XXXX Death Road XXXX

We’ve forgotten to tell you about the death road in La Paz!

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When you travel for a while you start to feel like you don’t actually encounter any real danger. Places that could be scary (The Amazon) are safeguarded enough to make it a clean in and out operation. Death Road in La Paz Bolivia is not one of those places.

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Starting at 4,700 m and finishing 1000 metres, a change of clothes and two blisters on our palms later, the road is no joke. The scenery is incredible (If you’re brave enough to look) as you go from high winter in the andes to high summer in the amazon rainforest. Cliff walls loom directly overhead and drop fresh Andean water onto you as you ride under. Taking one hand off your bike for even a second can result in a loss of balance brought on by one of the many billion offsetting rocks on the road.

The road is still used by cars, not many & mainly the people that live in the area. If you’re driving a car here you almost have a death wish, actually riding a bike here is just as stupid but so worth it! Since 1994 the deaths have gone down from 200-300 people a year to about 2 people a year. A few of these deaths are tourist biking over the edge so be careful!!

We booked with xtreme downhill and paid 300 Bolivianos per person which was a lot cheaper then at other places. I would recommend the company & our tour guide was amazing!

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Sucre

So. Here’s the reasons we haven’t been very active on this fantastic blog.

  1. We’ve spent the last 3 weeks in Sucre trying to perfect (at least improve) our Spanish. I can now proudly say that I can pronounce how old I am without saying that I have 28 anuses. Go us!
  2. Staying in Sucre for 3 weeks doesn’t give you that to much to blog about.
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Yea 3 weeks of this whiteboard

Anyway, Sucre is this beautiful little city in the middle of Bolivia where the weather is warm and the Spanish schools are many. We chose to study with Fenix and we have no regrets. We did a 3 week “pair” package where we got accomodation included AND we also had included 3 cooking classes (cook the Bolivian food right and you’re in for a treat) and 3 sessions of Wally. Wally is the Bolivian version of volleyball and squash and it’s the most fun sport I’ve ever played. The only bad thing about it is that you can’t play it anywhere else in the world as you need the walls to be the actual court and sometimes people break a foot or 2… If you’re ever in Bolivia, make  sure you play this wonderful game.

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What else have happened…..we’ve wined, dined, partied (as much as you can in Sucre), we’ve cooked, shopped, been to the movies, relaxed, bing watched Netflix (it’s not everyday you have a room, bathroom and kitchen to yourself) and we’ve had a few tanning sessions.

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Cafe Mirador is a must visit if you’re in Sucre!

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Sucre is the city of festivals which means you will almost always hear a trumpet and symbol band somewhere in the distance. If people here aren’t parading with instruments and traditional dance on the street then you might get the chance to see a fashion parade instead.

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We have now made it to Uyuni and it’s easy to say we were pretty happy to get moving again. Although we almost missed our bus. That’s what happens when you go out and come home at 5am and are meant to be picked up at 8 am. We woke up at 8.30 in panic and somehow made our bus even though we missed our ride.

In 90 minutes we are off on our 3 day adventure around the salt flats with the ending destination Chile. More about that then!

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At this dinner I ate a piece of what I thought was penne pasta. It wasn’t, I ate cow intestines….
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Party like rockstars!

 

Isla Del Sol, Bolivia

Sun and an island in the midst of the worlds highest traversable lake (What does that even mean)? The lakes high and you can traverse it, ok. It’s also humungous and about 53 shades of blue. It’s beautiful and full of little treasures. One of those being Isla Del Sol, the island of sun. 

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Isla Da Luna in the distance

An easy to organise 2 hour boat from Copacabana that leaves at 8:30 Am or 1:30 Pm for 25 Boliviano’s per person will land you on the shores of the sun Island. If you enjoy walking up hills at high altitude then get ready for the time of your life. The main village sits a hundred or so metres up from the docking point on the islands south side.

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The north side was previously closed off for tourists. Lots of different speculations exist about why, the most reasonable of which being that north siders are trying to block plans to develop fancy hotels across the island. Our hostel Hostel Joshua does organise boats and accomodation to this side of the island, so it is opening up a bit. 

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Say wassup
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There are donkeys everywhere too

 

We recommend an overnight stay so that you can manage to catch the sunset at any of the islands restaurants, most of which have balconies facing the sunset. We went to Pachamama’s restaurant as the menu had the most options. Do not miss the chance to try the lakes trout, the pizza was also gigantic. Another option is to try Las Velas the candle light restaurant. Or just pick any other place that suits you, it’s your holiday. 

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Other than sightseeing, a little bit of walking and eating the island doesn’t offer much more than an opportunity to sit back, stare at the stars and think about all the things that come into your mind when you remember just how infinite the universe is. 

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Costs:-

Accomodation: 100 Boliviano’s per person

Dinner: 129 Boliviano’s for a grande pizza, milanese trout, papas fritas, glass of wine and cola.

Boat: 25 per way

Island entry tax: 10 Boliviano’s per person.

 

 

Copacabana, Bolivia

This post explains how NOT to spend your first day in Bolivia.

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Well we made it to Copacabana & Lake Titicaca. Which of course called for a celebratory walk\climb (seriously, be prepared to use all your limbs to climb to the top) up a mountain to get the best views of the town. The views were a hit, all the rubbish not so much. The mountain ascent and descent then called for some victory drinks, which turned into 10 cocktails. Like 2 drunk tourist we then ran back to our hostel to escape the cold. Only to fall asleep for 3 hours which was just enough time to make sure every restaurant and shop in Copacabana was closed. Be smart, don’t do this.

