Around landscape full of colorful rocks
Except for Uyuni and San Pedro in Chile is Tupiza the third main starting point of „Salar tours“ to the enchanting southwestern Bolivian Altiplano. During this first stage, you will enjoy not only the views of the beautiful rock formations Sillar in the valley Palala, but also distant views of Cordillera de la Lipez and the first four thousand meters high pass.
Disinfection of jeeps
At the north end of town is a small military check-post where you will have to leave the vehicle for a while and the soldiers will „disinfect“ the wheels of your jeep. It is of course nonsense, but there is a fee is collected for it.
The entrance to quebrada Palala
Three roads lead to the north – to Potosi, Uyuni and our road leading to San Vicente.
Our dusty road turns west after a while and passes through the valley, which was formed by river Palala in the red rock ridge. Around us are beautiful eroded rock towers.
The beginning of quebrada Palala
River Palala significantly changes its flow according to the season and its bed full of small pebbles is pretty wide here. Local scrub vegetation is favourite with numerous herds of livestock, mainly goats. Most famous local rock formations, however, are a few kilometers away.
You can see on some mountain massifs that the erosion of rock towers just begins.
Driving to the outlook
The road separates from the riverbed in a moment and begins to rise in twists along the side ridge up to the barren hills. There are many cacti sticking out of shrubby vegetation along the way.
The road to Altiplano
The road finally rises to the first pass (3 720 m asl), from where there are amazing views of the fairy-tale forest of colorful rock towers El Sillar. Here is usually the first official stop for a photo shoot. If you ascend about 30 vertical meters up the path to the hill above the pass, a beautiful view back to the way you went through opens: on the left there is a wide valley of quebrada Palala and right before you colored ridges embracing Tupiza from all sides.
You will see lots of cacti all around – some of them grow here up to 2–3 meters.
El Sillar - Bolivian Bryce Canyon
The most beautiful view is straight down to the colorful towers of El Sillar reminiscent of more well-known american Bryce Canyon. Walking trip from Tupiza between these towers belong among the most memorable experiences /however, unlike Bryce Canyon, you will not meet a single tourist here/.
Valley of the rock towers
The whole area ofvalley of Palca is relatively large, so it is beyond human capability to walk everywhere in just one day.
Up to Altiplano
The road rises from here in a few twists in the slopes of barren hill towards Altiplano.
Looking back, it is almost breathtaking to see so extremely eroded slope, along which this road leads. You can also see the first outlook pass and small hill over it.
After a while, the last remnants of the „Wild West“ landscape around Tupiza disappears and the jeep is still rising in barren slopes to the summit of this ridge separating these two worlds.
The road peaks at (4 365 m asl) and then falls deep back to the river. There are barren ridges as far as you can see.
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