Hot Days/Cold Nights, Hot Water/No Water

Puno Travel Blog

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One of the things I really have to get used to here in South America is the temperature fluctuations - for everything!  Here are some examples:

- High altitude (around 3500m, e.g. Cuzco).  It's hot during the day that I'm just wearing my polo shirt, but at night and in the morning, I am doubled up on fleece, and wearing my apalca hat and mitts.  I look pretty silly, but I'm warm.

- Most hotels don't have heating.  In fact, I haven't slept in one that has heating yet.  I'm using my sleeping bag pretty much any night I am sleeping above 3500m if there are less than 3 heavy wool blankets on the bed... or if I'm on the floor, tent, etc.

- The trek.  Very cold the first day near the pass - I slept in my -10 sleeping bag with full on fleece, but the next morning, I shed down to my polo once the sun shone on the trail.  Once I reached the pass, I was wearing a fleece again, but as we descended into the jungle, all layers came off.

- The train ride to Puno.  Hot in the morning, but at the 4300m pass and once the sun set, I was wearing all my fleece.

- Supposedly, after talking to other travels, the Salt Flats in Bolivia which I will be visiting may have -20 degree nights.  Yikes!  All I know is that from now on, when I take a bus ride in Bolivia, I'm bringing my sleeping bag onto the bus.

Hot Water/No Water:

Oh man.  I have not had a good experience here.  The only solid bath/shower I have taken is in the hot springs. 

When I arrived in my hostel at Aguas Calientes, there was no hot water as the propane tank was empty.  In Cuzco, a water shortage cuts off water until 5a.m., and hot water usually isn't turned on until 6:30 a.m., so I have not had a satisfying shower for all my early morning rises.  And of course, on the trek, no showers at all.  I was so dirty that when I arrived at the hot springs, the "lifeguard" there whistled me down to take a bath in a nearby, less important spring.  I'm in Puno right now.  The staff claims there is hot water, but my guidebook suggests lukewarm at best.  I'm going to find out the hard way tomorrow morning....

(edit: Yeah, the water was closer to cool than lukewarm.  Definitely could not shower when the air temperature around me was int the single digits)

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photo by: lrecht