Thursday, February 2, 2017

Wetlands and Machuca Village.


On our way back to San Pedro from El Tatio Geysers, we made two stops. One was at a wetlands area where we saw some wildlife.  With the recent heavy rains, the water level was high and there was plenty of vegetation for the wildlife to feed on.

I still can't get over how spectacular the scenery is here!  Most certainly makes it easy to take a beautiful picture.

A lone vicuña.

A few Andean Crested ducks (Lophonetta specularioides alticola) were wading about in the shallow water and feeding.  These birds are only found on lakes in the Andes of South America, ranging at altitudes of 2,000 - 4,300 meters (6,651 - 14,107 feet) above sea level.  They love the high elevations!


The ducks, with their red tinged eyes and bright blue beaks are very pretty.



There were also some Giant Coots sharing the waters with the ducks.

Giant coot, Fulica gigantea

Our second stop was to the small village of Machuca which if I remember correctly has a popluation of around 20 (??) people.  

Machuca has an old church on a hilltop, a row of mud houses, some souvenir stalls and a small eatery.  Today, there was also an old woman with a baby llama whom you could pose next to if you paid her a few pesos and a very popular a young man selling llama anticuchos (aka llama kabobs).  I think this place comes alive for a couple hours everyday, as tourists make their way back to San Pedro from El Tatio.  Aside from that, I imagine that given its remoteness, it's a pretty quiet place for the most part.


That was pretty much it. We had plenty of time to climb the hillside to check out the church and indulge in some skewers of llama if we wanted. 











   Small church but what more do you need for  20 people?

I was curious to see how they held down the thatched roof - metal rods and wires.  Simple but effective technique.




By the time we arrived in Machuca, Bro and I had shed at least one layer of clothing.  By the time we left Machuca, at least one more layer had come off.  By the time we reached San Pedro, which was around noon, we were down to wearing just one layer!  Again, we have the rest of the day free and again, we're just going to chill out in our room to escape the blistering heat.