We couldn’t sleep the entire night due to hunger and hangover. But here are some photos of the view from the mountain top and our hobbit house we’ve spent the last 2 nights in!

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#Travellerswhothink

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I also would like to shout out to hostel Joshua that we stayed in. A cosy place with AMAZING vegetarian & vegan food. Great service, clean and well priced ( $15 AUS pp, in a private room and with breakfast included!)

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The Hobbit house

Huacachina, Ica Peru

Teddy was devastated when he missed the La Guajira desert on Colombia’s north coast. So of course when we heard about Huacachina in Peru, heading there was a no brainer. Huacachina sits 3 hours south of Lima and about 15 minutes from the desert city if Ica. Its easily one of the coolest places we have been. Nestled between some of the worlds biggest sand dunes (the biggest being in neighbouring city Nazca) Huacachina is a desert oasis like no other.

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Spend the day paddling a boat on the lake, soaking up sunshine on sand dunes or walking up the behemoths to sand board and ski back down again. Everything about huachina is great, our hostel was the Desert Nights Hostel, which had the feel of a Saudi Arabian desert palace.

We spent our first day tanning in the desert sun. Drinking on our rooftop bar and eating delicious desert food. We wanted to ride the buggies across the desert sands for the sunset, unfortunately that week an accident occurred and all motorsports in the area were shut down. ATV tours were still operating in the desert next door but we wouldn’t recommend. It was less ‘tour’ and more ‘drive around in a circle for 40 minutes’.

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Day 2 had us on a wine and Pisco bodega tour. we definitely recommend, the bodega street is like something out of an old western and you get great value for money. We felt the Pisco three shots in and they just kept coming our way. If you like your Pisco strong and wine super sweet, then Ica is the place for you.

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That evening we hiked up the biggest dune we could find for the sunset, finished a bottle of Lucuma Pisco and a few beers at the top and boarded down in terrible fashion.

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If you like sand between your toes (and everywhere else you can think off) you will love this little place.

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Costs:-

ATV Tour: 60 Soles p/p (Price possibility raised due to lack of buggies)
Pisco Tour: 25 Soles p/p
Board rental: 5-8 Soles per board (We did meet someone selling for 35)
Hostel: 25 Soles p/p

Arequipa, Peru

I know, I know, it’s been a while. Sometimes that happens when you spend the majority of your time on busses.

So what’s been happening (Other than the copies amounts of music and Netflix we have gone through on our bus trips)?

We left Puerto Maldonado for Arequipa on the 7th of August, thinking we had an 8 hour bus ahead. It wasn’t, the bus was 15.5 hours long and very uncomfortable. But we made it, as always. We got off the bus to sunshine and 25 degrees, do I need to tell you this made us very happy. No, no we Don’t. Naturally this required a rooftop hostel, we chose World Backpackers.

Arequipa is the Medellin Peru, except the snow stays on mountain tops here, not little bags. What we mean is that it is the city of eternal spring in Peru. Weather is amazing for 11 months of the year. The Spanish influence on the architecture is also the strongest in Peru. We recommend staying here for at least 2 nights.

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View from the hostel roof

We celebrated my birthday (9th-11th) in a Airbnb that Teddy had organised. A beautiful apartment overlooking the city. We ate, drank, danced, played cards and ended our Friday in one of the many nightclubs around Plaza del Armas. Although I have never felt so out of place before, blond hair get’s you more attention in Peruvian clubs than we expected. So much so that we ended up in the VIP section within our first 10 minutes.

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We left Arequipa relaxed and ready for new adventures (yet another 13 hour bus, however we paid the extra and went with Cruz Del Sur, and what a difference) in Huacachina.

World Backpackers Hostel: $28 Soles each. A very nice place!

Bus Prices:- 

Puerto Maldonado to Arequipa = 70 Soles (Book your ticket at the station, much better value)

Arequipa to Ica = 120 Soles with Cruz Del Sur (You can find cheaper but for this bus trip we thought it was worth it).

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The Amazonas

 

A wide river, caiman, macaws, monkeys, spiders, giant rodents, giant otters & a bunch of native plants is all it takes to enjoy a couple of days in the Amazon. Puerto Maldonado was our access point, 300 soles per person was our price, 2 days 1 night was our stay, Carlos expeditions was our tour company and Daniel was our guide.

When getting a guide always be sure to ask if their grandfather left them with a native family in the rainforest for 3 years when they were 8. Daniel had the fortune of such an event and as a result was an expert on all the forest plants. And to think I complain about tinned tomato’s in the supermarket that don’t come with openers.

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seriously though…
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What is this?

Fun fact: the 20% of plants that you can use will either make you hallucinate, heal you or act as viagra. 

We heard the Amazon was incredibly dense and despite their abundance, hard to actually spot animals in. Maybe it was our small group of 3, early mornings or expert guide but we saw pretty much everything except for the Jaguar. 

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Capuchin Monkey

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There was also the worlds biggest, and possibly slowest rodent the Capybara. We saw the Capybara at night time and couldn’t take any photos, but here is a picture I drew just for you. In real life they look a little bit more lifelike.

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To scale for your convenience

The Capybara was actually the highlight of the animals, the size (As seen in our size comparison) makes them look like something that somehow survived the Jurassic period. 

Lake Sandoval Has the famed and allusive giant otters which are very hard to to see due to them being elusive. We got a good glance from a distance though.

We also learnt that in the rainforest, the real kings of the land are the wild pigs, the otters are the kings of the water, humans in kayaks are neither.

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Don’t forget your 4 layers of clothes to escape the mosquitos