Bolivia Wrapup

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Marchers in the new-constitution march on La Paz
Marchers in the new-constitution march on La Paz (View on flickr)

Our pictures for Bolivia are up on flickr - Here's the slideshow of Bolivia and here's the slideshow of the Salar de Uyuni. Also, all our route maps and elevation profiles are updated.

Since we've been in Argentina for weeks, I guess it's time that I wrote a little something to wrap up our time in Bolivia!

We had a delightful time in Bolivia, despite the fact that we were lazy and only rode the bikes two fairly easy days (from the Peruvian border to La Paz). After that we took a bus to Uyuni, a tour of the Salar de Uyuni, and then a train to the border at Villazon. (We did get back on the bikes to ride to where we currently are in northern Argentina, in Salta).

Something is always going on politically in Bolivia, and our time there was no exception. You've probably heard about the tension between Bolivia (and Venezuela) and the U.S., and just before we arrived the US Ambassador was asked to leave the country because he was accused of instigating demonstrations in favor of breaking up the country. The current president, Evo Morales, is a campesino (he started his career growing coca!) and is clearly a populist leftist, and has lots of challenges ahead of him. And he is often poking at the US, along with his compatriot Hugo Chavez, of Venezuela.

Of course, the US is poking back, as always. Maybe they were involved in those demonstrations. Probably they were involved in making Bolivia look bad by pulling the Peace Corps out of the country and shutting down airline flights and acting like they were going to evacuate all Americans when there really wasn't taht much happening. You may have seen the headlines about American Airlines canceling all its flights... But did you see any headlines when they started flying just two weeks later? Or any analysis of why they stopped flying? There wasn't any.

Anyway, when we were there, there was nothing very radical going on. There was a huge campesino march on the capital to support a referendum about a new constitution. And it was all peaceful. Nancy went out to talk to the folks and take some pictures. We saw parades. La Paz was just a very nice, very tourist-friendly place, with an enormous number of services for tourists. We were astounded. Bolivia probably had more tourist activities available than Quito, Ecuador, and was probably on a par with that Disneyland of all Latin American tourists, Costa Rica.

Parade in La Paz
Parade in La Paz (View on flickr)

Some prices of things:

  • Hotel - nice room with private bath and cable TV: About $14
  • Internet - About $0.30/hour in La Paz, more expensive elsewhere.
  • Set meal for lunch or dinner: About $1.00. However, we ate a delightful meal at a Middle-Eastern restaurant for less than $5.00 for the two of us.

Our route notes and pointers to route resources and maps are on the Bolivia Route Page.