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October 2012
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Sajama and the “Geysers” – Sajama National Park, part 2

Nuestra Señora de la Natividad, in Sajama

(See Getting to Sajama National Park, part 1 of this series, for the route to the park and sites along the way.)

The Bell Tower of Nuestra Señora de la Natividad, with Tata Sajama in the background

The sight to see in Sajama town is the chapel.  The Chapel of Nuestra Señora de la Natividad, or Our Lady of the Nativity is visible from anywhere in town, though it is actually on the west edge of the metropolis.  It’s a beautiful chapel in the style of the Sajama region, with a straw roof, stone construction and a separate bell tower.  The straw roof of the chapel had been replaced with industrial tiles, which not only changed the appearance, but were damaging the structure of the building, before the building was repaired, and the straw roof restored, with financing by the U.S. Government in 2010.

The “Geysers”

A Perpetual Spouter

The “Geysers of Sajama” are certainly one of the most beautiful and interesting attractions in Sajama National Park, even if they are not actually “geysers” at all.  In actuality, the “geysers” are made up of some 120 pools of hot water bubbling up from the

A Bubbling Pool

magma deep under the earth’s surface.  Some of the springs are what are called perpetual spouters, which launch water a few inches in a more or less constant jet (as opposed to true geysers which are periodic in nature).  The Aymara names are actually more accurate than the Spanish.  Wallaqiyiri and Junt’uma are both names given to the place.  “Wallaqiyiri” means “maker of boiling water.”  “Junt’uma” means just “hot water.”  In one pamphlet I saw, they got everything in just in case, calling the place “Wallakeris (Geiseres) de Juntuma.”  Whatever you call them, they are quite beautiful.

Another Cute Perpetual Spouter

Unlike in Yellowstone National Park, in the U.S., for example, here you are completely free to walk among the pools of boiling water, sometimes on what looks like it could be a thin crust of earth.  It’s fun to have that freedom, but of course, it is also a real risk.  Keep your kids under control!

Tiny Chapel

Tiny Chapel with “the Payachata Twins” Parinacota and Pomerape, in the Background

To get to the Wallaqiyiri, you pass the Sajama Chapel on the right side and just continue out of town toward the west.  About two miles out of town, on the right side of the road, you will see a small village with an even tinier chapel.  I don’t know the name of the village or chapel, but it is certainly cute.  You come to the Wallaqiyiri at about 4.5 miles from town.

Though you hardly need a map to get to this site, here’s a .gdb file you can use with your GPS or in Google Earth to get a better idea of the route.

The next post on the Sajama National Park is Termas Manasaya, Sajama pt. 3.

You will find more photos of this area on my photography site.


Pingback from Larry Memmott's Blog » Getting to Sajama National Park
Time November 17, 2012 at 9:36 pm

[…] The next installment in the series is Sajama and the “Geysers” – Sajama National Park, part 2. […]

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