Blogs from Bolivia, South America


I kept thinking it was the sea; it's so vast. Set at an altitude of 3,810m, and measuring some 190km by 80km, Lake Titicaca is by far the biggest high-altitude body of water in the world. Chugging out on the motorised ferry from Copacabana, it felt as though we were starting an epic voyage, and in some ways we were, for we were travelling to the sacred centre of the ancient Andean world. For the Inca, this was the birthplace of their dynasty and the place of the creation of the sun and the moon. The Isla de la Luna is small. We climbed stone steps to Inak Uyu, a temple formerly dedicated to the moon and staffed entirely by women; and at the edge of ancient Inca agricultural terraces, we found a little bit of ... read more
Wash Day
Going Home

We had a day relaxing in Rurrenabaque before we headed to the Pampas. We had a three hour drive from Rurrenabaque before we met our guide and his boat for the next few days. The boat trip to our cabanas was a few hours and included plenty of time looking for wildlife. We saw playful monkeys, turtles, lots of different birds, and pink dolphins. The next morning started with searching for Anacondas, we went walking through an area of wetlands keeping an eye out for any snakes. Personally I was walking along hoping I wasn't the one to find any kind of snake. I was lucky enough not to find a snake during our search however our guide did manage to find a cobra which he picked up and then a short time later he found ... read more
Touching the Cobra
Our visitor

Potosi was founded in 1545 when silver ore was discovered in Cerro Rico. It was this silver that funded the Spanish empire. Due to the large amounts of silver being extracted, Potosi became one of the largest and richest cities in the Americas. Unfortunately when the silver began to dry up, the city went into decline and the citizens into poverty. Nowadays there are still many men and children working in the mines in some of the most appalling working conditions hoping they will find a little silver. We only had a short time in Potosi so we decided not to visit the mines as we have visited other mines over the years and headed to the Casa de Moneda (the Mint). The museum is on the sight that has been the national mint since 1572. ... read more
Very old coins

South America » Bolivia » La Paz Department » La Paz July 1st 2014

Our night bus from Uyuni was uneventful and we arrived into La Paz just after six in the morning. We took a taxi to our B&B and were lucky enough to get our room straight away. There was another kiwi couple staying at our B&B so we all decided to head out to one of the downtown walking tours. Unfortunately when we arrived at the meeting place there was no guide so we left to explore La Paz on our own. About 15 minutes later we bumped into another guide running a walking tour to El Alto so we decided to join him for his tour. El Alto is the city above La Paz, traditionally it is where the people from the countryside settle. In El Alto we visited the witches market where you can buy ... read more
Our Starting Point
Above the Clouds

La Virgen Morena del Lago (the Dark Virgin of the Lake) lives in Copacabana, and she's responsible for the bizarre ritual of the Ch'alla. Immediately after the conquest Spanish treasure-seekers looted Inca temples around the lake, and priests destroyed any remaining shrines and idols, including a large female idol with a fish's tail at Copacabana. When subsequently a series of devastating frosts ruined crops, locals became convinced of the need for a new goddess and the town was rededicated in honour of the Virgen de la Candelaria; one of the most popular representations of the Virgin Mary during the Spanish conquest of the Americas. Francisco Tito Yupanqui, a local man of Inca heritage, noted that there was no image for the altar and set about producing one. His early efforts were rejected by Spanish priests, so ... read more
So much to choose from...
Candles, coins and virgins...
Rosettes, ribbons and champagne....


South America » Bolivia » La Paz Department » Coroico June 22nd 2014

It all started when a lorry driver brought them a monkey he'd run over. The owners of Sende Verde agreed to keep it, and now they have over four hundred animals, some rescued from illegal trafficking, some abandoned pets - all rescued from lives of misery. Visitors can see black spider, orange howler and capuchin monkeys at close quarters. Dangling from thin branches, bodies elongated, swinging hand over hand, snapping twigs, catapulting, somersaulting, scratching; the original bungy jumpers. Guests are discouraged from touching. 'We try to minimise contact with humans. 'Monkey parents' (human surrogates) get to touch, we don't', explained Jenny, a volunteer from Greece. Some monkeys are free to roam, others are caged, some tethered – depending on their psychological state. Watching two baby black spider monkeys play we can see why people find them ... read more
Red and Green Parrot
Blue and Yellow Macaw
Spider Monkey

