Bolivia

Discussion in 'Latin America' started by BvilleBud, Aug 14, 2018.

  1. Innovator525

    Innovator525 Adventurer

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    Great, thanks for that. I am strongly considering returning next year to pick up the places i missed and was looking for an outfitter. Thanks again.

    Your photos look great !
    #61
  2. BvilleBud

    BvilleBud Been here awhile Supporter

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    The third time through the falls. We came through and had to do a video so I dropped off my love and went back.
    #62
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  3. BvilleBud

    BvilleBud Been here awhile Supporter

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    Last video
    #63
  4. BvilleBud

    BvilleBud Been here awhile Supporter

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    I tried three places, one did not call me back, another had “issues” with what day and time and Roberto got right back and was very professional.
    #64
  5. BvilleBud

    BvilleBud Been here awhile Supporter

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    Please forgive my horrible video editing skills. I'll work on these and update them.

    From La Paz to Coroico


    El Camino de la Muerte - The Death Road


    A ride through La Paz
    #65
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  6. kantuckid

    kantuckid Long timer

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    I just looked- they have a decent website and looks to be a great fly & ride company & country but there is no information as to which tours are open for 2019 nor if self tours are possible and no lodging info either? They could benefit from looking at a number of other MC tour companies websites.
    #66
  7. Innovator525

    Innovator525 Adventurer

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    Having just finished a tour with that outfitter i looked also as that does not sound right, I believe you are looking at the 2018 schedule.
    #67
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  8. kantuckid

    kantuckid Long timer

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    Thanks, your correct!
    I edited my post, thus my quotation within your post is wrong!
    It would still be nice to have more info on there about tour locales, lodging, self touring possibilities and 2019.
    #68
  9. Innovator525

    Innovator525 Adventurer

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    I do not believe self guided tours are a part of his program and as far as the website , , , , first impressions ( and websites ) can be very misleading. Have you looked into other tour operators there ? Sounds like Bvillebud has found one.

    Bvillebud, have you made it home yet ?
    #69
  10. BvilleBud

    BvilleBud Been here awhile Supporter

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    I am home! The guy I used - Roberto (link above) had tours and simple bike rentals also. For the nominal charge, you might want to look into a guide depending on the time etc.

    Give a call, he has a German guy Gustavo working for him who's English is perfect. PM me for any additional information.
    #70
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  11. BvilleBud

    BvilleBud Been here awhile Supporter

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    I thought I'd provide some additional lessons learned for anyone considering traveling to Bolivia to vacation or to ride. It is a wonderful place!! I can't wait to return next year. Something to consider is that Bolivia is not your "usual" adventure vacation destination. It is a world unto itself, crazy government, very diverse conditions, climate and geography; infrastructure is in flux at all times. If you are prepared to relax and take one day at a time, not being worried if your plans and timelines are completely shot, Bolivia may be for you, but if you have to be from point A to point B in an exact time-frame you may want to thing long and hard about the trip. Bolivia is not "steak and potatoes" place, it is Anticuchos and Mocochinchi. If you are willing to not only accept, but to embrace and enjoy the chaos you will love this beautiful country. Now on with my list....
    #71
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  12. BvilleBud

    BvilleBud Been here awhile Supporter

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    Things you will need:
    US Passport

    Bolivia Visa - you can get this prior or at the airport, if I had to do it over again I'd do it prior
    http://boliviala.org/us-citizen-visa-requirements/
    the requirements are:
    - Sworn statement - check
    - valid passport - check
    - picture for visa - done at the airport
    - Hotel reservation’s copy, or invitation letter from relatives or friends including the city/address and staying period - I didn't have this when I arrived so I scribbled my mother in law's address on a blank sheet of paper, done!
    Flight ticket or the tour itinerary - showed my ticket stub, done
    The last Checking, Savings or Credit Card Statement - they didn't ask for this
    and of course $160 - the guy wanted cash; I wonder if Evo got his share??

    State Department info on Bolivia - it is worth a look, but don't stress it
    https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Bolivia.html

    Yellow Fever shot - I had to pay $260 to get this in the US. You can get it at the airport. It is not "required" but a great idea

    Brush up on your Spanish - a little effort will return great results and the people will love you for your attempt. DON'T expect anyone to know English.

    Gear -bike gear, clothing etc. - More later but no brainer

    Banks - notify them of the trip so they don't kill your card

    Cash! - a card worked in maybe 10% of the places I went, so take hard cold cash

    Cell Service - get a global plan before you travel

    Health Insurance - make sure you carrier covers you, or find another resource

    Knowledge of the culture - Again a little time and effort go soooooo far. Many people were amazed at what I knew of their country; Camba v. Koya, how the N. Yungus road was constructed, the foods, the types of traditional dances (and the fact that I could dance them poorly), and knowledge of the cities or regions that they lived in. People quickly figured out that I cared about Bolivia and I cared about them. Suddenly I had friends, not just strangers on the street.
    #72
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  13. BvilleBud

    BvilleBud Been here awhile Supporter

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    On to Food!! Feel free to add to this list.

