Bet you thought we’d never leave Bolivia. Well, we finally did, but only because we had to make it to Patagonia (Southern Chile and Argentina) while it was still summer.
Traveled for: 54 days
Cost per day of travel:
Bolivia is cheap. You can basically live like royalty (well, backpacker royalty), and never worry that you will break the budget. The amazing thing is that we never were conscious of our budget here, but if you were, you could even spend a lot less!
Without the “big” tours (Jungle, Pampas, Torotoro, Uyuni), cost was about $30 per person, per day.
With the above mentioned tours, cost jumps to $47 per person, per day, but considering we did 13 days of tours where everything is taken care of, this number is pretty low.
Now that we are in Patagonia, which is as expensive as Europe (if not more so), we really miss the days of getting a freshly cooked almuerzo for $1 or a nice hostel for $12. Now we’re stuck with lousy pizza for $10 and a room for $50+. Yikes.
It is impossible to pick just one!
Torotoro was great because it was relaxing, the sights were incredible, and there weren’t any tourists there.
The Pampas: anytime you can see wild capybaras, that is a win for Kristen. Our drunken guide also kept things lively.
The Salar de Uyuni is unique in the world, and despite the insane number of tourists, its beauty is still unparalleled.
New Phrase Learned:
– “Sumo” is fresh juice (which is everywhere and so cheap!)
– In keeping with the juice theme, most areas have a policy where they refill your juice glass for free called, “Yapa.” This applied even to the smoothies (and supposedly with produce as well). It translates as “a little something extra.”
Moments We Remember:
– Our drunk Pampas guide congratulating himself (mid-stream) for finding capybaras (which he didn’t help to find).
– Seeing the endangered macaws soar over the canyon in Torotoro.
– Joe being treated like a minor celebrity at the market in El Alto (La Paz), where everyone wanted to shake his hand (maybe it’s the beard?). Once we finally got our chicken lunches, they turned out to be super delicious and cheap.
– Walking out in to the salar.
“I’m a hustler, baby!” – sung by Teresa and accompanied with a little shimmy, when we got the exchange rate we wanted, after being told that it would only be possible in La Paz.
– We had heard so much about the Bolivian people being “reserved” to the point of being rude. While we experienced that in Copacabana (who wouldn’t be rude if you lived in that city?), we found the rest of Bolivians to be pretty nice. They won’t go out of their way to talk to you, but on the plus side, they are not ALWAYS trying to sell you something like in Peru. They seemed to appreciate the fact that we spoke at least some Spanish.
Packed Bought That We Couldn’t Have Lived Without:
– Our Tigo internet card. Internet in Bolivia was spotty at best. The Tigo card provided us with internet in more places. In larger cities, it was actually pretty fast too! Definitely, a good investment.
Total Time Spent Apart From Spouse:
Almost a whole day! A new record! This occurred when Joe and Teresa rode “The World’s Most Dangerous Road” outside of La Paz. Kristen was relieved when they both returned safe and sound, or there may have been much more time spent apart.
Would We Do Anything Differently:
– Stay longer. We already miss Bolivia, and not just because it was so cheap (although that helped). We are in South America until June, so we may return for a little bit, because it is more affordable, easier to understand their Spanish (much trickier in Chile and Argentina), and believe it or not, there are still more amazing places to visit.
Would We Return:
-Yes, maybe even on this trip! We know Teresa is already planning her future return to the country as well. Got to make that $135 five-year visa worth it.