If you are at the right time in Bolivia don´t miss the Carnival of Oruro, it is amacing! Held before Ash Wednesday, the next one at the 1. and 2. of march 2014. Reserve your accomodation well in advance and be prepared for rain.
Near Lake titicaca the ruins of Kalasasaya Temple can be found, among which stands the statue of Ponce Stela, believed to be a mythical creature. Tiwanaku culture existed 1500 years ago mainly in Peru but stretched over the border to present day Bolivia.
This gate is located near Lake Titicaca and is carved from one solid piece of rock weighing an estimated 10 tons. It is thought to be at least 1500 years old and part of the Tiwanaku culture that was found in Peru and parts of Bolivia. The figure in the centre of the lintel may be the sun god or the Inca god, Viracocha, which in turn is surrounded by 48 squares each of which contains a winged effigy with either a human or condor head.
I guess the hunters and fishermen already know about Bolivia, because that's all I met o the airplane when I traveled there on my second trip, in business class. The birders need to wake up. There's a lot of birds here and a lot of rural, unspoiled scenery. With a bird list of around 1,400 species and an amazing variety of habitats from Pantanal to Andes Mountains and glaciers, you should be able to find what you're looking for. I used birdbolivia.com to package my parrot trip, and it was first rate.
The crater lake ontop of Licancabur is considered to be the highest lake of the world. Despite beeing frozen most of the time, there is life inside that got into the center of a NASA/UCLA expedition research in 2002 and 2003. (there has been a diving expedition in 1984 already). The lower waterlevels stay above 0 degrees Celcius despite peak temperatures of up to -40 degrees Celcius.
Bolivia's capital is one of the most liked in South America in part for its setting, within easy view of the Cordillera Real. It's also user friendly and a fun place to spend a few days in between adventures so readily found in Bolivia.
This all too comfortable city on the shores of Lake Titicaca combines all the infrastructure that makes a tourist town so pleasant and yet somehow manages escape the overkill so present in other such places. By far, the most relaxing place we found in either Bolivia or Peru on our trip.
If you are a thrill seeker...this is a must! pictures dont do it any justice, you have to actually be there to really get the full effect. I would not recommend this trip for novice bike riders...you will seriously get hurt or die... im pretty good and i still had a tough time with the traveling speed...about 50mph all down hill! the nerves do get to you. this is not a place for a honeymoon folks! if you bring your loved one, you will be more concerned with their well being than with the road infront of you, not a good idea!! Pick a good company for the travel, i recommend Gravity Assisted tours, great gear and experienced riders. You can bring your own gloves and helmet if youd like. The trip is several hours and finishes at a nature reserve. Thinking about training for the trip...work on your thighs (you will be off your seat for a long while) forearms (you will be holding on for dear life) and lastly, mentally just prepare for ANYTHING! enjoy!
If you truly care about conservation and you want a non-cookie cutter tourist experience, I cannot recommend Serere Lodge highly enough.
Serere is a private reserve (no other tour operators can go there) about two hours upstream from Rurrenabaque by boat with a handful of lovely new-ish cabanas.
It’s a conservation project rather than a tourist venture – the reserve was founded in this area because it’s a strategic point for the team that runs it to protect the jungle to the north and work with indigenous communities close by. And that’s what the vibe was - more like we were getting insight into the workings of a conservation project rather than a tourist visiting an ecolodge.
The owner Rosa-Maria Ruiz was instrumental in founding Madidi National Park, led a National Geographic expedition to the area, and now Serere is her latest project.
We spent a fantastic three days walking in the jungle spotting animals with our guru indigenous guide Xenón and translator Leo, sailing in canoes on the gorgeous lakes, fishing for piranhas and pumping Rosa-Maria for information about their conservation experiences and plans.
All of the guidebooks said that you don’t see that many animals in the jungle so we didn’t have high expectations but we saw loads of monkeys (3 diff. species), a tarantula the size of a man’s hand, two hochis, a huge badge-type thing (they have wildlife reference books at the lodge but I can’t remember the name), a deer, loads of caiman, gazillions of birds, piranhas and more.
Although Serere doesn’t have a formal animal rehabilitation programme, it seems as though people give them animals to re-introduce to the wild regularly. By then end of our stay, there were a little howler monkey, an orphaned baby spider monkey (always under the kitchen table), an adult spider monkey that was an ex-pet and three injured macaws at the main lodge. So wonderful but once you realise how hard it is to re-introduce them to the wild, so sad...
