Bolivia Roundup

Sitting by a 1,000 year old cactus on the Isla del Pescado in the Salar de Uyuni

Sitting by a 1,000 year old cactus on the Isla del Pescado in the Salar de Uyuni

I spent 64 days in Bolivia, far longer than I’d anticipated and a number sure to be unmatched by any other country on my trip. Nearly half of my time was spent in the Yungas and the rest was split between the area around La Paz and the southwest of the country. My average daily budget was $26, balancing splurges like the Mashaquipe Lodge¬†with super cheap, nearly free days in Quime and Suri.

Continue reading

My Experience with Bolivian Bloqueos

Trucks wait on the road to Uyuni for the protest to be disassembled

Trucks wait on the road to Uyuni for a protest to be disassembled

Bolivians are generally a very tranquil, happy, satisfied group of people – except when they’re not. And when they’re not, their method of expressing their discontent is usually to block major road arteries until their message is heard. When this happens, travel between major cities can become a hassle and a headache, something that I experienced twice during my two months in the country.

The first blockade I experienced was heading into Oruro from the north. There were two protest groups: teachers and miners. I got into a shared taxi at Conani and drove about 45 minutes to the town of Caracollo, where I was told to get out and walk. I wasn’t told how far to walk, but I saw everyone else walking and I just followed. It actually turned out that the people I saw walking weren’t other travelers, but the protesters themselves, and I accidentally found myself within a group of teachers protesting for higher wages. As this is a cause I can get behind, I wasn’t too distressed.

Continue reading