Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Summer 2012: Beautiful, BOOMING, Bolivia.

Give your South American adventure a real sting with a visit to one of the most fun loving countries on the continent. Hospitable, action packed and CHEAP, live dynamite, unearthly scenery, World topping statistics and a love for most things frowned upon by the Western World. BOOM – welcome to Bolivia!

Here are four experiences that stand out as unique, chilling and memorable not only from my time in Bolivia, nor just South America, but from anywhere I’ve travelled before.

No1 – La Paz and its Nightlife
The locals claim it’s the best, the travellers love it and in this vibrant, party pumping City it’s easy to see why. Join the games in the lively hostels before the draw of the City offers multiple clubs playing any and all music you want – everyone is here to dance. The dorm beds are usually pretty empty until around the 5am mark.
Best Bit – Not always advised but accept an invite to a Bolivian after party and see how the residents of La Paz really let themselves go.

No2 – Surviving Death Road
Hordes of companies offer the opportunity to downhill mountain bike ‘the World’s most dangerous road’. The more you pay, the better the bike. Since being built in the 1930s it’s claimed 200-300 lives a year. With vertical drops of 2500feet, the environment is as intimidating as it is beautiful. Starting at 4,700 metres above sea level, you finish in sub-tropical climates at a lowly 1000m. The narrow road, twisty hair pins and spine tingling views are unlike most leisurely bike rides you’ll have taken before!

Best Bit -  Strictly speaking ‘El Camino de la Muerte’ is mainly traffic free now a days but, be last to leave for La Paz at the end of the day, have a chat with your guide and let your driver scare the pants off you with a drive back up Death Road in the dark.

No3 – Play with Dynamite
Discover the labyrinth of mines that once made Potosi the World’s richest City. Being underground in a claustrophobic, dusty, hot space has never been more fun. No longer the wealthiest but still the highest the traditional way of mining silver - from a mountain experts said should have collapsed 8 years ago - is still in full swing. Take in the tails of the mining gods and devils whilst sharing 96% alcohol. Squeeze up rickety ladders and buy silver straight from the hands of the miners.

Best Bit – Again, it isn’t strictly allowed but play your cards right and you could have live dynamite in your mouth moments before your guide buries it, completes 10 press ups on it, and lets it blow smithereens out of the ground – unforgettable!

No4 – See a different World
Wrap up warm and head south to 10,000sq kilometres of….salt – it’s far more special than it sounds. The largest of their kind on earth, the Salt Flats of Uyuni are breath taking. Get creative with your photography, experience the sub-zero temperatures at night and sleep in a salt hotel, the 3 day tour takes in landscapes you could, without pictures, only create with an over active imagination.

Best Bit – Staring in disbelief at where you are. Always wanting ‘5 more minutes’ to get the perfect optical illusion with your camera and seeing who can last the longest at 50mph on the roof of your 4x4 in winds of uncomfortably large minus figures.

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