It really was a special experience and I wholeheartedly recommend it to people who are looking something off the beaten tourist trail, those who want to gain some insight into what conservationists in poor countries like Bolivia are up against - and what an incredible area it is they’re trying to protect.
The clincher is that 100% of the profits from Serere go towards conservation work. When you’ve seen their team making signs to keep out the poachers, the orphaned monkeys and injured macaws, the leopard-skin wallets, anaconda belts and monkey meat at the local market, and passed the canoes filled with illegally cut mahogany timber, you’ll realise how crucial it is to support places like this.
This charming Island is a great way to relax and enjoy a few days on the world's highest navigable lake, Lago Titicaca. Here you can enjoy traditional Bolivian villages and local life. See the video at Isla del Sol
Rimmed by snowcapped volcanoes and crowned with a deep blue sky the Salar is a 12,000 sq km expanse of unfathomable blinding white at a nose bleed altitude of 3,660 m. It is up to 120 m deep with the top 10 m being pure salt. Due to the amount of water below and an usual respiration of gases that bubble up, small rims are pushed up forming massive hexagons along the salar’s surface. The geometric shadows stretching to the horizon from the setting sun creates the sensation of being the central theme in an Escher sketch. Near the very center of this immense expanse is an island completely made of coral which is home to a rather tall and prickly population of cacti called, Cactus Island. From here the views are even more bizarre. These species of Cacti grow ever so slowly at a rate of 1 cm per year. The tallest cactus is 12.3 meters tall making it 1203 years old (so the sign said, but I think they missed place a number). Wanderlusts go to South West Bolivia and explore Salar de Uyuni, the largest salt flat in the world, and the amazing expanse of the altiplano, the Bolivian high plains, with breathtaking volcanos and multicolored lakes such as Lago Colorado and Lago Verde. Starring animals such as Guanaco and flamingos.
See the video at Salar de Uyuni
Between the barren altiplano capital of La Paz and the verdant Yungas coca capital of Coroico lies one of the most dramatic and deadly roads in the world. Built by the blood and sweat of prisoners during the war with Paraguay in 1932, the Death Road is still the only route that connects Northern Bolivia with the capital. This absurdly narrow road is heavily traversed by buses, minivans, trucks, tankers, taxis, private vehicles, and mountain bikes. There are many outfits in La Paz that organize these trips. Since the new road as been built the World’s Most Dangerous road is now traversed only by bike making not so dangerous but just as beautiful.
See the video at The World’s Most Dangerous Road
The Tuichi River meanders into the wildlife packed Pampas, the vast Bolivian grasslands of the Amazon basin near Rurrenabaque. Here the traveler can discover birds, squirrel monkeys, howler monkeys, sloths, caimans, crocodiles, capybara, river dolphin, anacondas, cobras, and mambas. It is not a comfortable journey but a rewarding one. It is possible to book a three day excursion into the Pampas from Rurrenabaque. Their are many options and prices are very competitive.
See the video at The Pampas
In 1545, the city of Potosi was built virtually overnight. Over the next twenty years, its population exploded to 100,000 making it by far the largest city in the Americas. By the 17th century it was the largest city in the world at 160,000. It imported everything from basic food supplies and construction material to Persian rugs and Chinese porcelain. Potosi grew from Cerro Rico (Rich Mountain) the richest single source of silver in the world and from it Spain and Europe were propped up nearly singled handedly . . . but at a price. Over the three centuries of colonial mining it is estimated that 9 million indigenous and African slaves were consumed in the mine or died from related diseases.
After purchasing dynamite at the local tienda, we head up into the mines of Cerro Rico, in Potosi, Bolivia that, at one time, was the riches source of Silver in the world making Potosi the wealthiest city in the world. Those days are gone but the poor miners still spend their lives trying to earn a living the old fashioned way in these mines. Many guest house organize trips into the mines. Many give a percentage to a clinic that serves the health of miners and their families.
See the video at Cerro Rico
Nuestra Señora de La Paz Cathedral was built between 1831 and 1925. In order to accommodate the steep slope that it's built on, the rear entrance is 12 m higher than the front entance on Plaza Murillo. Inside, it has impressive columns and stained glass windows.
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