Bolivia, Trip Report

Offbeat Travel Destination: Bolivia’s Got It All

The smells in the air were unfamiliar but intriguing. Bolivia, a country often passed over for its neighboring counterparts, offered stunning and...

Written by Travis · 2 min read >

The smells in the air were unfamiliar but intriguing. Bolivia, a country often passed over for its neighboring counterparts, offered stunning and surreal landscapes blended with a strong indigenous culture. And let me tell you, it did not disappoint. Although it may require a bit of extra effort in visa fees and paperwork for American travelers, the extra spend and bureaucracy were undoubtedly worth it.

I want to get two things addressed right away:

  • If you are driving in from Peru (as how I got there) there is a common scam where a border agent will tell you that you need a special visa to get into the country. It’s a scam and you have to just pretend you don’t understand them and keep walking. This isn’t a real visa fee it’s purely a shakedown. That said, do your own research if that’s still the case. Here are a list of scams common in Boliva.
  • Watch your drinking in Boliva (and Quito, Ecuador). At the high altitude each drink is far stronger than what you are probably used to. Especially if you’re younger and already don’t have a good ability to tell when you should stop… maybe have one drink let it sit with you for a bit and then have another. Or just assume every drink counts as 2. Because not only will the altitude get you drunk faster it will give you a terrible hangover the next day. Also makes you more prone to altitude sickness. Trust Travel Dad on this one.

The journey from Tupiza to Salar de Uyuni was a highlight of the trip. The landscapes were truly otherworldly with green lakes, Dali-esque rock formations, and the mind-bending salt flats. Although tourist sightings are common around the Salar, the rest of the country had much fewer tourists, making the experience much more authentic.

We made sure to visit other cities in Bolivia as well. Lake Titicaca was an absolute gem. The hike around Isla del Sol allowed me to take in its natural beauty, with deep blue skies, fresh waters, and clouds popping over a lonely landscape all surrounded by snow-capped mountains. Although the altitude was difficult to manage, the views were worth the burn.

Our suggestion would be to take a boat from Copacabana to the northern side of Isla del Sol and hike to the village of Yumani on its southern edge. The reconstructed Incan ruins were both educational and fascinating, and the village itself offered a unique cultural experience. Although the village has experienced recent construction of guest houses, you can still see pack donkeys carrying supplies through town and young girls shepherding llamas from the fields.

Bolivia is not always the easiest place to understand and make sense of, but the effort to do so is worth it. The stark and stunning landscapes, along with the diverse peoples and cultures, make Bolivia an unforgettable travel destination. Sure, there may be cultural and historical reasons why indigenous communities view travelers suspiciously at times, but a little bit of effort to understand and respect their ways goes a long way. Ultimately, Bolivia stimulated us, made me think, and profoundly impacted and informed our view of the world. And that, my friend, is plenty reason enough to visit Bolivia.

This post is just a taste or what Bolivia offers, I hope to write a nice long full on trip guide to Bolivia in the future. If you want to see it comment here or email [email protected] and I’ll make it a bigger priority.

Written by Travis
I'm here to help you have the least stressful trip. I've got everything printed out in a folder, photocopies of all our passports, and it's time to take a family photo because we're going on a trip! Profile

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