Posted by: HelenRortvedt | 28 December 2008

Nevado Sajama

Nevado Sajama is Bolivia’s highest peak. It’s summit is a cool 6,542 meters above sea level. That’s 21,463 feet. You pretty much have to go to Asia to see peaks much higher than this.

It also happens to be the best place place I have visited in Bolivia so far. And, you all know how I love Bolivia, so I feel that is actually saying something.

We traveled by flota (large bus) and trufi (very small micro bus) to the village of Sajama, which lies in the shadow of the Chilean border in the Department of Oruro. We arrived in the drizzling rain around 5pm, but set out on foot anyways towards the hot springs where we had planned on camping that night. About an hour into our hike, the rain turned to snow. Despite it being mid-summer here in the Southern Hemisphere, it is also the rainy season, and the village of Sajama sits at 4200 meters (nearly 14,000 feet). Bottom line: it is still cold enough to snow up here this time of year.

We arrived at the hotsprings, cold and wet, just as night fell, but quickly jumped in the 90 degree water to warm up. We awoke to a midsummer winter wonderland the next morning. The snow melted by early afternoon, and the clouds lifted to reveal Sajama in all her glory. In a word: Spectacular.

We spent two days swimming in the hot springs, hiking around the base of Sajama and taking in the unique and awe-inspiring landscape. Truly, one of the world’s most special places.


Winter wonderland, complete with grazing llamas.


Relaxing in the hot springs.


Me and Sajama.


Altiplano sky.




The base of Sajama is covered by the world’s highest forest. Dwarf queñua trees only grow in the altiplano from 4300 to 5200 meters above sea level! Ryan and I found the tallest one around to pose in front of…


Sunset. Twin Chilean Volcanoes in the background.


Church in the campo. Chilean volcanoes in the background.


More of beautiful Sajama.


Hiking back to Sajama pueblo from the hot springs.


Great kids in Sajama pueblo at sunset.


Church in Sajama pueblo.


Altiplano sunset.



Sajama pueblo and peak at sunset. Glorious.



  1. I love this place. I’ve never been, but I love it. I must hire you one day to be my tour guide and explore these awesome sites for real. But for now, I feel lucky to have just seen your pictures and read your stories. Love you.

  2. Spectacular indeed! It looks like you two were blessed with fabulous weather and great energy in Sajama. I cannot wait to hear more! 🙂

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