Our second day at Torotoro National Park started off with a beautiful ride up the mountains. It’s amazing how much altitude changes everything. As we began to ascend, the weather quickly turned from warm and sunny to cold and rainy. At one point we had to get out of the jeep so that Alex could attempt to drive through the incredibly muddy roads at the top of the mountain! A bit dangerous, but it worked out fine.
The cavernas part of Torotoro National Park was only discovered about seven years ago. Beautiful landscapes, tall arching caves, and the discovery of ancient cave paintings now draw tourists to the area.
As we came upon a set of cavernas, our guide explained that once upon a time, cattle robbers brought their stolen herds to these caves and held them in this area for some time. When some of the villagers finally discovered where their stolen cattle were being held, the robbers quickly let them out of the caves and ran away with them down the mountain. They were never recovered.
We also saw vizcachas! Mountain bunny-like animals with long whiskers, that tend to build their homes on the tops of rocks.
The landscape continued to be absolutely stunning: layers of rock and mud over time created amazing land formations in an array of colors – blue, green, red, and tan…
After a tour of the caves, our tour guide took us up a precarious little tree ladder to get a view from on top of the caves:
Afterwards, we hiked back along the tops of the rocks/caves (a difficult feat when the rains made some routes impassible) until we made our way back to the car. After a lunch of chicken sandwiches (South American sandwiches = one piece of meat and one piece of cheese between white bread) and bananas, we were off down the mountain again to check out one of the major caves in the area.
I’ve done cave tours in California before. Nothing compares to cave tours in other countries! Since it’s the rainy season in Bolivia right now, the caves’ walls and floors were filled with higher levels of water. It all made for a very “interesting” and exciting experience when we had to crawl on the ground or go down ladders into cave chambers filled with rain water!
No really though, it was very fun. A little bit crazy at times when we had to climb down wet and slippery cave walls while hanging onto ropes, but it was definitely never boring!
There’s not a lot of history to caves – most of the time guides just show you cave formations and talk about how they look like other things, like “Christmas trees” or some animals. While the caves extend for miles and miles, we went in a loop down one passage way and up another.
The hike out was another great adventure. My rock climbing skills definitely came in handy throughout the day…
An amazing view of the cave entrance with sunlight shining down greeted us at the end of our journey:
Afterwards, we went over to the main area of Torotoro where tons of dinosaur tracks have been recorded:
All in all, a pretty great day 🙂