Holiday in Bolivia

Holiday in Bolivia

Going on holiday to Bolivia is not a statement you often hear. Bolivia is a beautiful country, but appeals more to the imagination of adventurers than the average holidaymaker. This is partly due to its pristine nature, rugged landscapes, high altitudes, fairly conservative population and many protests. Bolivia is therefore less touristy than, for example, neighboring countries Peru, Chile and Brazil.

On vacation to Bolivia

A holiday in Bolivia can provide a more authentic introduction to life in the Andes Mountains. Bolivia has a colorful cultural history that has been well preserved by the predominantly conservative attitude of its people. You can especially admire examples of this during regional and national holidays, such as Independence Day, All Souls’ Day, Semana Santa and Carnival. On these days you can often enjoy colorful parades full of traditional costumes, music and dance. Especially the carnival in Oruro is a wonderfully beautiful experience of international allure. However, it is not touristy and mainly intended for the residents of Oruro, in addition, a lot of spirits are consumed. That is why it is better for your own safety if you only visit this carnival accompanied by someone from Oruro.

Culture in Sucre

Although Oruro hosts the most beautiful carnival in Bolivia, Sucre is the most cultural city in Bolivia. Sucre is also the official capital of Bolivia. There are many beautiful colonial churches and other buildings to admire. In addition, there are also pleasant parks, interesting museums, cultural shows, good restaurants, cozy bars, an impressive cemetery, fossil dinosaurs, footprints and beautiful hiking trails. Sucre actually has everything for a safe holiday in Bolivia.

Potosí and its silver mine

A visit to Potosí cannot be missed on a holiday to Bolivia. The silver found in the nearby Cerro Rico (Rich Hill) mine made Potosí one of the largest and richest cities in the world in the 17th century! Since the 18th century, much less silver has been found and nowadays the focus is mainly on the mining of tin and zinc. Experts do think that there is still a lot of silver in the mine, but mainly at a greater depth. There is no safe way to mine that silver yet.

Tourists in Cerro Rico

A new source of income for Cerro Rico is tourism. Every day, dozens of holidaymakers from all over the world visit the higher-lying mines of Cerro Rico during their Bolivia holiday. This is a special experience in several ways, not only because these corridors are still used by miners, but also because some of those corridors are hundreds of years old. For safety reasons, tourists are not allowed to descend too deep into the mine. In addition, to keep your holiday in Bolivia safe, every visitor to the mine receives a pair of boots, overalls, a helmet and a head lamp. That helmet is certainly not an unnecessary luxury for tall Dutch people, because the corridors are carved out at a minimum height for the much shorter Bolivian man.

Salar de Uyuni tours

The most popular holiday destination in Bolivia is the Salar de Uyuni. This huge salt flat near Uyuni is the largest in the world. It is a surreal place, where you can take special pictures. In addition, one of the largest lithium reserves in the world is located under the thick salt layer. Most holidaymakers visit the Salar de Uyuni during a day tour, but there are also travelers who go on holiday to Bolivia to undertake the three-day Salar de Uyuni tour. In this tour you will not only visit the salt flat and the cactus island, but also the surrounding desert. During this tour you will travel 3 days by 4×4 through the Eduardo Avaroa National Reserve and sleep in simple shelters. The main attractions are: Laguna Colorada, flamingos Laguna Verde, the Dali Rocks, a natural hot spring, vicuñas, viscachas, a smoking volcano, volcanic mud pools and more! These volcanic mud pools are located at an altitude of more than 4800 meters above sea level and it is important to keep calm at that altitude. Altitude sickness is no fun and can even be life-threatening. It is therefore also important to check that the tour company has an oxygen bottle in the car to keep your Bolivia holiday safe, even at high altitude.

Bolivia’s Death Road

Safety measures are also very important for the holidaymaker who wants to ride a mountain bike on the so-called ‘Death Road’ on holiday to Bolivia. The route starts at La Cumbre at an altitude of 4700 m and ends 64 km further just before Coroico at an altitude of 1200 m. The route is part of the old road between La Paz and the Amazon Rainforest. Because there were an average of 209 accidents and 96 deaths annually, the Inter-American Development Bank declared this route the most dangerous road in the world in 1995! To make traffic in Bolivia safer, a new alternative road was built a few years ago. Through traffic between La Paz and the Amazon region now runs on the new route, so that cyclists on the original route will hardly encounter any traffic. Largely unpaved, without guardrails and with abysses of up to 1000 meters deep, the Death Road in Bolivia is still not safe. To date, at least 21 cyclists have already driven into the abyss. So choose a good local operator for your mountain bike tour.

Protests in Bolivia

When I was still guiding holiday trips through Bolivia, I often told the group during my first briefing that there was a 50% chance that we would be confronted with protests and/or roadblocks. When I look back at all the trips I’ve accompanied, I wasn’t that far off. Bolivia is known for its difficult relationship between population and government. In their first 184 years of independence, they have worn out no fewer than 195 governments. It was only after the election of indigenous president Evo Morales in 2005 that the average number of government changes went down. However, you still have to take possible protests into account during a holiday in Bolivia. The most common protests are from the miners, but farmers, police, teachers and ordinary people also regularly take to the streets. In the Netherlands fireworks are sometimes thrown during protests, in Bolivia miners sometimes throw dynamite sticks. It seems needless to say that to keep your Bolivia holiday safe, it is best to stay far away from these protests. If you encounter roadblocks during your journey, do not try to pass them, but find another route. In all the years that I have accompanied travel through Bolivia and organized travel through Bolivia myself, we have always found a solution. We at Fairtravel4u can now also use this experience to safely bring our customers from A to B on their holiday in Bolivia.

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