13 days was unexpectedly little, but I still have some impressions from Bolivia. Even less expected was the fact that we did not get anywhere but La Paz. Like I have said before, this has a number of reasons. One was our wish to get to Chile, a second Bo’s doctor’s appointment, a third was stiff prices and a fourth reason was a feeling of not finding tempting places to go.
This article is part of a travelogue from of a five month journey in 1987-1988 to several countries in South America: Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Chile.
We did get to see the Altiplano anyway, both before and after La Paz. Before saying more let me sum up the finances.
On average we spent 17 dollars each during these thirteen days. That’s a lot. We did however buy souvenirs so apart from that we spent 6 dollars a day each, half of this was for accommodation.
People and land
Bolivia consists of high mountain plateaus with mountain summits around called the Altiplano, and jungle. We managed to see some of the Altiplano on our way to and from La Paz. At some places the plateaus seemed like deserts with few opportunities to live on or off, even though we passed several towns and villages.
Other places were greener and could have been even more if only the Indians would have done something about it.
There were many Indians in La Paz, no surprise as they make up such a large percentage of the total population (70 %). They were very much like the ones we had seen in southern Peru, and the excitement about that, the exotic, had more or less passed into the everyday things of life. On the other hand there were more beggars in the streets than in Peru and Ecuador.
I have not much to say as we did little travelling. The roads seemed quite alright but we have read that there are very many unpaved roads. The railway is probably the best means of transportation, running between all the major cities.
Like I said previously it was a shock to come to Bolivia from cheap Ecuador and Peru too. A dinner would cost us almost three dollars (6 bolivianos). Lunch was good and better priced at 3-4 bolivianos: Lovely soups.
We are still doing fine although I’m starting to get satisfied – partly inflicted by long days in La Paz. A huge number of familiar gringo-faces kept popping up again and again in southern Peru and Bolivia.
All articles from Bolivia
This is the story of a five month journey to South America. My girlfriend Bo and I visited five countries on the continent, from Brazil in the east to Peru in the west, from Ecuador in the north to Bolivia and finally Chile in the south. These were the chapters from Bolivia:
(21) Bolivia (1) – The Road to Bolivia: This is my story about the trip from Puno on Lake Titicaca across the Bolivian Altiplano on the road to the city of presumable peace – La Paz
(22) Bolivia (2) – Next days in La Paz: Our next few days in La Paz were actually quite lazy with little happening.
(23) Bolivia (3) – Leaving the country: Moving from Bolivia to Chile on the coast of the Pacific Ocean was no easy matter. For us it involved a long train ride across the world’s driest desert, with views of fascinating salt lakes, and with time consuming border crossing formalities.
(24) Bolivia (4) – Impressions: 13 days in Bolivia was unexpectedly little. Even less expected was the fact that we did not get anywhere but La Paz. Like I have said before, this has a number of reasons. One was our wish to get to Chile, a second Bo’s doctor’s appointment, a third was stiff prices and a fourth reason was a feeling of not finding tempting places to go.
The next chapter: Peace and prosperity in northern Chile: After 36 hours on the train from Bolivia we had a belated arrival in a country very unlike its neighbours to the east and north. We went about with the usual money exchanging activity, and visited the world’s largest mine.
Click to read the introduction to this journey
Click to view a full screen map of the journey
See all images from Bolivia.