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Bolivian Tour Guides
Favorite thing: When I decided to go to Bolivia in 2003, I looked online for tour companies. I chose Freemen Tours - Andes & Amazonia because then they were the only ones associated with the floating hotel on the Mamore River and they were highly recommended in the Rough Guide. They did an excellent job. They were not cheap (about $200 per day for everything) but they had the contacts to handle the logistics, which turns out to be very important. My primary contacts at Fremen were Winston Ford in their Atlanta office and David Fernandez in La Paz. I also met two excellent guides through Fremen, Mario Nina and Roberto Mendez. I'll tell more about them in subsequent tips. Fremen used Colque Tours for the 4WD tour out of Uyuni and Raices Turismo in Cusco, Peru.
Fondest memory: Mario Nina and David Fernandez are two excellent guides. They also became my friends. Both are Aymara and I learned much from them. Mario's English is excellent and he is very knowledgeable about northern Bolivia. He probably knows the rest of Bolivia as well; however, David was the guide that accompanied me to the South. David even walked 20 blocks to the airport to meet me one time when the roads were closed by demonstrators. Mario knows computers and let me back up my pictures to CD at his office. These are examples of the outstanding service I received.Related to:
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Zig-Zag Eco Tours and Treks
Favorite thing: Mario Nina used to guide people for Fremen Tours but he now has his own company, Zig-Zag Eco Tours & Treks and has a partnership with Gravity Assisted Mountain Biking. His office (Illampu Street 867 Office 5) is located near the northeast corner of Illampu and Sagarnaga Streets close to the Witches' Market. If you are going south on Illampu from the Hotel Rosario and come to Plaza Gaston Velasco, you have gone too far. There is now a Zig-Zag Facebook page but you must be logged into Facebook to see it. You may also e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Mario is very knowledgeable and his English was the best of any guide I have had in Bolivia. He knows the history, the flora and the Aymara legends; he is a real gentleman and it is a pleasure to travel with him. I recommend Mario highly. His partner, Caesar, is an excellent guide also and really knows a lot about Tiwanaku. Zig-Zag offers tours and adventure travel throughout Bolivia.
Fondest memory: One of my better memories is when Mario made me make a surprise visit to the house of an internet friend (that I had never met in person) on the very first day I was in Bolivia during his half day La Paz tour. I knew Cecy was in Canada on business but her parents and brother showed us the warmest hospitality. Having La Paz's best saltenas with Mario at the La Fiesta restaurant near Plaza Obelisco and watching a huge, but peaceful, political demonstration is also a unique memory. However, the absolute best memory is going to a small, remote school in the mountains outside El Alto (Collpani School) with Mario to donate childrens' books.Related to:
- Religious Travel
- Budget Travel
Allowing for Altitude Sickness
Favorite thing: Many guided tours of Bolivia have a specific rationale for what they do on the first day in La Paz because of the altitude and the possibility of soroche (altitude sickness). The American Airlines flight arrives from Miami very early in the morning. They take you to your hotel and give you time to rest until after lunch. You should do just that to let your body start to adjust to the altitude. Resist the urge to do anything that requires exercise. They then do a half day tour that starts with a drive down through Sopocachi, Zona Sur and on to Valle de la Luna. This drive drops maybe 500 meters in elevation in a distance of ~5 km. If they continue on down to Mallasa or the zoo, it is even lower in elevation. This will help you adjust to any problems you are having with soroche and gives you a look at the affluent part of La Paz. There was a new study in March 2012 about the effectiveness of ibuprofen on soroche. It may be worth trying.Related to:
- Road Trip
Options for a One Week Tour of Bolivia
Favorite thing: Seven days is not that much time considering the distances involved in traveling in Bolivia. It pretty much eliminates a Salar de Uyuni trip, which takes a day of travel each way to and from La Paz, and at least two days to see much of the Salar. I would spend a day touring La Paz (Hotel Rosario) and head to Copacabana (Hotel Rosario del Lago) and Isla del Sol (La Estancia Ecolodge) for a couple nights. I would choose a day trip to Tiwanaku over a trip on the world's most dangerous road and a night in Cororico (Hotel Esmeralda), although if you just want to relax, Cororico is a great place to do it. Potosi is another good option. You could fly to Sucre, take a shared taxi to Potosi (Hostal Colonial), spend the night, tour the mines the next morning, take a taxi back to Sucre (Hostal Independencia), spend the night there, and maybe have time to see the dinosaur tracks before flying back to La Paz. Clearly, with a one week time constraint you will have to make some choices.
Favorite thing: Obrigado pela dica.
Encontrei um site no qual é possível pesquisar jornais locais, o problema dos jornais do Brazil por exemplo, é que eles não vão citar uma situação mais particular de uma certa região, so informariam algo que no caso haja algum tipo de repercussão maior.
Fica aí a dica:
Bolivia Tourist Visa at the Border is a Breeze
Favorite thing: For US citizens it is a breeze to get your Bolivian Tourist Visa at the border.
They charge US$135 and at the La Quiaca, Argentina / Villazon, Bolivia border the immigration officials did not even ask for a photo or yellow fever certificate, I just filled out two simple forms and the whole process took less than 10 minutes(no line to wait in) and they even gave me change in US$.
In contrast, the Bolivian Consulate in Salta, Argentina wanted a photo and yellow fever certificate plus more and it would take 24 hours and it still cost US$135. The consulate in Asuncion, Paraguay asked for a photo on red background and local criminal background check in addition to seven other requirements which were listed in Spanish only.
