After a hat-trick of special sights (Gorilla Mountain, Active Volcano and Train Track) on the second morning of the tour, our jeep took us down to the spectacular Laguna Canapa.
And I mean spectacular. Situated at a high altitude, this lake is tinted slightly naturally green, good then that the photos don’t show that, and only those of us who were there could see the green tint. And fitting then, that I wore my green wooly Bolivian style hat (bought in La Paz) and my Northern Ireland football shirt (posted to me from Bangor, when I lived in Australia).
The six of us on the trip feasted our eyes on the lake. First realizing that the lake itself was gorgeous and special.
Then our attention turned to the hundreds of flamingoes bathing in the water. An estimate says between 300 and 400 are living here.
I had seen flamingoes once before . In 1996 during a family trip to Florida – one of the theme parks had a number of flamingoes housed in a cage, in somewhat false surrounding of Japanese tourists and disappearing apples.
But now here in Bolivia, and almost twice as old I saw real flamingoes in their real environment. Naturally getting on with their lives as nature intended.
A few close up shots of the flamingoes. Beautiful pink and white creatures with bright yellow beaks.
Time then for another of the crazy photos with the lads. Myself, Benoit, Guillaume and making his debut Thomas again bared our bums for the freedom of the world, here at Laguna Canapa.
Doing “the flamingo” by standing on one leg. Laughed at by Jorg who didn’t join in the nudity and photographed by the ever on hand Alina. Natural wildlife is one of the most beautiful things on the planet. And I’ve been lucky to see penguins in Antarctica, koalas in Australia and monkeys in Malaysia. Here though, in Bolivia there was an abundance of wildlife.
Firstly, said flamingoes. How they manage to balance so gracefully on one long thin leg is beyond me. Pink flamingoes. Worth the trip alone.
Then there were vicunas, a seeming mix between a camel and a llama (at least in my opinion). A vicuna although being the national animal of Peru, is also very common in Bolivia and Chile. To understand what a vicuna is, I’ve taken this rough explanation from Wikipedia: The vicuña (Vicugna vicugna) or vicugna is one of two wild South American camelids, along with the guanaco, which live in the high alpine areas of the Andes. It is a relative of the llama, and is now believed to share a wild ancestor with domesticated alpacas, which are raised for their fibre. Vicuñas produce small amounts of extremely fine wool, which is very expensive because the animal can only be shorn every 3 years and has to be caught from the wild. When knitted together, the product of the vicuña’s fur is very soft and warm. It is understood that the Inca valued vicuñas highly for their wool, and that it was against the law for any but royalty to wear vicuña garments.
Both under the rule of the Inca and today, vicuñas have been protected by law. Before being declared endangered in 1974, only about 6,000 animals were left. Today, the vicuña population has recovered to about 350,000, and while conservation organizations have reduced its level of threat, they still call for active conservation programs to protect population levels from poaching, habitat loss, and other threats.
The vicuña is the national animal of Peru; its emblem is used on the Peruvian coat of arms representing the animal kingdom.
After the amazing Laguna Canapa, we drove to another incredible lake. This was our lunchtime stop for the day. It also had some flamingoes and an eco lodge (yes you can stay overnight here!). The name of this lake was Laguna Hedionda.
Me by the sign for Lake Hedionda.
I remember remarking to Thomas and Jorg that I found it amazing that there was a hotel this high up and this deserted at our lunchtime spot. They didn’t seem impressed, and said they found the scenery itself more amazing. We talked about it and discussed, but my main point was that if you wanted to stay in a hotel with a shower, decent grub and a beer here you could! I just didn’t expect the hotel to be where it was. It was an Eco Friendly location too.
Lunch. Coke and water to drink. Barbecued bananas, chicken, pasta and vegetables. The lunches I had in Peru, Uruguay and Bolivia were totally outstanding.
Number of Flamingoes – Between 300 and 400
VICUNAS AT LAGUNA CANAPA:
FLAMINGOES AT LAGUNA CANAPA: