ÂŠ natalie robinson
Notes -on a journey in the Central Andes
This is a summary of a series of photo books made after a journey in the Central Andes in September and October 2015. It was the end of the dry season when the sun is strong during the day but at night, temperatures drop dramatically -to well below freezing- particularily in the south of Bolivia. The route was through Peru, Bolivia and Chile: Lima to Paracas and back; Lima to Cusco, the Sacred Valley and Macchu Picchu; Cusco to Puno along the Ruta del Sol; Puno to Copacabana, Isla del Sol and then to La Paz; La Paz to Uyuni and then to San Pedro de Atacama and finally Santiago de Chile. Thanks to my fellow travellers -Pablo & Linda; to Carrie -Andean Flamingo leader [Journey Latin America]; our guides and drivers throughout the journey. All images were made using Olympus PEN EP5 and OMD EM1 camera bodies with 10.5, 25, 45 and 75-300mm m4/3 lenses
flying over the Nazca Lines
Spreading across an area of 500 sq km, the Lines consist of more than 800 straight lines, 300 geoglyphs [geometric figures] and 70 animal and plant drawings [biomorphs]. The lines were made by moving the dark sun-baked stones from the surface of the desert and piling them either side of a line thus exposing the lighter powdery gypsum-laden soil below. Thought to have been created over the 1000 years since 400BC, the Lines remained largely undisturbed until â€˜discoveredâ€™ from the air 75 years ago.
Dates: 21, 22 and 23 September Accommodation: Lima; Paracas Local Travel: public bus; airplane; motor launch; private bus Nearby: Pisco; Islas Ballestas; Paracas reserve
An awe-inspiring example of Inca planning, architecture and construction. Situated in super-humid cloud forest and surrounded by dense vegetation, the city is strategically placed on a ridge among high peaks and is oriented to the sunâ€™s trajectory through a sacred landscape. Rediscovered in 1911 and subsequently recovered from the forest, the city is a world heritage site and a magnet for tourists.
Dates: 27 and 28 September Accommodation: Machu Picchu town Local Travel: public bus Nearby: Sacred Valley [Pisac, Ollantaytambo]; Cusco [Sacsayhuamen, Kenko, Korikanka]
day to day
A mixture of 2 cultures, Inca-Spaniah and Aymara-Quechua, the people maintain their ancestral customs and ways in their everyday lives against a background of extreme landscapes, ancient cities and the turbulence of modern civilisation.
Dates: 24, 25, 26, 27, 28 and 29 September Accommodation: Lima, Cusco, Ollantaytambo, Machu Picchu Town Local Travel: airplane; train; private bus Nearby: Andahuaylillas; Raqchi; La Raya
The highest navigable lake in the world, this large inland sea has different moods -from clear skies over a sapphire blue lake to rain-filled clouds lowering over grey waves. A sudden squall prevented a planned visit to Uros-Iruitos floating reed islands but the ridge above Yumani [southern Isla del Sol] provided an unrivalled location for viewing the sunset. Dates: 31 September and 01 October Accommodation: Puno; Yumani Local Travel: private bus; hydrofoil; foot Nearby: Copacabana, Isla del Sol
isla del sol
Accessed by boat from Copacabana, the island terrain is harsh and there are no paved roads. The main economic activity of the families who live here is farming, with fishing and tourism augmenting the subsistence economy. The steep and rocky terrain is adapted for agriculture by terracing and there are many ruins -most dated to the Inca period. In Inca mythology this was the birthplace of the sun god and there is evidence of much older structures.
Dates: 01 and 02 October Accommodation: Yumani Local Travel: foot; hydrofoil; private bus Nearby: Copacabana; Isla de la Luna
The dry climate at this altitude helps preserve remnants of the various stages of development of this harsh plateau. Such remains include: the stones of Tiwanaku; ancestor burials in the rocky landscape around the Salar de Uyuni; the graveyard of steam trains near Colchani.
Dates: 04, 05 and 06 October Accommodation: La Paz; Tahua; San Pedro de Quemez Local Travel: private bus; 4WD
day to day
Life in La Paz, Uyuni and beyond.
Dates: 02, 03 and 04 October Accommodation: La Paz Local Travel: private bus; airplane Nearby: El Alto; Tiwanaku
salar de uyuni
The Salar formed as a result of the evaporation of several prehistoric lakes and is covered by a few metres of salt crust above a pool of brine. In the dry season, the Salar is blindingly white and the sky a deeply saturated blue. Desaturating the sky and increasing the contrast in post-processing the images has helped emphasis the shape and form of the landscape.
Dates: 05 and 06 October Accommodation: Tahua; St Pedro de Quemez Local Travel: 4WD Nearby: Cueva de Galaxias; Incahuasi; San Juan
In the high altitude, barren Silohi desert [4,553m], the tracks record the four wheel drive journeys made by local drivers and guides who take visitors through this remote, harsh and extreme landscape.
Dates: 07 October Accommodation: Ojo de Perdiz Local Travel: 4WD Nearby: Arbol de Piedra; Rocas de Dali
Further south, after crossing the high altitude desert, is a landscape of volcanoes, lagoons and flocks of flamingos in the Reserva Nacional de Fauna Andina Eduardo Avaroa. The lagoons are often named to reflect their colouring -by mineral deposits: Blanca; Colorado; Verde. Several -including Hediondia and Colorado- are breeding sites for the rare puna flamingo [Phoenicoparrrus james].
Dates: 08 October Local Travel: 4WD Nearby: Fumaroles de Sol de Manana; Termas de Polques; Volcan Licancabur
valle de la luna
Devasted by floods earlier in the year, the salt bloomed from the sand/clay surfaces of this strange lunar landscape in the Corderilla de Sal in the Atacama desert. I was struck by the difference in the landscape and the skies compared to an earlier visit in 2013.
Dates: 09 October Accommodation: San Pedro de Atacama Local Travel: private bus