10-19-2011

Part two of a three part series on Bolivia’s wild and wonderful Southwest Circuit.

Journal entry dated October nineteenth, twenty-eleven.  Location: 100km north of the Eduardo Avaroa National Reserve boundary.

Plumes of frigid breath float to the ceiling as we lay bundled in our cocoon of blankets and sleeping bags. The sun made her welcome presence known through the camper windows over an hour ago. Yet the temperature gauge stands firm at 15 degrees.

The low grumble of a hungry stomach kick starts the morning and motivates us into life. An attempt at goulash the previous evening, using ground beef bought in Uyuni’s central market, ended in disaster. The dusty town sits at 12,000’ and come to think of   Continue reading

Salty Wonder

Editors Note: this is part one of a three part series on Bolivia’s wild and wonderful Southwest Circuit.

The Salar de Uyuni was our first stop on a ten day journey throughout Bolivia’s incredible southwestern circuit. After stocking up on supplies and fuel, we struck out from the dusty town of Uyuni, a true tumbleweed outpost if there ever was one.

Planning a 25,000 mile journey sounds like an impossible task. People often ask how we could route such a lengthy course. The answer is, we don’t. Our planning goes country by country, often day by day. There are, however, highlights that have been on the map since the beginning. The Salar de Uyuni is one of them  Continue reading

All Good Things are Wild and Free

We booked it out of La Paz anxious to explore more of Bolivia’s wild land.  We had heard Bolivia referred to as the Tibet of the Americas due to it’s isolation, altitude, and rugged terrain.  We had a taste of it in Sorata, but we craved more.  Our decision to fork over $270 in visa fees was not for the hip modernity of La Paz but the wild frontier.

In that spirit we referred to our paper map and marked Sajama along the Chilean border as our next destination.  With it’s plains sitting above 14,000 feet (4350m) the park houses the world’s highest “forest,” and Bolivia’s highest peak, Volcán Sajama (6542m).  The forest may be underwhelming as the dwarf   Continue reading

Urban Boondocking

When changing the oil in Sorata, and giving everything on the underside a good once over, we noticed the drive axle boot was leaking grease. We must have jinxed ourselves. A week earlier, Logan boasted “We haven’t needed a single maintenance stop in over 10,000 miles.”

Luckily for us, there was an outstanding Swiss expat mechanic stationed at our next stop, La Paz. Ernesto is famous among the overlanding community and for good reason. Only when overlanding the PanAm, can you camp in a mechanic’s garage and share the space with fellow overlanders from Switzerland.

After replacing the front axle drive boot and clearing up a few other minor issues, Ernesto gave the Beast a clean bill of health. In   Continue reading

The Last Dirt Roads

Frazzled. We were frazzled to say the least. The road to Sorata had been paved about 90 percent of the way but the last 15km were brutal. We arrived just in time for the yearly town festival which goes on for an entire week. Festival can be summed up with just one word in Bolivia: drunk.

After weaving our way around bottomless potholes and rickety landcruisers carrying bleary eyed men waving one liter bottles, we arrived at Altai Oasis. We sat down to dinner and received an immediate uplift from the owner. After commenting briefly on the rough ride he smiled knowingly, “Enjoy Bolivia’s dirt roads, they’re some of the last dirt roads in the world.”

We truly feel   Continue reading

Puno’s Pretty Sister

Copacabana sits on the shores of Lake Titicaca. Extravagant hotels perch on the hillside overlooking the beach scene. The town is popping on the weekend, every trout stall is full and priests walk along the beach blessing the cars of visiting Peruvians. Our first stop in Bolivia turned out to be a boondocker’s paradise. We woke to the sounds of the lake, lapping luxuriously on the shoreline.

Leaving this tiny resort town involves a short ferry crossing, our third water crossing of the trip (and by far the shoddiest). With the weekend behind us, we left town with all the other beach revelers and set our sights on the mountains of Bolivia.

 

 

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Bolivia Border Crossing (specifics for US residents)

The Peru into Bolivia Border Crossing at Yunguyo

Written by Logan and Brianna Pribbeno
More information at http://PanAmNotes.com

We crossed from Peru into Bolivia at the Yunguyo border town on a Sunday afternoon. This is a relaxed border mainly used for travel to Copacabana. There is a one hour time change between the two countries. We arrived at the Peruvian immigration office at 1PM (Peru time) and finished six minutes later. The Bolivian entry process was similarly quick, we were in and out in less than thirty minutes.

Drive all the way up to the chain barrier on the Peru side, park on the right. Get your tourist cards stamped at the police office (green building) across the street (left).   Continue reading