Country Bio: Bolivia

Bolivia is a land of astonishingly diverse natural beauty. In its southwest lies the stark brilliance of the Salar de Uyuni, and in its northeast the mighty Amazon Rainforest. In between, there is Potosi with its bleak working silver mines and the surreal basin-shaped landscape of the world’s highest administrative capital, La Paz, at an elevation of c. 3,650m. Add in Death Road and Lake Titicaca (South America’s largest lake), and you are left with a country with almost everything on its doorstep. What mustn’t be forgotten is that this is also South America’s poorest country. Seeing it will be eye-opening, and you are bound to come away with all your senses awakened by an experience like no other.


BEST CITIES


1)   La Paz (4 days)      
The largest city. Lively and cultural.
2)   Sucre  (3 days)
Medium-sized, colonial and picturesque city.
3)   Coroico  (2 days)
Small town with brilliant views of Death Road.


BEST ACTIVITIES


1)   Visiting Salar de Uyuni
2)   Cycling Death Road (near La Paz)
3)   Visiting the Amazon Jungle via Rurrenabaque
4)   Visiting the silver mines of Potosi
5)   Trekking on Isla del Sol


IDEAL ITINERARY (3 WEEKS): APPROX. COST £600

Day 1     Arrive La Paz 
Day 2     Death Road- Coroico
Day 3     Coroico- La Paz (3 hour bus in evening)
Day 4     La Paz
Day 5     La Paz- Rurrenabaque (via 40 min evening flight)
Day 6     Amazon
Day 7     Amazon
Day 8     Amazon-Rurrenabaque-La Paz
Day 9     La Paz- Sucre (12 hour overnight bus)  
Day 10   Sucre
Day 11   Sucre  
Day 12   Sucre-  Potosi (4 hour bus in morning)
Day 13   Potosi
Day 14   Potosi- Uyuni (3 hour bus in evening)
Day 15   Salar de Uyuni
Day 16   Salar de Uyuni
Day 17   
Salar de Uyuni- La Paz (12 hour overnight bus)
Day 18   La Paz- Copacabana (4 hour bus)
Day 19   Isla del Sol
Day 20   Copacabana- La Paz (4 hour bus)
Day 21   Depart La Paz


WEATHER

1) High Season: May to October
Sunny, dry and cool. Prices are generally higher at this time.
2) Low Season: November to April
Rainy and hot. Lower prices, but difficult to do overland journeys .


BE A LOCAL

Drink
Pisco Sour/Chuflay/Somo

Food
Pique Macho/Saltenas

Language
Spanish/Quechua

Sport
Soccer

Music
Folk

Clothing
Women: Pollera (skirt) and bowler hat
Men: Poncho and Chulla (Hat)

Customs
Greet with a handshake
Leave a 15% tip
Don’t eat with your hands
Predominant religion is Roman Catholic


YUGENGO RECOMMENDS

1)   In Rurrenabaque, there is a choice of pampas or jungle tours. If you want more wildlife in a dry savannah setting, choose pampas. If you want the Amazon jungle experience, choose jungle.

2) Fly to Rurrenabaque from La Paz, the views are stunning. The bus ride is quite dangerous and extremely bumpy.

2) For Death Road, Vertigo was a good operator.

3) The altitude means 60% oxygen levels compared to sea level. Don’t overdo the aerobic activity initially.

4) Choose the three day tour of Salar de Uyuni, not four.

5) Sucre is a good base for Spanish lessons. Bolivian Spanish is spoken slower, and is a good place to practice.

6) Bring clothing to cover all weather.

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