I plan on arriving in LaPaz from Lake Titicaca on Tuesday the 30th of December this year, and leave for Brazil two weeks later from Santa Cruz on January the 12th.
I was hoping to get some suggestions of budget itineraries for touring Bolivia over that two weeks.
What are the must sees/dos?
My friend and I will be travelling together, and we are particularly interested in seeing any local community projects if anyone is aware of any.
It would be great if you had any great accomodation recommendations in towns you suggest!
Thanks in advance, we are excited to be going to Bolivia and don't want to miss out on anything!
Two definite must sees are the Potosi mines (but be prepared for an uncomfortable experience) and the Salar de Uyuni.
These are two of the most amazing sights that I took in while in South America. If you are claustrophobic then maybe skip the mines tour, but it's really worth seeing if you think you can go down there. The salar de uyuni are just spectacular, one of nature's wonders and the photo ops are just unmissable.
If you're staying in Potosi check out Koala Den Hostel, they also have a tour agency in the town and will organise the trip to the mines for you. It cost about $5 USD a night to stay there.
Check out Oasis Tours in Uyuni for the Salar trip. I can't remember the name of the hostel I stayed at there but it was literally just across the street for Oasis Tours. $2USD a night for the hostel. Approx $60USD for the salar tour.
Hope that helps. Enjoy your trip. Bolivia is an amazing country!
We have just left Bolivia after 6 weeks and hve a great time in an amazing country with the most spectacular landscape.
Our highlights were:
1. The Worlds Most Dangerous Road and also the animal sanctuary our tour ended up in called Santa Verde. Fantastic. We went with Gravity but they are one of the most expensive but from speaking to others Barro and Madness also seem quite good.
2. Rurrenabaque for a jungle or pampas trip. You can fly here for around $70US return from La Paz.
3. Sucre for a laid back beautiful city
4. Ditto the Salar de Uyuni and Potosi, the Salar trip is unmissable and probably one of the best things we´ve done in 3 months in S America. We went with Estrlla del Sur for our Salar trip and they come highly recommended.
5. Copacabana and a trip to the Isle del Sol, if you go try to stay the night though so you can explore the island fully.
Not sure if you will fit them all in as there would be a lot of uncomfortable bus rides involved but these were our best bits that spring to mind. One point of advice though, try to find out as much as you can on any blockades while you are there, we encountered quite a few and had to stay days in small villages etc which you definately don´t want to do if you only have 2 weeks.
hope this helps, you´ll have a wicked time.
Two weeks isn't much time, so to help you decide, I'm going second two places/things to do and add a third that I think are must do's.
La Paz, Dangerous Road tour - I loved this 1-day downhill bike trip, especially the transition from altiplano to jungle. I rode with Madness, they were a fine outfit.
Potosi - the mine tour was one of the most eye-opening things I did in Bolivia. Yes, touristy, but yes, you see the grit and danger of working in the mines today.
The jungle - If you're headed to Brazil via Santa Cruz, you'll have to go through the Bolivian jungle, which is a great place to explore with a guide. I hired a guide to take me into the jungle for three days ($50, everything included) in Buena Vista, and another three day trek into the jungle from Villa Tunarí, which is also home to Parque Machia, a refuge for rescued jungle animals.
I'd like to add the following note about Bolivia that is in the news right now. When I was in Bolivia (now three years ago) I witnessed protests, got "trapped" in La Paz on the inside of a blockade and smelled tear gas in the narrow streets, but I never personally felt in danger. That said, you can avoid being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and that's what this current evacuation is all about. Consider this as you plan your trip.
US organizing evacuation flights from Bolivia
By MATTHEW LEE – Sept. 16, 2008
WASHINGTON (AP) — The State Department is organizing at least two evacuation flights for Americans who want to leave Bolivia amid widespread and worsening political unrest there.
Officials in Washington and at the U.S. Embassy in La Paz say the flights will leave Bolivia on Wednesday for neighboring Peru. The move comes as relations between the United States and Bolivia have plummeted in the past week, with each country expelling the other's ambassador and increasing U.S. criticism of Bolivia's drug-fighting efforts.
Last week, the Drug Enforcement Administration was forced to move its operations from one of Bolivia's largest coca-producing areas for security reasons. And on Monday, the Peace Corps withdrew all of its volunteers from Bolivia.
if you´re into walking, Bolivia is a fantastic place to take in some beautiful sights whilst getting all sweaty! I walked with a couple of friends from La Paz to a town called Coroico which is in the las Yungas, a beautiful part of the country. The walk took us 3 days, though you could possibly do it in 2 (?). I found it incredible as you start from the heights of La paz, with the mountains and work your way down to the tropics, always with the great mountains in view... for me a must. From Coroico it´s possible to do other great walks. I´d also suggest Sorata if you´re into this kind of thing.
Thanks so much for your replies and excellent advice. I will definiely look further into Potosi as the mine tour seems worthwhile (I had heard mixed things about it previously!). I wondered whether we would have enough time to visit the salt flats, but that also seems worth doing. Thanks for the tips re: tour operators in that area.
We are not really that into hiking (I think the Inca Trail will put us off it for life! Or maybe the opposite?), more of a fan of the cultural aspect.
I want to see the cholita wrestlers, has anyone been to any of these matches in La Paz or elsehwre in Bolivia?
It seems like there will be many long transport hours... we expected this!
Again, is anyone aware of any local projects we may be able to visit?
We went to the cholita wrestlers! Errr.. it was ... interesting !! We went in La Paz and all the hostels will advertise it but if they don´t we booked through Cocoa Travels which is right next to the Cactus Hostel in the witches market and it´s on every Sunday evening.
Hope this helps.. enjoy!