A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about animals

The End of the World

Close Encounters of the Penguins Kind...


View Around The World on manolo84's travel map.

punta_arenas_ushuaia.jpg

That's it, the journey in South America was almost over when I finally reached Ushuaia, dubbed the End of the World city, in Argentina. After travelling thousands of kilometres from Mexico, I had finally set foot on the most southern city in the world, the closest from Antarctica. I could have carried on a little bit as there is also this village called Puerto Williams, in the Chilean part, at only a 15 minutes boat ride from Ushuaia, but technically this is only a village hosting no more than 2500 inhabitants and besides that this 15 minutes boat ride costs 125$, one-way! So let's say Ushuaia is the most southern point in America. :)

The first impression when you arrive in Ushuaia is that this town seems to only benefit from tourism. There are tons of souvenirs shops, hostels, restaurants but always at a higher price than the rest of Argentina. Everything here is dedicated to "El Fin del Mundo" and after a while your wallet starts to feel it...

I have made it!

I have made it!


Mexico, 8771 km... 6 months ago...

Mexico, 8771 km... 6 months ago...


large_Ushuaia__2_.jpg
Ushuaia by night

Ushuaia by night

Unfortunately when we were there the weather wasn't at its best and it prevented us to visit and hike in the national park Tierra del Fuego which is supposed to offer some very nice views. However I managed to realised one of my childhood's dream, to see penguins in their real habitat! There are lots of marine wildlife around Ushuaia and it is common to spot whales, dolphins, seals, orcas, penguins, it just depends of the time of the year as most of these species are only passing by to migrate between different oceans.

But one common attraction here is as I said, to visit one of the several penguin colonies around Ushuaia. Magellanic and Gentoo penguins can be seen almost all year round, with the odd King penguin making an appearance as well. But to see Emperor penguins, one would have to hop on onto one of the cruise boats to Antarctica and spend around 15 days navigating the glacial waters, for a "small" cost of minimum 3000 US$... I guess this must also be the experience of a lifetime but that is not really an option when travelling on a budget... Well whatever, it will be for a next trip!

Ships waiting to set off for Antarctica

Ships waiting to set off for Antarctica

And after a few days spent in Ushuaia, I felt that it was now time to go back up to Chile as my flight to New Zealand was only a week away. I would then hop off on a bus, through snow and strong winds in direction of Punta Arenas (Chile), only to find out that all the ferries which make the crossing in the Magellan Strait were not running because of the strong winds blowing off that day. Fortunately after a 6 hours wait, the wind decreased and we could finish our journey to Punta Arenas.

Magellanic penguins

Magellanic penguins


large_Penguins__91_.jpg
More rare though, the Gentoo penguin

More rare though, the Gentoo penguin


And even more uncommon, the King penguin, it was the only one we could spot that day. It felt like that lovely penguin had taken the wrong turn and was like: "WTF am I doing here!

And even more uncommon, the King penguin, it was the only one we could spot that day. It felt like that lovely penguin had taken the wrong turn and was like: "WTF am I doing here!


The King penguin keeping an eye on the Gentoos brooding their chicks

The King penguin keeping an eye on the Gentoos brooding their chicks


large_Penguins__46_.jpg
large_Penguins__62_.jpg
Be careful...

Be careful...


Penguin attack! <img class='img' src='https://tp.daa.ms/img/emoticons/icon_smile.gif' width='15' height='15' alt=':)' title='' />

Penguin attack! :)


Trying to communicate with the penguins... Not that easy!

Trying to communicate with the penguins... Not that easy!


large_Penguins__88_.jpg
Tree shaped by the wind on the J Road

Tree shaped by the wind on the J Road


Lots of snow on the way back, not even sure how the bus managed to go through

Lots of snow on the way back, not even sure how the bus managed to go through

Posted by manolo84 15:17 Archived in Argentina Tagged animals cities english Comments (0)

Salar de Uyuni


View Around The World on manolo84's travel map.

