Savvy Travel Decisions

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BOLIVIA:

 

  

 

Bolivia is South America’s poorest country.  Landlocked, Bolivia is bordered by Brazil on the east, Paraguay and Argentina on the south, Chile to the southwest, and Peru to the west. 

 

Tin is the country’s main source of wealth. 

 

Bolivia is ideal for anyone seeking adventure travel, magnificent scenery, and a wide variety of wildlife. 

 

When visiting Bolivia, it pays to be flexible in your travel plans.  Bolivian workers are known to protest and strike for a variety of reasons, and do so often.  The strikes, often nationwide, typically last a week in duration.  The strikes include imposing roadblocks and restricting traffic flow.

 

DOCUMENTATION: Valid in-force passport plus 30-day tourist visa ($134) for U.S. citizens.  You must also provide proof of funds for duration of trip, evidence of hotel reservations for the length of visit or notarized invitation from a Bolivian citizen, proof of yellow fever vaccination and an extra passport photo.

 

LANGUAGE: Spanish

 

CURRENCY: Bollvianos Bs

 

BEST TIME TO VACATION IN BOLIVIA:

 

  

 

April through October is the best time to visit the Bolivian Highlands, as there are cooler temperatures and less rain.

 

Less desirable is the Bolivian summer in October through March, this being typically, the “rainy season.”

 

MAJOR HOLIDAYS IN BOLIVIA:

August 6: Independence Day

 

 

AMAZON:

 

  

 

BEST TIME TO VACATION IN THE BOLIVIAN AMAZON:

Winter runs between May and October.  This is also the dry season - less hot than the other months of the year. 

 

 

 

LA PAZ:

 

  

 

Bolivia’s capital and South America’s second largest city is nestled in a canyon floor surrounded by the Andes.  The city sits at 12,000 feet in altitude, thus requiring one’s adjustment oxygen-wise. 

 

BEST TIME TO VACATION IN LA PAZ:

The best time to visit La Paz is during November and December (late spring), as there are mild temperatures. 

 

TIME ON YOUR HANDS IN LA PAZ: 

SAVVY TRAVEL TIP: Hire a driver-guide when navigating La Paz, as the roads are hilly, winding, and the traffic is congested. 

 

Your sightseeing should include a visit to the Gold Museum, the Museum of Ethnography and Folklore, the Church of San Francisco (one of Bolivia’s most beautiful), the Witch Doctor’s Market, the Congress Buildings and Mirador Killi Killi. 

 

Mirador Kili Killi provides panoramic views of the city.

 

Hike through the lunar-appearing landscape of Moon Valley, with its maze of canyons and pinnacles. 

 

WINDOW SHOPPING IN LA PAZ:

Search the stalls of the Witch’s Market bargains on jewelry and llama products.  Dried llama fetuses are said to be good for fertility. 

 

A NIGHT ON THE TOWN IN LA PAZ:

 

  
 

Attend a folkloric show and dinner at Pena Huari, featuring local music and dance.  Shows are nightly at 8:00 p.m.  The show takes place at Sagaaruaga 239, and can be reached by calling 591-6255. 

 

Venture to the nearby Amazon Jungle to view monkeys, birds, and sloth.  Take a side trip to Corico. 

 

Tiwanaku, a two-hour drive from La Paz, is a pre-Columbian Inca (500-950 A.D.) site, a religious and cultural center at 13,000 feet in altitude.  At its zenith, 30,000 people inhabited the Tiwanaku site.  The cracked Gateway to the Sun is the most impressive of the remains.  Otherwise, only the remains of a few walls and foundations of temples are present. 

 

If you enjoy living on the edge, you may wish to drive the 15, 255-foot North Yungas Road, also known as Old Death Road that connects La Paz and Corocio.  You will drive an extremely narrow road with major drop-offs without benefit of guard-rails.  Pray that you do not encounter oncoming traffic!  The harrowing 25-mile pass on the outskirts of La Paz is littered with memorial crosses honoring those that did not successfully complete the journey.  A newer paved bypass improves chances of your survival, but does not provide near the thrills.  Both roads are a challenge of strong nerves. 

 

TASTY DINING IN LA PAZ:

 

 

 

Food and Wine Magazine recently suggested that the city’s Gustu might in fact have the makings of becoming “The World’s Best Restaurant.”  Curiously, Clau Meyer, co-owner of Copenhagen’s highly acclaimed and phenomenally popular Norma chose La Paz for his second restaurant outpost.  After considerable research, Bolivia was selected for its diversity of locally grown food products.  The highly trained staff was carefully recruited from among La Paz’s considerable poverty class. 

 

 

 

ORURO:

 

  

 

Oruro is the nation’s capital. 

 

MAJOR EVENTS AND FESTIVALS IN ORURO:

First week of February: Carnival of Oruro - major religious holiday celebration with over 28,000 dancers and 10,000 musicians! 

 

TIME ON YOUR HANDS IN ORURO:

 

 

 

POTOSI:

 

  

 

This UNESCO World Heritage Site sits at 13,000 feet altitude, making it one of the highest cities in the world. 

 

TIME ON YOUR HANDS IN POTOSI:

The city has a number of impressive churches and convents which can be visited.

 

 

 

Visit and experience the life of a miner in the silver mines of Cerro Rico.  Be forewarned that this experience is not for those the least bit claustrophobic. 

 

 

 

SUCRE:

 

  

 

This World Heritage colonial city’s altitude is at 9,000 feet.  The city is very hilly and clean.

 

TIME ON YOUR HANDS IN SUCRE:

Due to the altitude, it is recommended that you pace your activities and only after your physician’s consultation take altitude sickness pills.  Drinking lots of coca tea can also be helpful. 

 

Visit the dinosaur footprints at El Parque Cretacico. 

 

WINDOW SHOPPING IN SUCRE:

While in Sucre, shop for textile products. 

 

 

 

Take a day trip to nearby Tarabuco for its Sunday Market.  The locals wear ancient traditional clothing.  Clothing, textiles, and tapestry are best buys. 

 

 

 

YUNGAS:

 

  

 

TIME ON YOUR HANDS IN YUNGAS:

Visit the animal preserve in Senda Verde, complete with six varieties of monkeys, parrots, turtles, ocelot, caimans and anacondas snakes.