From Sucre (click to read about my time in the city), it is possible to venture out of the city to visit breathtaking mountainscapes. I debated between hiking to see dinosaur footprints, or rock paintings. I opted for the rock-painting hike, but I would have done both if I had more time.
I had a fantastic time this day. The hike was approximately 6 hours. I was quite nervous to trek in the high altitude. I had just recently left Uyuni, and getting to lower ground felt amazing. I was concerned that it would be too hard on my chest to do this hike. But I wanted to try, and it turns out I was completely fine. I felt much better in those 6 hours than I did during the mere 15-minute hike in Uyuni.
I chose this particular hike because the cave and rock paintings would be like nothing else that I have seen thus far. First we headed towards the cave of Pumamachay, and about a 30 minute walk past the cave is the rock shelter of Incamachay. It is estimated that the indigenous cultures created the original paintings between 1500 and 2500 years ago. The prehistoric rock paintings of Incamachay are accompanied by even older faded hieroglyphics in the carved into rocks, and also more recent paintings were added in a blue-green color by Spanish colonists when they performed “exorcisms” against the presumable evil of the original paintings.
Aside from the historical fascination of these two sites, the hike was well worth the effort if only for the incredible views. Along the way we saw small huts with straw roofing that are used even today by traveling merchants for a place to sleep along their journey.
And of course, everything is made all the more special when you have an incredible group of people to share your experience with. I met a fantastic group of French-Canadians on this hike that I spent much of the rest of my time in Sucre with. I now have several new friends to visit in Montreal when I return to life.