A Travellerspoint blog

May 2012

Bolivia - Coroico

27 °C

Coroico a very scenic spot to stop for a few days. With a population of 2,500 people it´s set overlooking a lush valley, surrounded by green mountains as well as Coca and Coffee plantations. It´s sub-tropical climate was a great relief from the harsh cold and dry climate of La Paz.

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We stayed for a few days in a resort with a restaurant, pool, garden, our own room with a balcony and stunning view ($10 each per night!). Filled in our days taking in the view, walking into the town centre for a ´menu del dia´ (typical Bolivian offering, hearty soup, main and dessert full of health!) and watching the local soccer teams on what must be the best placed soccer pitch in the world!!

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Bolivia - La Paz

17 °C

After a cold yet comfortable overnight bus, we arrived in La Paz, the biggest city in Bolivia, set in a valley at 3,800m, spectacular.

Bustling city, lots of local dress and one of our favourite things about Bolivia, great street food! We had a great time in La Paz, exploring the narrow winding streets up to Killi Killi lookout (not an easy climb at this altitude!), the plazas, old buildings and the quirky witches market.

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We used it as a base for our Ride and River trip as well as a few days in Coroico, at the end of ´Death Road´. The Worlds Most Dangerous Road is the road where buses, cars and trucks battle to avoid the sheer drops that plung 400m without barriers.

We rode down it, so much fun. It goes for about 66kms from 4,700m to 1,200m. The first part is asphalt and makes up part of the new safer death road, so you could fly - Paul had a GPS on his phone and clocked 70km/h, passing buses and trucks (all safe though!). The dirt section is a little scarier, but amazing - slightly more control, concentration and LESS speed needed.

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We haven´t quoted any companies or hostels on this blog but if you do Death Road, make sure you do your research. There are some agencies that offer poor quality bikes. We went with Barracuda, very good.

At the end, we decided to stay in Coroico for a few days...set at 1,700m it has a perfect climate...somewhere warmer before going back up to La Paz.

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Bolivia - Sorata to Rurrenabaque "Ride and River"

25 °C

Brilliance...best experience probably possible (if you are a mountain biker)!

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A five day trip starting at bleak icy mountain tops at 4,700 metres, down to sea level at the edge of the Amazon. The trip started off with 2 days downhill on a mountain bike covering about 120kms...it was pretty tough riding for a non-biker over loose gravel, sharp turns (on cliff edges...without barriers) so Lucy quickly learned how to control a mountain bike! And it was absolute heaven for Paul especially as the route provided us with breath-taking views across valleys as we descended down into civilisation again. We stayed in some small towns along the way, where we were cooked some tasty local meals.

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These adrenaline packed days were then followed by 3 days down river on a dug out canoe boat, including jungle treks, swimming in rivers and waterfalls! Fantastic food from our cook who served us while we were putting downriver towards Rurrenabaque in the Amazon jungle.

Rurrenabaque is a small town on the bank of the Beni river. There are a few gringo hang out spots where we grabbed some food and drinks with people from the trip as we bumped into them around the little town! We also attempted the hot and sweaty climb up to the lookout with great views back across the lush scene below!

To avoid the hellish 20-35hr bus ride back to La Paz, (depeding on how often the bus breaks down or gets bogged) we decided on the flight, leaving from humid tropical weather and returning to the high altitude cold climate of La Paz in just 40 minutes as mountains literally soared past the window in our small plane!

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Bolivia - Sucre

20 °C

The capital of Bolivia is Sucre, white buildings, big plazas, vibrant atmosphere and sat spectacularly in a valley. We loved Sucre and it became our home for 2 weeks, even joining our hostel owner for a tasty home cooked lunch with her extended family.

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With good company in our hostel we kicked back, took on some more Spanish lessons and played numerous games of 500 over numerous bottles of wine... our daily routine involved heading to the local market for a massive fruit salad with 12 fruits, yoghurt, condensed milk, coconut, oats - all for about $1.

Sucre seems to be the city in which all northbound backpackers from Chile and Argentina converge as we ran into more people than at home. Good times and a great place to relax.

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Paul thought we were in Jurassic Park on our trip to the Dinosaur Park just out of town. So he followed it up with a day trip to Humaca hiking for 7 hours in the Bolivian mountains to see footprints up close, incredible.

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