enter the Atacama dessert the landscape becomes very barren, I never saw such a lifeless country, not a single plant till the horizon.

At last, by dark, we reach the Pan-American Highway, we did 150 km today. The first warm shower and real meal for 6 days.Along the panamerican we stop to visit a few of the nitrates ghosttowns.

Real cities built around the nitrate treatment plant, they were gradually abandoned with the advent of synthetic nitrates. First this rich territory belonged to Bolivia who lost it at the beginning of the last century in the war with Chile along with its seaports. Even if Chile has granted freetransit rights to Bolivia, disputes about this area has never subsided. Also because here is the biggest Coppermine in the world which gives Chile 40 % of its revenues.

We have a last descent of 1500 meters down to the sea level and Iqiuque where we rest for a few days, Biking leisurely along the coast.

We make an excursion of a few days to San Pedro de Atacama, which is close to the Bolivian border to visit the famous turquoise lake on the Bolivian side. Again we go up to 5300 meters, even at noon its -20° C. This mineral rich lakes never freeze thanks to some thermal springs which allow also the living of big colonies of Flamingos.

Unfortunately its time now to head to Santiago for the return flight.
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Dati del viaggio

Mountainbiking from Bolivia to Chile

Periodo: Agosto 2000

Destinazione: Bolivia - The Andes

Partecipanti: Axel Kaiser e Ana Zandomeneghi

Passaporto turistico

Axel Kaiser


Axel ed Ana sono due cari amici, lui tedesco lei brasiliana vivono a Firenze da molti anni insieme alla loro piccola Virginia. Axel è venuto in Italia con la sua famiglia ancora piccolo ed ha conosciuto Francesco al liceo.

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