Sajama National Park
When we finally dragged ourselves away from La Paz we headed South. La Paz has to win the prize for most under-rated South American city – nothing spectacular but a damn fine place to hang out. However we had heard good things about Sajama National Park which is in the West of Bolivia and right on the Chilean border.
It was only 150km each way detour so we decided to go for it. To our surprise the road was really good and we were flying along through a Utah-eque desert on our way West.
As you approach the park you can see the massive snowcapped volcano, Vulcan Sajama (6542m) from at least 50km away.
On arrival at the park we checked in at the ranger station and paid our entry fee before heading straight for the thermal springs – about 5k down a dirt road from the entry. The last 500m involved a water crossing and driving on a very narrow road.
We parked up in a small parking area and walked across the altiplano to the hot springs which were a natural pond with awesome views of the surrounding mountains. At over 4000m it was quite chilly so a warming soak was very welcome.
We stayed the night in the car park at the hot springs and it was our coldest night so far at -8c which led to a very sluggish start the next day.
However we headed through the small, and seemingly deserted, village of Sajama and down a track, through a river to a thermally active valley. The last 1km of the road was very narrow with a steep 25m slope on one side – making for some nerves.
The valley was lovely with at least 50 bubbling active ponds but unfortunately no erupting geysers.
After the Geysers we decided to take the long way out of the Park and round the backside of the Sajama volcano. This left us on a a really remote road where we camped for the night around 15 km from exiting the Park. In the time we were camped not one vehicle came past – not a place to breakdown.