The “crater” of Maragua is located near the city of Sucre, Bolivia. Originally interpreted as an explosion crater, it was later discovered to be a geological feature called a syncline.
I became familiar with this interesting locale as a volunteer with a trekking company during my time living in Sucre.
The first time I saw the “crater” it was as a map in the office of the trekking company. I’d come to Sucre with the goal of living there for a month, thanks to the hospitality of a close friend and his family, and, using that opportunity to volunteer. It just happened that I had friends that were visiting me from Texas and they were there at the same time as I was adjusting to living in a new city. We went in search of finding different companies that might be able to help us out by leading us on an adventure that we wanted to have while everyone was there. After spending most of the day going to more traditional style adventure companies we stumbled upon this particular place, and it was called Condor Trekkers. Immediately we saw what set this place apart was that it was a non-profit (and it had a cafe that offered the best vegetarian food in town). After deciding that it was definitely the company that we wanted to use to go on an adventure near the city, it also became clear that this was probably going to be the place that I wanted to volunteer with as well. On a whim I decided to ask the person at the bar if they needed any volunteers at that time (thinking that I probably get a chance to volunteer as a worker at the cafe) and to my surprise they actually needed help with the trekking company and that’s how my adventure with Condor Trekkers began.
In order to start out as a volunteer I was required to go on a trek as a client so that I could get familiar with the services that they provide and get to know the guides a little bit. So, my friends and I got to go together as we learned about this beautiful and interesting location. As excited as we were to go on this trip, I don’t think they really understood what it was going to be like hiking around the Bolivian backcountry. One of my friends was more prepared than the other and let’s just say that we nearly killed our other friend through his own personal death march of sorts (his words 😉 ). Overall, it was a positive experience for everyone, we learned about ourselves and this beautiful area along the way. Throughout the next month I got the opportunity to hike through this location multiple times and a lot was revealed to me not just about the geology but also about the people that were living there. I learned that this was a small quiet rural area that had families with a surprising amount of culture, creativity, and no shortage of small children with giant smiles. There is a school, and, since this little town was the biggest city for most of the farming communities around it. This school served students that, some of them, had to travel two hours a day by walking just to get to school. This really opened up my eyes to the fact that we actually have different interpretations on a lot of things in life. Not just the geological interpretations but our interpretations of life and whether or not life is difficult. For some people walking an hour or two just to get to school would be considered quite a burden. But for the kids in a small town in Bolivia it is quite normal.