A few tips from my forays into Bolivia - This one was hard to whittle down.
16.9.10 0 °C
I raved about Bolivia on my blog so here are my top 10 places to visit in Bolivia.
1. La Paz. The first time I visited this city I didn’t like it at all. It was too full on! Now I love it. You have to allow yourself at least a week in La Paz to not only acclimatise but also to immerse yourself in the place. Walking through the streets and getting caught up in the general trade of the markets made me realise that sometimes you just have to go with the flow. Oh and a couple of words of advice; take it easy, remember you are at an amazing altitude and don’t expect to find too many shops in La Paz. Everything you could ever want is sold in the street markets.
2. A bike ride down the World’s most dangerous road. You can look up the statistics telling you how many people die on this road every year and scare yourself out of doing this but if you do you will miss a trip highlight. If you take it easy, know and stick to your own abilities and go with a reputable company that has good bikes (Downhill Madness or Vertigo are the best) then you will be fine.
3. A trip to the Salt Flats via Uyuni. Nothing can prepare you for the sheer enormity and starkness of the salt flats. They have to be seen to be believed.
4. Visiting the salt flats comes only slightly above visiting Minuteman Pizza in Uyuni. The best pizza I tasted in South America, and believe me I tasted a lot. Chris and Suzy will look after you and don’t forget to have a piece of chocolate cake.....but be warned, the pizza dough runs about by about 8.30 and the chocolate cake goes even faster. The restaurant is through Tonito Hotel and unless you are staying at the hotel you will need to book.
5. Visit the Pampas outside Rurrenabaque for an amazing animal spotting experience. If you can’t make it deep into the Amazon then this is the place to swim with pink dolphins and go searching for anaconda...but pick your wellies carefully as wet feet on a four hour trek is not fun.
6. Once you return to Rurrenabaque you have to take advantage of the two for one drink offer at the Mosquito Bar....just watch the extra deep stormwater gutters along the streets on your walk home (I can tell you a story about a certain Irishman if you want an example of why).
7. Horse riding through the hills outside Tupiza. The town is nothing special, although the Pizza here is pretty good (no special recommendation as each restaurant in town has the same menu – the group I was with thought that maybe the town had one big kitchen which each restaurant used), but the scenery is amazing. Stunning cliffs and gorges and some crazy horse’s makes for an interesting ride.
8. A trip to Potosi should be included on your trip..if only to say you have visited the highest town in the world, which was also once the richest and to visit the bar/restaurant 4060 to have a Caprioska. If you are not suffering with the altitude you should also visit the silver mines. I was always too ill to do it (altitude knocks me around), but every pax I had do it was amazed.
9. A visit to Oliver’s Travels for a touch of home....especially if you are english or Irish. Say hi to Casper and Max for me while you are there and I can strongly recommend the beef and ale pie and a strawberry caprioska or five (I used to walk into this place and Cas wouldn’t even ask my order just deliver me a pie and SC while I chilled out and watched some football).
10. Sit in the Square in Sucre, get your shoes polished and eat some of the weird jelly drink and have a chat to some locals. The people of Bolivia are what made this country special for me. They were always so welcoming and always had a smile on their faces....well sometimes you had to smile at them first but I always got one back. So take the time to sit in a square or on a park bench and meet some of the locals.
Bolivia is often overlooked as a destination but I firmly believe it should be on everyones S.A. adventure itinerary.