Though we only spent six weeks in Bolivia, it has easily become one of our favorite countries as the people are friendly, the food is cheap, and the cycling is absolutely spectacular. We cycled up a dozen or so 4,000-5,000m passes, camped in the -20C chilly high altiplano, and passed through and stayed in a multitude of small villages. We struggled across frozen streams, survived steep climbs in the humid and hot Yungas region, and ate the typical “lunch,” and “dinner,” of soup plus a plate of potatoes, rice, and meat whenever we passed through towns. We also got to do a little mountaineering when we climbed Huyana Potosi (6,000m). Without further ado, here it is; Bolivia through the lens.
This lush green route has become a highlight because the cycling is relatively easy, the villages are picturesque and friendly as there is virtually no tourism besides cyclists, and the scenery is so different than what we have previously experienced in Bolivia. The road, which is carved out of the mountainside, looks a whole lot like the Indian/Nepali roads throughout the foothills of the Himalayas, and the rushing rivers and towering green hillsides are a welcome change after so much sandy nothingness in the altiplano. After an easy morning ride we ended up spending the day and night in a typical quaint village before heading out the next morning for ten kilometers of steep switchbacks down to the river, and then a 1,000m evaluation climb up and over our second pass. We then continued down and up again (and then down and up again… flat isn’t a word which exists out here) until we found the only flat ground around, a soccer field which belonged to a cluster of a dozen or so houses which we hadn’t even been able to see from the road.
Though I started out on this trip as an extreme minimalist; living on five dollars a day as I slept every single night in my tent and ate a whole lot of oatmeal and pasta, Kevin and I have decided to take a different approach to this last leg of our journey as we know that financially we are going to make it. We have decided that instead of always sleeping in our tent, we will start staying in hostels more often, and as the food in Bolivia is cheap, we will eat out whenever we please. Basically, we have thrown any notion of a budget out the window in order to fully enjoy our last few countries without restraint.
After stamping into Bolivia we began on what is bound to be one of the highlights of our whole tour: the lagunas route through the Bolivian altiplano. Though I’ve actually already been through the typical lagunas route (on a four day jeep tour three years ago), this time around Kevin and I will be taking a longer and less traveled route, and since this area is completely different and a million times better on the bike, I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity to do it again. For the next 500km we will be pushing our bikes through sandy jeep tracks, sleeping at over 4,000m every night, and enjoying the mountains and funny colored lakes this region has to offer. I’ll be writing along the way (I’m currently writing in our tent next to a gorgeous green lake), and then posting the whole lagunas series (with a new entry preset to publish every few days) once we have wifi. This route really speaks for itself, so I’ll let the photos (and their captions) tell the story. All of these photos were taken within 15km of entering into Bolivia… Just imagine how amazing the next few thousand will be!
“It was amazing how you could get so far from where you’d planned, and yet find it was exactly were you needed to be.”
That’s right, instead of making our way through Europe as we had originally planned, I just bought two flights out to Buenos Aires where we will begin our year long adventure through the Andes! (When I told my best friend that on a complete whim only hours after first voicing the itinerary change idea I bought the tickets, she responded with “classic shi move!” so, as you can see, changing plans just seems to be what I do best). We have many reasons for this drastic itinerary change, some of which I will cover below, but first off, a huge thank you is in order. I was able to buy these two plane tickets with the money I have earned along the way from writing for another blog as well as the money people have donated throughout my trip in support of this blog. So, a huge thank you to everyone who has helped me out because without you flying to a whole new continent wouldn’t have even been on the table. In return, I promise to deliver as many beautiful pictures and cultural stories I can once we arrive, and trust me, cycling through those gorgeous mountains is bound to bring a whole lot of adventure!