It’s been a while since I did a ‘Travel Itineraries’ post, so I thought it was time I looked at some of my itineraries in various places that I’ve been again. And for no particular reason, I decided to start with Bolivia today.
Bolivia is a land-locked country in South America, and one that’s mostly at altitude and has a surprising number of things to see and do. And no, I didn’t do half of them! But I thoroughly enjoyed the two weeks I had there.
You may choose to fly in, probably to the capital La Paz. There are plenty of flights in, to an around Bolivia, mostly with local airlines in small planes… which doesn’t honestly appeal to me too much. I was crossing and moving southwards through South America, so my route was sort of in a line from north (from Peru) to south (Argentina).
Bolivia also borders Brazil and Chile, so you can pass through to four countries in total. So there are many possibilities but you have to keep in mind that transport is very slow in Boliva by land (which is why many do take flights). To exit to Brazil it’s days of solid slogging land travel to get there (there is an interesting train ride I believe though). The Amazon part of Bolivia is also easier reached by plane.
But I didn’t fly, I entered from Puno in Peru, and across to Copacabana. Not the famous beach in Rio of course, but a small town on the banks of Lake Titicaca, the highest inland lake of size in the world. This proved a great place for a bit of a relax, and I took a boat on the lake to the Isla Del Sol which was stunningly beautiful (and has a couple of ruins as well) and a great hike – cover up and sun lotion SPF50+ is a must!
From there it was south to the capital, La Paz. It’s around three or four hours by bus, and there’s a water crossing on that journey where everyone gets off the bus to take a separate ferry. A really interesting experience! Coming into La Paz the roadworks were significant which slowed us down.
La Paz is a very hilly capital, no such thing as a flat road in La Paz. I didn’t stay in La Paz, but I could see that there was a great looking cable car to take. I didn’t really have the time to stay in La Paz, but it’s probably worth a couple of days.
Instead of staying I transferred onto another bus to Oruro, arriving at around 6pm in the day. It was a quick transfer there to a bus to Potosi, further south again. That bus zoomed into the night.
Arriving at 11pm in Potosi was not an ideal time to arrive, got to my hotel at shortly after midnight. Well, that wasn’t the hotel I wanted but couldn’t find the one I did after circling around in a share taxi for quite some time.
Potosi isn’t that big but it’s actually quite pretty. Not a lot to see and do, except for the Silver Mine Tours. Now, you’ll need to decide if you think this is for you – most tours are run by the miners, but it’s fair to say that there is an question of ethics – the conditions are poor and you’re walking around a dangerous workplace.
From there I took a share taxi to Sucre. It was only a couple of hours, much faster than the bus. Sucre is a very pretty and pleasant town, worth a couple of days, probably not a bad place to chill for a little while if you fancy.
From there I was able to take a bus that left at 930am and went all the way to the town of Uyuni. It wasn’t fast – it was around 530-6pm when the bus pulled into Uyuni. It was a pretty nice bus ride though, through mountains and pleasant surrounds.
Getting in at that time wasn’t great because the next day I wanted to take a tour of the salt flats – Salar de Uyuni. But I got it organized – in the morning! The trip was amazing, I took a three-day tour. You start with the salt flats, and then explore the surrounding areas where there were geysers, lagoons and lots of flamingos! There’s the chance to move into Chile as well from such a tour if that’s the way you’re heading.
Back Uyuni and then a bus to Tupiza. I had to change at Atocha and then it was a dirt/sand road. Amazing, yet terrifying ride! But it got me to Tupiza. It looked quite nice, but I was connecting to a mini-bus to the border with Argentina at the towns of Villazon/La Quiaca. Villazon was bigger than I had expected, but I spent no time there. Changed some money and pretty much walked across the border to Argentina.
If you were flying in and out of La Paz, well you could go up to Copacabana and back, and then do a bit of a loop around Uyuni, Potosi and Sucre to see what I did. It’s a longer bus ride eastward to Santa Cruz, but I’ve heard it’s worth visiting, and from there you could head on to Brazil or perhaps to the Amazon.
Bolivia is a rewarding country to visit. Two weeks, as per probably every country in the world, is not enough time to do it justice. Thanks for reading – May the Journey Never End!