    I'll break this down further, by foods in each region later, but for now:
    A few basic things you may not be familiar with:
    Yuca Sstarchy root potato "ish" things, very good
    Chuño Dried Potatoes
    Choclo / Mote Pelado Large Kernal Corn

    The dishes:
    Salteñas Delicious Meat Pies (usually carne or pollo)
    Antichuchos Carne on a stick cooked over a grill (usually heart meat), these are freakishly AWESOME
    Chicharrón Fried pork ribs, usually served with Corn and Potato
    Pique Macho A large plate of hot dogs, beef, fries, hard boiled egg, onions & peppers - a staple and very good
    Silpancho Beef rice potatoes,
    Charque Dried salty crispy beef, sooo delicious
    Sopa de maní Peanut soup, delicious
    Fricasé de Pollo Chicken soup with vegetables
    Llajwa Hot sauce made from tomato locoto and Quirquiña, why this isn't a thing in America is beyond me
    Salchipapa Hot dogs and fries
    Pacay fruit Looks like huge green bean, tasty white fruit inside the husk (don’t eat the seeds)
    Chirimoya fruit Paw Paw fruit. Eat the delicious white meat inside, don’t eat the seeds - super tasty
    Fruto ambaiba A green fruit that kind of looks like long dead fingers. I had some in San Javier and it was very good
    Mocochinchi Peach tea made with dried peach
    Chicha Corn tea made from corn water cinnamon and sugar - there is also a different Chicha that is an alcohol drink made from chewed corn.
    #73
  14. BvilleBud

    BvilleBud Been here awhile Supporter

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    Altitude and Altitude sickness
    La Paz is at 13,000 feet, El Alto (where the airport is) is at 14,000 feet. Altitude sickness is a very real thing, don't let it ruin your trip.

    To help avoid altitude sickness try to start at a lower altitude and work your way up. I couldn't do thing and everything still worked out for me. I had a doctor prescribe some Acetazolamide (Diamox) and I think it helped. I also was diligent about working out and believe that helped. Be hydrated, rested and calm and get help if you need it. Don't go anywhere in a hurry your first few days, relax and stroll rather than stride. Everyone says that a few coca leaves do wonders, but I get drug tested at work and even though the leaves are not a drug, I"M SURE that they would show up in a test so that was a no-go for me. Even though I did not get sick, I really noticed the thin are the first day or two.

    Know the symptoms of altitude sickness and get medical help or reduce altitude if you get them; they are headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, fatigue and loss of energy, shortness of breath, problems sleeping, and loss of appetite; get help if you need it.
    #74
  15. BvilleBud

    BvilleBud Been here awhile Supporter

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    Bathrooms
    I should have started off with this one! Bolivian bathrooms are different than we have in the US.

    Hot water may not be available in the sink (or sometimes at the shower)

    Most showers that have hot water use a local electric water heater that is in the shower head, you may need to turn on the switch for hot water. There is typically one valve to turn on the water; to regulate the heat use more water for a cooler temperature. The higher flow is harder to heat so the water is not as hot. - it took me a few days to figure this out!

    Don't put toilet paper in the bowl, there will be a trash can next to the toilet, use the paper and put it in the trash can. The pipes in South America aren't made to handle the paper.
    #75
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  16. Innovator525

    Innovator525 Adventurer

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    Great report, love the zebras.
    #76
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  17. BvilleBud

    BvilleBud Been here awhile Supporter

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    Great Places you could visit include:

    La Paz – The administrative capital of Bolivia, see:
    Valley of the Moon
    The San Francisco Basilica
    Museum of National Archaeology
    Markets (Open Markets & Witches Market)
    The cool Teleferico mass transit system
    The road down from El Alto
    Cholita Wrestling

    Lake Titicaca / Tiwanaku with:
    The ancient ruins at Tiwanaku and Pumapunku (aliens, it was aliens…)
    Floating Uros Island Villages
    Isla Del Sol
    Isla De La Luna
    Isla Del Suriqui (reed boats)
    Copacabana

    Cochabamba
    Cristo de la Concordia
    Plaza 14 de Septiembre
    Palacio Portales Manson
    The largest and craziest open markets I visited in Bolivia. You can buy a chicken head and neck here that has been sitting in a bucket all day long for almost nothing!

    Sucre – The whitewashed colonial city that is the traditional capital of Bolivia
    See the largest dinosaur footprints in the world
    See the site of the "Grito Libertario" (Shout for Freedom); Sucre was the first city in the Western Hemisphere to seek its freedom and independence from Spain.
    The chocolate capital of Bolivia!

    Potosi – The city that made the money that was the economic engine for the world
    Cerro Rico (rich Hill) see the mines that so many worked and died in
    Laguna Colorada with her flamingos

    Santa Cruz
    Baroque music festivals in beautiful San Javier
    Aquas Caliente at Conception
    Jesuit Missions Of Chiquitos
    The rock formation Piedra de los Apostoles in San Javier
    The Amazon Basin!!

    Salar de Uyuni
    The world’s largest salt flats
    Sleep in a hotel made of salt!
    Great Train Graveyard
    Laguna Colorado
    Laguna Verde

    Check out the Sajama Lines, they are 15 times larger than the Nazca Lines in Peru.

    After that check out these Ancient Ruin sites:
    Tiwanaku / Puma Punku
    El Fuerte de Samaipata
    Inkallaqta
    Ciudadela Alcaya
    Lukurmata
    Underwater Ruins at Titicaca
    Chinkana Isla del Sol
    Iñaq Uyu Isla de la Luna Titicaca
    Chiripa
    Horca del Inca Copacabana
    Calacala
    Chipaya
    Valle de Tucavaca

    And after that see these National Parks
    Madidi National Park
    Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve
    Amboro National Park
    Sajama National Park
    Noel Kempff Mercado National Park
    Kaa Iya National Park (Jaguars!)
    Torotoro National Park
    Cal Orcko
    Carrasco National Park (oilbirds & bats)
    Isiboro Secure Indigenous Territory and National Park
    Incachaca Park
    Pantanal
    #77
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  18. ag40

    ag40 Adventurer

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    I would also add:
    Tupiza small town in the south of potosi
    This was my favorite place in Bolivia, not that many tourists.
    Tarija, big crowded city. Go there if you like wine
    #78
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