Fondest memory: The prices! So cheap! The tourist visa - so expensive!
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My route from Peru and across Bolivia
Favorite thing: The route that I took had me go from Arequipa to Cuzco (overnight bus), then I spent a few days doing the Inca trail. From Cuzco we took an overnight bus to Puno. From Puno we took an overnight tour to three of the islands in Lake Titicaca (Uros, Amantani and Taquille). We got to stay on Amantani island with a host family for one night. We also took a tour from Puno to Sillustani (funery towers and other cultural sites).
After Puno we took a bus to Copacabana and went to Isla del Sol (also on Lake Titicaca but on the Bolivia side). Personally I felt the Peruvian islands trip on Lake Titicaca was much better than Isla del Sol which I felt was more commercial.
From Copacabana we took a bus to La Paz and spent a few days here. We then took a bus from La Paz to Sucre (12 hours overnight).
In Sucre we took a tour to Tarabuco village for the Sunday markets which I really enjoyed. We took a bus from Sucre to Potosi (3-4 hours).
Stayed at the Koala Den Hostal in Potosi which I would recommend. We also did a tour of the mines which was interesting. We then took an overnight bus from Potosi to Uyuni which to be honest was one of the worst bus rides I have ever had. It was really uncomfortable as there were no roads to speak of between the two towns. The ride took about 8 hours.
From here I took the jeep tour across to San Pedro de Atacama in Chile.Related to:
- Road Trip
- Budget Travel
Favorite thing: Oh, there are so many things that are my favorites about Bolivia. Where to begin?
How about how we got dropped off in the middle of nowhere with false promise of easily finding a bus back to Puno, Peru? Or visiting the Bolivian's president home town of Tiahuanacu? How about Patrick's conversation with a local just to have lunch?
Fondest memory: Memories, memories... Too bad they are just memories. Useful memories? I doubt it. But please laugh with me. hahaha!Related to:
- Road Trip
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Favorite thing: Lake Titicaca is the world's highest lake navigable to large vessels, lying at 12,500 feet above sea level, astride the border between Peru and Bolivia. Titicaca is the second largest lake of South America (after Maracaibo in Venezuela).
Lake Titicaca is really spectacular and a must-see for visitors to Bolivia -- especially since it is only 2 hours outside of La Paz and is easy to reach on paved roads.
Ruins on the shore and on the islands attest to the previous existence of one of the oldest civilizations known in the Americas, antedating the Christian era. The chief site is at Tiahuanaco, Bolivia, at the southern end of the lake.
On Titicaca Island ruins of a temple mark the spot where, according to the tradition of the Incas (a Quechuan people of Peru who established an empire about 1100), the legendary founders of the Inca dynasty, Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo, were sent down to Earth by the Sun.
Fondest memory: The reed and wooden boats that locals use on the lake are charming and make for great photos! We also enjoyed plenty of fresh fish during our two day staying the region.
has happend to me.
Favorite thing: I bet many of you have some odd stories to tell while travelling in foreign countries.
mine is a rush with a Rat, falsly served as the national dish... Guinea Pig.
would be nice to hear what touched you..good or bad..give me a mail
Fondest memory: not a realy fond memory but I survived and an expirience richer!!Related to:
- Food and Dining
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Near to Sibiria
Favorite thing: Sibiria is a little village on the way from Cocha (bamba) to Santa Cruz.
This lonely horse gave an amazing impression, like a statue, not moving a bit, over the clouds...it was like painted.
Fondest memory: It has been a very special feeling to drive the streets on a beautiful sunny day and mention to be "over" the clouds. The view was fantastic and we´ve been almost the only ones there, so the silence was amazing.
Good and bad beers in Bolivia
Favorite thing: We did some beer tasting in Bolivia. We had some great ones and some awful ones as well.
Pacena was my favourite. Also the strong bock was quite good.
There were a few beers with incas on it which looked very nice (the label) but tasted awful and had a low alcohol percentage.
If it comes to beers......... don't judge a book by its cover!!!!!Related to:
- Beer Tasting
CONDORS AND COCA
Favorite thing: BOLIVIA IS A PLACE WHERE CULTURE IS ALIVE AND PRACTICED, NOT A THING OF THE PAST BUT OF THE MOMENT,,I HAVE BEEN ALL OVER BOLIVIA SEVERAL TIMES IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS LET ME KNOW.
Fondest memory: THE SOLSTICE RITUAL AT TIAHUANACO, ALL NIGHT LONG WAITING FOR THE SUN TO RISE, FREEZING BY FIRES WITH THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE, MUSIC, AND THE SUN SHINING THROUGH EVERYONES ARMS IN THE MORNINGRelated to:
- Arts and Culture
Et voila c est fini....
Favorite thing: Retour a la PAZ ou le temps a passe bien vite....Supere ambiance, supers potes...
Les Expatries vous saluent et esperent vous avoir fait partager un peu de leur vecu la bas ou l on a la tete en bas!
Des fois on allait au lac TITICACA
Favorite thing: La c est juste pour vous montrer que la-bas on travail encore avec 1 soc et 2 boeux...
C est assez fou de voir ca encore a notre epoque, mais dans les andes la plus part des terres sont pas mecanisables et quasies inaxcessibles pour les machines....Les paysans sont aussi tellement pauvrent que le temps c est arrete a l age des conquistadores...
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