Uyuni_map.jpg

Following Potosí, I decided to head off straight away for the south again, skipping cities such as Sucre or Santa Cruz (once again, this will be for another journey...) and ended up in Uyuni, which only purpose or so it seems is to serve as a springboard for tourists who want to explore the legendary salt flat Salar de Uyuni and the amazing landscapes the desert nearby has to offer.

Salar de Uyuni is the world's largest salt flat with 10,582 square kilometres and at an elevation of 3,656 meters. The Salar was apparently formed as a result of transformations between several prehistoric lakes and is covered by a few meters of salt crust. The best way to visit it is to book a 4WD tour for 3 days and to end up in Chile, in San Pedro de Atacama, after having crossed another national park full of coloured lakes, flamingos, alcapas, volcanoes, geysers, etc... I am not going to talk about it for ages but instead will let you admire the different pictures I took during these 3 days. A truly amazing tour...

As we were leaving Uyuni, a small sand tornado appeared...

As we were leaving Uyuni, a small sand tornado appeared...


A graveyard of trains near Uyuni

A graveyard of trains near Uyuni


Actually the next edition of the Dakar is planned to come here too

Actually the next edition of the Dakar is planned to come here too


large_Salar_de_Uyuni__46_.jpg
Our vehicle for the next 3 days

Our vehicle for the next 3 days


The salt crust can be seen clearly

The salt crust can be seen clearly


The Salar allows for funny pictures... <img class='img' src='https://tp.daa.ms/img/emoticons/icon_smile.gif' width='15' height='15' alt=':)' title='' />

The Salar allows for funny pictures... :)


large_Salar_de_Uyuni__59_.jpg
large_Salar_de_Uyuni__61_.jpg
large_Salar_de_Uyuni__89_.jpg
large_Salar_de_Uyuni__112_.jpg
Picture taken from the Incahuasi island in the middle of the desert

Picture taken from the Incahuasi island in the middle of the desert


large_Salar_de_Uyuni__145_.jpg
So flat...

So flat...


Sunset on the Salar

Sunset on the Salar


large_Salar_de_Uyuni__173_.jpg
large_Salar_de_Uyuni__174_.jpg
Funny thing, the hostel were we would sleep was entirely made in salt, from the floor to the walls, beds, tables, etc...

Funny thing, the hostel were we would sleep was entirely made in salt, from the floor to the walls, beds, tables, etc...


Leaving the desert, we would arrive in the National Park Eduardo Avaroa

Leaving the desert, we would arrive in the National Park Eduardo Avaroa


Flamingos

Flamingos


El increible árbol de piedra (the stone tree), a volcanic rock formation shaped by the strong winds

El increible árbol de piedra (the stone tree), a volcanic rock formation shaped by the strong winds


Coloured lake, with flamingos, the colours are amazing

Coloured lake, with flamingos, the colours are amazing


Mummy and baby alpacas

Mummy and baby alpacas


Who's tickling me??? <img class='img' src='https://tp.daa.ms/img/emoticons/icon_wink.gif' width='15' height='15' alt=';)' title='' />

Who's tickling me??? ;)


The desert by night

The desert by night


Geysers at almost 5000 meters high

Geysers at almost 5000 meters high


large_Salar_de_Uyuni__313_.jpg
large_Salar_de_Uyuni__331_.jpg
And we would arrive around 7am at a lake with thermal waters...

And we would arrive around 7am at a lake with thermal waters...


Where there was a small swimming pool! Temperature outside: <dfn title='32°F'>0 °C</dfn>; Temperature inside: <dfn title='95°F'>35 °C</dfn>!!

Where there was a small swimming pool! Temperature outside: 0 °C; Temperature inside: 35 °C!!


large_Salar_de_Uyuni__345_.jpg
large_Salar_de_Uyuni__356_.jpg
On the left, the road to Argentina, on the right, to Chile

On the left, the road to Argentina, on the right, to Chile


Our fantastic Brazilian/French group!

Our fantastic Brazilian/French group!

Posted by manolo84 09:43 Archived in Bolivia Tagged animals desert volcanoes english salt Comments (0)

(Entries 1 - 2 of 2) Page [1]