A volcano and three salt flats
The Licancabur is a volcano with a curious characteristic: one of its sides belongs to Bolivia and the other to Chile. In this way, its perfect peak dominates two of the most beautiful landscapes of South America: Sur Lipez and the Atacama Desert.
The history divided into two this small portion of land.
Not far from there, in straight line, the Argentinean Puna offers an absolutely magnificent view.
Once upon a time, there was a desert region in which nobody was interested, not even the Spanish conquerors. So they traced the borders carelessly between Perú, Chile and the present-day Bolivia. But one day, at the end of the 19th century, the saltpeter (niter) was discovered and so they started to fight for that arid portion of land.
This war has a nice name, "War of the Pacific" or "Saltpeter War", but that was not enough to make it nice in the eyes of the Peruvians or Bolivians who left some feathers there: Tarapaca and the coastal region became part of Chile, thus Bolivia lost every possible access to the sea.
So one morning of 1881, the volcano Licancabur and its neighbour, the volcano Ollagüe, woke up with one foot in Bolivia and the other in Chile. The Atacama Desert became part of Chile and the Sur Lipez of Bolivia.
Nowadays, the region remains desert, wild and hard-to-reach, which, in fact, is a myth to the tourists. The on-going development of the region was reflected in the two neighbouring cities: Uyuni in Bolivia and San Pedro de Atacama in Chile. Located at 3,600mts high, Uyuni is by far the most austere. A stiffening glacial cold and strong winds that sweep away the dusty streets…a far-west atmosphere. All this comes as a preparation for the Sur Lipez, that is higher and where is possible to find a lot of small hotels with a bad heating and open to the air currents...
Patagonia in all seasons menu. For example, according to the climate, from Bariloche, in Patagonia Argentina, it is possible to go to Puerto Montt, in Chile, crossing successively three lakes by boat, as did the Jesuits and the first German settlers. I offer a tour that leads to the Pacific Ocean. It is quite long, but the beauty of the sites - forests, volcanoes and crystalline lakes - is such that it is worth to be carried. The Argentine side, cross the west arm of Nahuel Huapi and Lake Puerto Alegre and, the chilen side, Lake Todos los Santos. Moving from one lake to another by bus. This tour is feasible in all seasons, but in winter, it takes two days to reach Puerto Montt, stopping for one night at Peulla. We returned to Bariloche by air or by the same way, after a night in Puerto Montt. Borispatagonia is also responsible for visas to go to Chile and to book hotels. In Patagonia, winter and summer are tourist seasons. In summer, besides explore the surrounding, many activities are available: climbing, torrent fishing, sailing, horseback riding, hiking, rides, visits to Aciendas... In winter, the main activity is, of course, skiing, especially in July and August on the side of the Andes, but not only: snowshoe hikes, thematic tours, many walks to admire the beauty of Patagonia Argentina and Chile in this season, due a unique light, the warmth of the people of Patagonia... Just to talk about, I get goose bumps!