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Entering Bolivia overland is like travelling back in time. The main cities are horribly overcrowded and polluted. However, venture out in the wild and you’ll experience a way of life time has forgotten. Here the people don’t live ‘underdeveloped’ but live more inline with nature and the environment.
Geographically, Bolivia can be split into two regions, the High-lands and the Low-lands. The High-lands are home to the big tourist places in Bolivia. Uyuni Salt Flats, La Paz, Sucre and Lake Titicaca. But, if make your way down the rolling valleys towards Brazil, you’ll find some stunning scenery, amazing cultures and the friendliest people. This ‘middle ground’ was my favorite part of Bolivia.
Epic Rides for Bikers
- Laguna Paso, San Pedro de Atacama (Chile) to Uyuni (Bolivia)
- Vallegrande to Samaipata via La Higuera
- Salt flats of Uyuni
|Bolivia (as of 2017)||Rating||Why|
|Money||The Bolivian Boliviano is relatively stable and is easy to withdrawal with international cards. Bolivia is one of cheapest country in South America.|
|Accommodation||Accommodation options are plenty in Bolivian tourist hot-spots. Hostels will mostly only be concentrated in cities. Couch-Surfing is not as popular as say Chile or Argentina. Wild camping (outside main cities of course) is possible with common sense.|
|Food||Food is basic in Bolivia.|
|Drinks||Bolivia has a few local beers. Pacena, Huari are highlights|
|Motorbike Parts (Availability, cost of Adv Bikes Parts)||Possible in Santa Cruz de la Sierra. Most parts should be available there. Same as servicing options.|
|Petrol (Accessibility, Cost and Quality)||Bolivia has a two-tier fuel prices. One price for locals and on for everyone else. The local price is based on if you have a Bolivian number plate. Since you probably don't there are two approaches. You can either accept the price they give you. (it will still be cheaper to pay the tourist price in bolivia than most other places around the world). Or you can ask for the local price. The answer will depend on the person at the pump. Remember the local price is subsides by the government because of the wages in Bolivia. I'd recommend not force the issue of trying to get cheaper fuel. If they give you a the local prices, great, if not smile and pay the 'normal' price.|
|Fun Factor on the Road (Did the roads put a smile on my face)||Bolivia has some of the best trail rides in South America. Since car ownership is low here, you can expect to have to roads all to yourself. Check out my section on Epic Rides in Bolivia. Also note, if you happen to run into roadworks, expect massive delays. up to 5 hours!|
|Internet (Wifi Access / Local SIM Usage)||WiFi access in Bolivia is limited. I'd recommend buying a SIM card. Entel has great coverage.|
Spanish. But also Quechua, Aymara, Guaraní. Spanish is spoken more neutral making it easier to understand than say Chile or Argentina. Sucre is a great place to take Spanish classes.
Bolivia is relatively safe. Big cities have areas that should be avoided. Any seasoned traveler will have a sense of these areas and should avoid flashing expensive items around. Theft/Pick Pocketing is common like most places in Latin America.
for Moto Travellers
Riding Bolivia is amazing. There are barely any highways. Traffic is minimal between cites and towns. The roads are mostly not is great shape. So don’t rush, take your time and enjoy a slower place to Adventure riding.
For bike servicing and repairs, you’ll find everything in Santa Cruz de la Sierra.