Bolivia tagged posts

Travel through Bolivia 2001

Bolivia

See the posts on Bolivia


View Viagens Errante / Errante’s Travels in a larger map

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Border Bolivia – Chile

Sometimes the Bolivian immigration Office in the border with Chile is closed. In order to not have problems I decided to get my exit stamp on the passport in Uyuni. In Bolivia you pay $15 Bolivianos to get out of the country. I’ve never seen that before in other countries.

When we got to the border, our tour group split. Some went back to Uyuni and others got the bus to San Pedro de Atacama. The bus stopped by the Bolivian Immigration office, this time they were open to people stamp the passport. Then we continue to Chile. On the border line we could see the difference between the countries. The Chilean road was new and paved while the Bolivian one had sand and rocks.

We stopped at Chilean Immigration and Customs Office. Everybody had to get off the bus, stamp the passport and go to a room where they check the luggage. There was a long table where everyone placed his/her backpack and waited. After a while the police came and asked very loud who was Claudio, a Chilean man answered...

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Salar de Uyuni tour to Chile

The tour starts in Colcachi, a city by the salar in which the main activity is salt extraction. We saw the salt process, the withdrawal, the drying and the wrapping up. Later we visit the salt hotels. They are all constructed with salt blocks: walls, chairs, beds. When we went back to the car, it didn’t start. We had that to push it.

We drove to “Isla Pescado”, the original name was Inca Huasi, that means ¨House of the Incas¨. There I decided to stay for the night. In the island, the only inhabitants are a couple that takes care of the place. I slept in a room offered by them. I had gotten a permit by the Turist office to sleep and photograph the island. Next day I continued the tour with my group. We went back to Uyuni to get a 4 wheel drive car. Next stop was San Cristobal, a small village where we slept.

Second day we woke up early, we had an 8 hour trip to “Lagoa Colorada”...

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Uyuni

I arrived in Uyuni for the commemoration of Bolivia’s independence. The small town was crowed with the parade. I photographed a little until a policeman said that it was forbidden to take photos of the parade. I agreed but I continued photographing when he left. Later another policeman came to me saying the same, then I decided to stop.

There is not much to see in town. It is a starting point to the tours to the salares (salt lakes). There is a good number of hotels and restaurants, a small church, some little stores and very cold nights.

One of the attractions is the cemetery of trains. A 20 minutes walk from downtown takes you to a place full of wagons, old locomotives and tracks. It’s in the middle of nowhere. I can be seen from far away in the desert.

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Potosí

I liked the city of Potosi, even tough some people told me it was not so good. The colonial architecture is remarkable in the center of the city. The first day I went to visit the “Casa de la Moneda”, one of the most organized guided tour from the whole trip. They showed a little of the colonial and religious painting from the time. Later we found out how money was done. We started seeing the first shapes, when all the work was manual, made for slaves. Then the mechanical work, with enormous machines pulled by mules, and also the electric process with machines that run by engines. There is also in the museum a room displaying objects of anthropologists and archaeologists studies. It can be seen mummies, ceramics and tapestry.

In the second day I decided to visit one of the mines in the famous Cerro Rico mountain...

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Sucre

On my arrival in Sucre, I caught a taxi with more 3 people to know Tarabuco,  65km distant. Every Sunday this small town has a popular open market. It is crowded with tourists and people walking around and buying. We spend three hours in this town with a strong aboriginal influence. Then we came back to Sucre. I believe that Sucre is one of the richest cities from Bolivia. It was the place where I could see a bigger number of middle class people. It used to be the town where many Spaniard who explored the mines of Potosí lived.

One of the attractions of Sucre is to know the footprints of dinosaurs. These are in a cement factory. The first footprint was discovered 14 years ago, but they had only started to study and preserve the footprints 7 years ago. Tour is well organizing, they have a truck that takes the people to see the footprints in different parts. The guide explains the place very well and speaks an excellent English and Frenchman (a rarity around here).

Another attractive ...

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Copacabana and Lake Titicaca

After some weeks blocking the roads to Copacabana, farmers decided to open the roads for 10 days, as a negotiation period. I arrived in the city late afternoon; I left my backpack in the hotel and went to see the sunset in the Titicaca lake. Beutiful, relaxing…

Next day, I made a boat tour to the islands. First we visit the north part of Isla del Sol, it was two and a half hours by boat. We had only two hours to visit the place, it was not much time. One option would be  to walk quickly to the ruins or second, to enjoy the landscape photographing but not seeing everything. I opted for the second.

From there we went by boat to the central part of the island, where there is an etymologic museum. A complete waste of time. The museum had almost nothing and it took 45min to get there by boat. Then took us one more hour by boat to go to Isla la Luna. There we walked quickly to the ruins, we took photos and it was already time to go back...

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Rurrenabaque and the Pampas

The trip to Rurrenabaque was long. First I caught a transport (to go on foot, pressed, in the trunk of a pick-up truck) to Yolosa. From there, I got a bus to Rurre (it is how they call Rurrenabaque here). We arrive there really early, at 5am, and we stayed sleeping in the bus waiting to day light up. When we woke up, we were to get our backpacks from roof of the bus and the backpack of a Scottish guy had been stolen. There are lots of robberies stories around here… I went to the hotel, I took a shower and an excellent breakfast in a restaurant close by. I confirmed my tour to the following day and spend the rest of the day doing nothing. It was happy in being in a hot place. Sometimes the cold tires me off.

The tour was a disaster. We left 2 hours late, then travel 4 hours to a small town called Santa Rosa. After waiting a long time for the food, that they did not have enough, we left for 3 more hours by boat in the river Yacuma to the campsite...

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Anaconda

Anaconda – Pampas – Bolivia (2001)

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Bicycle tour to Coroico

I had seen on tv as well as met people who had done this tour before. So I decided to do a bike tour in the “most dangerous road in the world”, it is from La Paz to Coroico.

We left La Paz at 8:30am and went by a bus van to the highest point called La Cumbre. There we got our bikes to go down. In the first kilometers the road has pavement and it was not too busy. We could reach hight speed. Some say it can be 70km/hour, for sure I was not one of those.

After a short period of time we stopped to see the landscape and have a chocolate, after all, it was really cold. At La Cumbre it was snowing and with the cold wind of the speed, I had the feeling of freezing. We went up a little bit to reach the end of the pavement. There were many tractors and trucks on the road and then it started the unpaved road. Here it began the very dangerous part of the tour. From there on, we had to go down by the left side of the road, that means, the side of the precipice...

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