Travel Story «Cordillera de los Frailes»
03 April 2010
South America Trip
Last Update 20 April 2010
Day 89 – 91 : trekking in Cordillera de Los Frailes
Cordillera de los Frailes runs through much of western Chuquisaca and northern Potosi departments and offers scenic trekking opportunities. As there are plenty of trekking routes and to avoid getting hopefully lost, it is best to go off with a guide. The guide can also help us in contact with the locals as their language is Quechua. We hire a guide studying tourism.
At 08.30 AM I am in the backpackers hostal, to join the group; as one of the participants comes from La Paz, we finally leave 2 hours later. With 7 we enter a normal taxi with all our luggage to join the bus outside town waiting for us to drive us to the small village Chataquila. There we are shortly getting some explanation of the stone chapel and the stone statue of the virgin. It is a historical site as the indigeneous leader Tomas Katari was killed here. From there we go off the road in Rumicruzniyuj for a walk of over 10 km to the site of Incamachay. We enjoy a wild and beautiful landscape full of geological formations and enormous rocks. The rock paintings in the site are mainly of white and red colour (a few are black and green) and represent antropomorphic, zoomorphic and geometric motives. They are approximate 2500 years old. We continue our walk to the village Chaunaca, were we sleep in our tents on the school playground.
Next morning, we leave shortly before 7 AM and have to cross a river to reach the other side of the road. The water is cold but refreshing, the problem is more the many stones which hurt my feet heavily in the crossing. We mainly have to climb up for 3 hours to reach the Maragua zone, where we will spend the night. In Maragua there is a curious geological formation of 8 square kilometers, with forms in different colours which can be spot perfectly from the Chataquila hill.
After a larger break in the village, we leave our luggage behind and go off to visit the marks of dinosaurs in the Humaca site. As it is also later in the afternoon, one of the locals serve us some food: a plate of potatoes with beans and other vegetables. Really nice! After a siesta, we go back to the village and help the locals with the preparations of the Easter celebrations. We are cleaning beans as they will prepare the same plate as we had at lunchtime. Later on we prepare our dinner, which is a pasta soup full of vegetables. We visit quickly the church where women and men (on separate sides) are singing the same verses all the time. This monotonous sound is so relaxing that I fell asleep in church. It is time to go to bed (another night with 4 persons in a tent) but not for having tasted the local drink, chicha.
At 05.30 AM, I am getting up. It is cold as we are on 3800 m altitude. We get warm by taking some hot chocolate and tea with crackers. We are heading back to the village of Chaunaca, as there is no transport of the Talula town (where we were supposed to go to, to enjoy the hot springs). After again a walk of a little 3 hours, crossing the river in the end, we are able to get transport in a big truck sharing it with more than 50 other 'campesinos' and their products to sell. An interesting experience which last 3 hours.
At lunchtime, we are back in Sucre. With two others of the group I am off to have a nice meal and then I am off to my hostal to organize my luggage again and taking the bus to my next destination, Potosi.