ein gemütlicher tag in copacabana beginnt mit der besteigung des nicht zu unterschätzenden hausberges. fantastische weitsicht über beide buchten und blau bis zum horizont entlohnen für den steilen aufstieg. über einen resoluten steinweg führt (natürlich) auch ein kreuzweg und auf halber strecke thront eine gigantische jesus-statue mit der aufschrift, hier für weltliche güter, wie !wörtlich! autos, häuser und geld beten zu können. verrücktes südamerika! unter uns tummeln sich also die wenigen fischerboote zwischen zahlreichen ausflugsschiffen, kleine romantische steinhäuser mit strohgedeckten dächern schmiegen sich an die trockene küste. kleine steinmauern trennen felder und gärten, knorrige bäume erinnern weiterhin an griechenland. man könnte stunden hier oben verbringen, nur der frische wind treibt uns irgendwann wieder in die aufgeheizte stadt hinunter. der rest... read more
copacabana sunset

isla del sol muss heute erkundet werden, obwohl mir die fotos gestern in der agency nicht recht zusagen wollten… sehr bolivianisch stehen wir morgens um halb acht, wie durch den hostel-betreiber angegeben, vor dem frühstücksraum… nur: der ist zu! nach kurzer zeit stehen wir zu sechst und warten etwas entnervt, weil wir doch alle gleich zu unserem boot aufbrechen sollten und das desayuno für halb acht angesagt war. und dann, “nur” 15 bolivianische minuten später kommt victor, der eigentümer, mit einem gemütlichen “buon dia”, als wäre nichts dabei, das halbe hostel in der morgendlichen kälte warten zu lassen… die abfahrt des schiffes selbst verzögert sich dann ohnehin auch noch einmal um eine gute halbe stunde, doch sobald wir über das glatte türkis tuckern, ist die morgendliche unruhe schon wieder vergessen. schroffe klippen und gesteinsformationen wie nougat-s ... read more
los andes cercas
isla del sol

weiter geht es, nördlich, zum titicacasee. allerdings nicht, wie ursprünglich geplant, nach puno, sondern aufgrund zahlreicher backpacker-empfehlungen, nach copacabana. unser bus verlässt la paz mit nur einer lächerlichen stunde verspätung und wir bekommen wieder einmal mehr als erwartet für unser geld geboten. auf dem weg zeigen sich uns die suburbs von la paz mit gewaltigen anti-kriminalitäts-plakaten und immer einfacher werdenden häusern. hockende frauen am straßenrand pinkeln inmitten ihrer dicken rock-lagen. babies werden mitten auf der straße, auf dem beton, gewickelt. später mehren sich kuhherden auf den üppigen grasflächen, bevor der erste blick auf den titicacasee fällt. wie ein glitzernd blitzblaues band zeigt er sich, zwischen knallig gelbem gras und schneebedeckten bergketten. spiegelglatt und unter strahlend wolkenfreiem himmel liegt er unter uns, während der ... read more
cielo de bolivia
our balcony
volkstanz unbekannten ursprungs

South America » Bolivia » Chuquisaca Department » Sucre June 14th 2014

We flew from Rio to Sucre via Sao Paulo & Santa Cruz, by the time we arrived we were happy to be hearing Spanish again and looking forward to having some lessons to help us improve our understanding. We arrived at the Beehive hostel and were met by our friends, we previously met in El Chaltern, Cliff and Lorna. It was great to catch up and hear their stories from when we saw them last. Sucre is a beautiful city with many white washed buildings and plazas. Sucre is where the declaration of independence was signed and is the capital of Bolivia (however the parliament is based in La Paz). During our first weekend we did a mountain biking day trip in the surrounding area of Sucre. We jumped in the back of a ute with ... read more
Mountain biking near Sucre
Convent de San Felipe Neri
Local weaving

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