Bolivia has a most interesting, unique street food from all the South American countries I’ve been in.
Street food is very popular in Andean region. Old ladies selling on the street fresh made empanadas, papas rellenas and other snacks, as well as dinner which you can eat sitting on a small plastic chair in the middle of the crowd. We never cooked for ourselves in Bolivia – markets offered us variety of unusual, interesting food and cheap lunches in so called “comedores”
My south american love, my obsession. It is a variation of oven-baked empanada, most popular snack in Latin America, but salteña is special. The filling is super yummy – chicken or ground beef along with eggs, potatoes, carrots, and peas, drowning in sweet and spicy gravy. They are very juicy – eating them without making a mess need years of practice. Best achieved by biting the end off and drinking the gravy before eating the rest.
La Paz has so many crazy things to show you…
Woman in ‘pollera’ skirt – “Cholita” – was traditionally a lower class women in Bolivia (like India’s lower caste). For decades, Aymara and other indigenous women were discriminated against. In 2006 Evo Morales – the country’s first indigenous president – was elected. Indigenous people got the same civil rights as the rest of the country. Now they are working as lawyers, doctors, in banks, in secretarial jobs in offices.
Tradition of Quechua and Aymara lives on. Read More
1. It’s a new-born city
Throughout 500 years of colonial history the country’s wealth have been concentrated mostly in La Paz, Sucre and Potosí. While in 1700’s Potosí was the most populated city of Americas (both South and North), Santa Cruz had only 3500 inhabitants.
If you could take a look at Santa Cruz in 1960’s or 70’s – you’ll see completely different city. Santa Cruz has grown very fast since the end of 20th century, because of the petroleum and natural gas mining in the surrounding areas. Foreigners, who came for the gas and oil explorating changed this city into what you can see today – the economic heart of the country.
2. It is beginning on Another Bolivia Read More
Laguna Colorada, or the Red Lagoon, is a shallow salt lake located in Bolivia, within Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve, very close to the border with Chile. One of Bolivia’s altiplano wonders, the lake and its nearly-extinct flamingo population draw visitors from all over the world. Read More
Salar de Uyuni located in Bolivia on the border with Chile at 3656 m above sea level. It left behind by ancient lake evaporated long ago. During the rain season water from nearby lakes overflow which causes floods in the salt flat. Uyuni turns into a giant, stunning mirror. The best period for visiting Uyuni if you want to see it in all the reflection’s magnificence – February, March.
Why does this place attract tourists from all over the world?
It was one of the most picturesque and impressive places of the whole trip to South America fo me. More precisely, the places were delightful and we would gladly visit them without an organized tour – in such landscapes I prefer to stay all by myself or with a close friend, but not with an annoying guide always trying to take a photo in “the bride on the palm” style (and others exquisite tricks with a perspective).
Uyuni is not only a glistening white salt cover spanning for hundreds of kilometers, but also lakes of all sorts of colors from the unearthly green to the blood-red with thousands of flamingos; it is geysers spewing from the ground and hot natural pools, it is deserts from Dali’s surreal paintings and, of course, mountains and volcanoes, it is a crystal clear sky full of stars … Really, this is one of the most breathtaking landscapes that I’ve ever seen in my life.
2 days, 1 night. About 50 km trek. Difficulty – hard (due to the altitude and unclear trek to glacier). Hike only to Laguna Chillata – medium.
School books of geography confusing me – almost all of them say that the capital of Bolivia is La Paz. I perfectly remember it from my classes back in time (I liked how La Paz sounds). Even many Bolivians in conversation call La Paz as a capital. Wikipedia says that Sucre is the one. So where is the truth?
My parents and friends kinda travelling with me around the world, they have to open maps and books again searching for the place I’ve visited on this small round ball called Earth. “Mom, I’m in the capital.” “Mom, it was not the capital, now we are in the real capital.” And where’s the daughter?
I would never even think that one day I will end up in Bolivia or Paraguay – they sounds too far, too scary, we don’t know that much about Latin America honestly.
The real capital of the country is Sucre. It is written in the Constitution of Bolivia. Here is situated the Supreme Court of the country, but Government and other important guys, as well as all the wealth and treasures of the country are located in La Paz. Little Sucre is so inconspicuous, sleepy, calm that often people call ‘capital’ large, well-known La Paz. Capital in our minds is something big, noisy, busy.
Grutas San Pedro (Cave of San Pedro). 24 km, 6 hours + 1 hour in the cave, 280 m elevation difference.
There is a small entrance fee.
On the very first day we went to the San Pedro caves and planned to hike up a lovely hill with a view point after visiting caves. We left hostel rather late, the sun was very strong already. It is good 11 km walk to the cave (according to Google maps, and 16 km according to Bolivian maps, which I stopped to trust after several hikes ), without a significant difference in altitude. The most difficult thing was to find the beginning of the trail – routes are marked in this country quite bad. The owner of our hostel explained us how to find a trail in the woods – and then we walked along the main road all the time. Local people greeted us, many tried to chat a bit – the atmosphere in Sorata is very friendly, although before, they say, it was unsafe here.
I paid Peru very short visit, 9 days only. I had to cross the whole country within 64 hours in stuffy and sweaty buses, from the coast of Ecuador, where I worked in a travel agency to Arequipa, where I planned to see my friend whom I met in the hostel in Ecuador and we decided to travel together following 4 month.
The road from Puno to Copacabana (two cities on the coast of Titicaca, one is in Peru, other is in Bolivia) and border crossing didn’t take us long. The border was located in the middle of the market with old ladies in colorful skirts who were selling sweets and snacks. “Russia?” – The border guard stamped my passport with a wide smile on his face. “Eres bienvenida! At the border, we put a visa only for 30 days, but if you want to stay longer, it can be easily extended in any major city.”
Bolivia greeted us by colors of beautiful skirts and funny hats, fragrances of bakeries, party in honor of a certain saint who passes right in the middle of two borders, ie. theoretically in Nowhere.
Copacabana. Not a luxurious Brazilian beach, but just a tiny town on the coast of Titicaca, living on the tourism from cruises to the islands and countless hostels and restaurants. We did not like it – high prices, guides trying to sell you their tours in every corner, generally it didn’t have good vibes. We bought food, gas, water and we went to the Isla del Sol with our tents to camp. Read More
The Galapagos happened spontaneously in my life. Preparing my world travel at home, I tried to find an opportunity to visit islands on a budget. I was looking for volunteering, couchsurfing, work, ticket’s sales – everything. I’ve found some interesting projects and kept them for the future. And already in Ecuador, I spontaneously jumped to the first plane with a cool German guy I met on my way and we went for the 5-days adventure in one of the most amazing places in the world, without any plans.
We passed serious multi-level check before landing, filled in countless papers and even got into the criminal list as three-mandarin-importers (which we took for the breakfast) – importing natural products like wood, food,etc to the islands is strictly prohibited. Read More
The Galapagos Islands is an archipelago of 16 volcanic islands located 1000 km from the South American mainland. When these islands appeared in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, neither animals nor plants existed on them. They arrived there later – with wind, currents, on wreckages of ships. Read More