Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Cochabamba and Toro Toro National Park

 Not much to say about Cochabamba. It's been awhile since I've had good, reliable internet access so I have many updates to do and when I think back to Cochabamba this is what I remember... had trouble finding a place to stay but finally stayed at Hostel Buenos Aires. It rained a lot. We ate at a 'Chinese' restaurant with a main dish called Jackie Chen Chicken (not chan..chen). Had really good pizza. Oh and had someone try to tell us he was the National Police. This guy in a taxi van pulled up next to us and said 'hello, national police' and flashed us a most definitely fake id, he obviously must have thought we were idiots like we would get into a taxi cab with some fat guy and his accomplice. We had also read that people try to do that, abduct you and get you to withdraw all your money from your ATM card and that the real national police would have a uniform on, the undercover ones do not interact with tourists. So I shook my head at the guy..might have even given him a finger wag... and walked away.
So all in all I would not go back to that place or really recommend it. Although we did have a nice old lady come up to us in the park and welcome us to Bolivia, and she didn't even beg for money! It was quite sweet.

From Cochabamba we got a tour to Toro Toro, the smallest national park in Bolivia but with a wide variety of things to see. It is also not very known or visited and as of now off the Gringo Trail. Toro Toro means mud in Quechua and it was very muddy, probably because it rained all the time..which makes sense because it is the rainy season. Joining us on our tour were two Bolivians from La Paz getting to know different parts of the country.
Things to see at Toro Toro:

Dinosaur tracks. So many dino tracks preserved in the mud! Many were eroding away though due to rain since they're just on the ground out in the open, but the guide assured me as the mud washed away more would turn up. hopefully.

Big cave. We went into a crazy cave that is the biggest in Toro Toro. The entrance was everything you would expect from a cave entrance with a rocky slope and river going into a dark hole. Unfortunately back in the 70s people went in and smashed pretty much all the stalactites and mites to bring home as requerdos which was pretty shitty of them because they take sooo long to form. I think we saw maybe 3 that weren't broken. We had to do a lot of rope climbing or sliding down, crawling on our bellies and rock scrambling. I was pretty sore the next day but it was so worth it.

Canyon. It was beautiful with a cool lookout

Rock Paintings. Don't know from who or what they mean but there are some paintings done by people many many years ago about something.

Rock Formations. There's a lot of water flowing around and it has eroded the rocks to form cool bridges and stuff.

Sea turtle graveyard. was apparently there but we couldn't see it because someone stole 4 of the turtle fossils and for each fossil stolen it was closed for a year. So it was closed for four years.

Marine Fossils. We hiked a long way up to see these guys in the high altitude air which made it extra hard. The fossils were tiny shells in the rocks and all over the ground. I wouldn't have done that hike again because it was hard and not worth the fossils it when you got there (although a great view). I took a small one and put it in my pocket but it was later stolen and eaten by a monkey at La Senda Verde.

Vehicles stuck in a river. There was a pickup truck and a big cattle truck stuck in the river that usually is crossable but there was a rainstorm causing it to rise. Many Bolivians were trying to get them out digging at the rocks under the tires or using planks of wood to lift the pickup. It was entertaining

The tour was three days two nights and we did it through Hotel El Molino. They provided transport, guides and food as well. We didn't have the best experience with them because the hotel was moated in by a river and far away from the centro so we were stuck there at night and they didn't have any beer or snacks to buy at the hotel. The TV only played DVDs but the sound on it was so crappy you couldn't understand anything. We were never even given an itinerary of what we were doing so we were always just waiting around not knowing what was happening. They tried to charge us more than they quoted and the driver who drove us back to Cochabamba was flyyyyyying down the scariest roads so close to the edge. It was the worst ride ever. At one point he drove so close to the edge trying to look at the road ahead or turn around or something we were about six inches from the front tires going over the edge and i was in the front! Horrible.

All in all toro toro was a beautiful place..hotel el molino is a not recommended way to see it.

Hotel El Molino living room

coolest plaza statue ever in Toro Toro.

dino track

going to the cave entrance


chopped off stalactites

water eroding the rocks

dinool long neck. I like how you can see the mud pushed out


sea fossils

exiting the cave

tight spaces

natural bridge formed by water eroding the rock

view from drive home

1 comment: