Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Adjusting to the Altitude

We decided to stay another night in Arica as Lisa was not feeling well. It was relaxing, catching up on paperwork and sorting out the bike. It was nice to have a swimming pool close by in the hot weather! We did some sightseeing around the main square in the evening. One building was made in France, by the man that designed the Eiffel Tower, then assembled in Arica.

We also noticed comorants sitting in the palm trees, making their homes for the night.

Comorants in the Palms

We had a short ride to Putre. Within two hours and 145 km we went from sea level to 3500 m. We left Arica and went through a river valley where all the crops are grown. There were lush crops and a small river at the valley bottom. We continued on, noticing geoglyphs on the sides of the rocky mountains.

Shortly we were climbing to the mountain top on a twisty road. We passed through an area where only the Candelabro Cactus grows! It only blooms 24 hours a year, obviously we're too soon. The annual rainfall is 6 mm, so it's amazing that anything grows!

Candelabro Cactus

Soon after, we saw vicuna grazing on small shrubs. We decided to stop in Putre to help with acclimitization before heading into Bolivia, which will be 5000 m.

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