Between extremes – jungle, glaciers and deserts
Volunteering with Intiwawa not only gives you the opportunity to get to know the Peruvian culture but also other southamerican countries either before, after or even during your stay in Arequipa. Having traveled through this wonderful continent for several months, I tried to sum up the most breathtaking places for you. Due to Latinamerica’s diversity and mixture between vivid megacities, stunning landscapes and interesting historical landmarks, I separated our highlights into different topics.
8. Titicaca Lake
Titicaca Lake is the world’s highest navigable lake and can be found at the boarder between Bolivia and Peru. It contains several ancient islands, some of them are called floating island as they are simply made out of reed. Hopefully, you’re lucky enough to discover the lake’s real beauty: in the sunlight the water turns into a deep blue colour and if the sight is good enough you will see the Andes in the background, wow!
7. Vulcano Villarrica
This volcano stands for every volcano in Southamerica. In ancient beliefs volcanoes were seen as warriors while mountains represented beautiful women. Visiting this continent you should definitely climb one of these warriors, as they shape the majority of the picture of the Andes. I chose this active volcano in Chile, and even though it was one of the most exhausting things I had ever done in my life, it was completely worth it. The view inside the crater is absolutely stunning and maybe you’ll even be able to catch some magma.
6. Geyser Sol de Manana
I visited this geyser on our Jeeptour in Bolivia. It is over 5000m high, but that isn’t the only thing that will take your breath away. Other than most of the geysers this one doesn’t spit water, but mud. The sound, the smell and also seeing pieces of silt jumping out of the small craters are really disgusting at first. But for some reason you’ll discover a special beauty in that place looking at its strong colours, some are blue or green, one of them is even bright red
5. Salar de Uyuni
I don’t know a single travelguide that would leave out this salt flat when talking about Southamerica, deservedly so. You really don’t know what to say driving for hours straight and all you see is salt. You won’t even meet a single tourist, the expanse of this place is simply impressive. Don’t miss out on the sunrise on the Isla Incahuasi, where you’ll sit between hundreds of beautiful cactuses!
4. Iguazu Falls
Same with this highlight. Although it is pretty touristy you shouldn’t think about leaving it out. This waterfall system, that is shared between Brazil and Argentina, is the biggest in the world, as it contains around 280 single waterfalls. Being located in the rainforest you’ll also be able to spot some exotic animals and plants. This visit is an unique experience, as you’ll get wet, can barely talk because of the noise and see the masses of water running down the edges on which you are standing
3. Perito Moreno glacier
This glacier in Patagonia, southern Argentina, is one of the view glaciers left on earth that are still growing. By walking on different paths you can either get really close to this icy monster or get an overview of the whole scenery. You can also just find yourself a spot and observe the glacier, I promise, it won’t get boring. Due to its calving, big pieces of ice break and fall into the water making incredible noise, you will have the impression that it is a living creature.
2. Atacama desert
The Atacama desert in the north of hile is the world’s driest desert, here you would need one year to fill a small cup of water with rain. Knowing this you’ll expect a Sahara-like desert only made out of sand, but it is so much more diverse. You can find volcanoes, lagoons, geysers, valleys of rocks and last but not least the clearest night sky in the world. Don’t miss out on an astronomic tour, especially when you’re from the northern hemisphere, you’ll discover stars and galaxies that you cannot see at home.
1. Torres del Paine
At the other end of Chile you can find this impressive Nationalpark, that I still can’t believe it’s true. It’s famous for its three remarkable mountain peeks, the ‘Torres’, but even though they aren’t always visible, this park has so much more to offer. There are four different micro climates and due to the strong wind, the weather changes crazily rapidly. Honestly, I’ve never experienced a wind like this: Busses started shaking and sometimes you couldn’t even stand straight anymore. Next to the glaciers and the cute guanacos, they belong to the family of the llamas, that can be found everywhere, the most stunning thing for me were the lakes. Made out of water from the glaciers, every lake has their own tone of colour, but all of them are so bright and almost artificial blue, that you’d believe you’re part of a picture in a travel magazine that writes about some paradise oceans. A must-see in Southamerica!