One Week in Bolivia: Copacabana at the Beautiful Lake Titicaca // La Paz // Uyuni

07.11.16 – 14.11.16

Crossing the border to Bolivia was luckily super easy – when we think back to the Central American countries, always demanding onward travel tickets, we appreciate the laid-back mentality here. 😉

1.Copacabana

Yes, there is indeed a small village called Copacabana in Bolivia – maybe it copied a little bit of the flair of his bigger brother in Brazil…? 😉 We definitely like this small village which is located right next to the Titicaca lake. Lots of bars, restaurants…and good weather. 🙂

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There is mainly only one thing to do here, which is taking a boat to the „Isla del Sol“. This is what we do the next day and are surprised by the beautiful lake. At some spots on the island, the lake looks like an ocean and is crystal clear! We learn from our guide that the pre-Inca culture believed that the sun was born on this island. A 3 hours walk from the northern part of the island to the southern part gives us time to enjoy the nature. Back in Copacabana, we watch the sunset over the lake – beautiful.

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2. La Paz

As we approach the outer borders of La Paz we are shocked: we knew it was big, but it seems endlessly huge! Although not the capital of Bolivia, it hosts the seat of the government. From many parts of the city, one can see the famous Illimani mountain. Additionally, La Paz is as high as almost 3,700m and hence, the highest administrative capital in the word!

Once we sneak our way through the complicated arrangement of streets by taxi, we actually like the vibe of La Paz. Dropping off our luggage in our hostel, we wanna discover the city, of course, with a free walking tour! 🙂 Here we learn for example about the famous San Pedro prison. Located in the middle of the city, the system there is known to be the craziest in the world: inmates have to pay for cells and and additionally, they pay an entry fee! A couple of years ago, one could even do a tour through the prison. If you had the wrong tour guide, it could happen that you never left the prison again. 😉 I suggest you to read the book „Marching Powder“ by Rusty Young, a “true story of friendship, cocaine, and South America’s strangest jail” [https://www.amazon.com/Marching-Powder-Friendship-Americas-Strangest/dp/0312330340].

One activity we had on our plan for La Paz was the famous „Death Road“ (Yungas road), which you can bike down. Years ago, this street was the only connection road from the remote villages to La Paz. Since the quality of the street was terrible, many deathly accidents happened there. Today, it is only permitted  for a few locals to access the street by car, otherwise only bikes are allowed. We weren’t quite sure if we were up for this adrenaline kick or not – we came to a point on our trip where the question was: „Do we really wanna do the activity or do we just do it so that we have done it??“

We’ve traveled pretty fast the past 1,5 weeks and were somehow „travel tired“…so we gave ourselves one day to think about the death road and then we’d see if we feel like doing it. Lazy day, lazy dinner in bed, lazy movie watching – that helped. 🙂 We were ready for the death road and it was a hell of a ride! Not of the speed or the danger (actually, we stopped so many times and had a very comfortable pace, we didn’t feel in danger at all), but for the landscape. From our starting point up at 4,700m (cold, windy, dry), down to 1,200m (jungle, humid, hot) it was a great trip. Right after this thrilling experience, the night bus took us to Uyuni where we planned to do the salt lake tour.

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3. Uyuni

This city’s only attraction is the famous „Saltar de Uyuni“, the biggest salt desert in the world! Since the tours start mainly at around 10:00am in the morning and we arrived at 7:30am, we decided to cancel our night in the hostel and signed up for a 3-days tour through the desert. 🙂 Mainly, our decision was influenced by the fact that on the last day, our driver would take us to San Pedro de Atacama in Chile. Hence, we didn’t have to take care of this transport. Getting some breakfast in the sleepy town (where Wifi was treated like it was gold: not available for everyone ;)) and, typically, snacks and lots of water, we were ready for the desert! Our jeep was loaded and our group was a nice mix of nations: 2 Australian guys, 1 French girl, 1 guy from Poland and of course the fantastic Slovak/German team. 😉 The first day we spend mostly in the desert itself, taking the most hilarious pictures in the salt lake: since everything is white there and one has no orientation of sizes, you can take such funny pictures by positioning objects in the right ankle. 😀

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We also saw the cactus island and watched the sunset in the desert. The first night we spend in a salt hostel – walls, bed and small table made of salt. 😉 Enjoying dinner together we went to bed early, because the electricity generator anyway turned off at 9:00pm. Surprisingly, hot showers were available…still wondering where they got the water from in this dry area…

The next day we saw the sunrise and headed further in the desert. We saw beautiful lagoons in different colors: one was super green whereas the other was pink-red! The algae together with the sun and wind do photosynthesis and create different colors. Additionally, we visited the geysers in the desert. This night was supposed to be freezing cold outside (temperatures below 0), so we decided to jump in the hot springs and enjoy the hot water as we had never before – the moon and the starts above us make it a perfect end to our day!

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The third day we mainly spent in the jeep and made our way to Chile – again, the border crossing was super fast and easy and bam, Chi-Chi-Chi-le-le-le, here we are. 🙂

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