Bolivia

Summa

Summarum

days spent:  54
km travelled:  5’808
nights camping:  4% (hostels are so cheap compared to Chile and Argentina!)
lowest and highest point: 160 masl around Trinidad in the Northern lowlands / 5’033 masl at the Aduana coming from Chile 📷
lowest and highest temperature: 2.5°C La Cumbre del Cristo (La Paz to Coroico) / 35°C Región El Beni, Northern lowlands
money spent: 35 US$ per person and day
includes spares and other stuff ordered from Switzerland
average fuel price: Purchasing fuel in Bolivia is not as straight forward as in other countries. Bolivia has a fixed fuel price, which differs considerably for locals (3.74 BOB/l; 0.55 US$/l) and foreigners (8.7 BOB/l; 1.30 US$/l). There is only one grade of fuel available, which is notoriously of bad quality. We have an inline fuel filter installed and never had any problems.
Around La Paz many fuel stations refuse to sell fuel to foreigners altogether.
In the Altiplano you can ask and haggle for fuel ‘sin factura’ and will usually pay 6 to 7 BOB/l (keep in mind that the difference between the local price and the agreed price then goes directly into the pocket of the person selling you the fuel (= a profit of up to 100%)).
Around Sucre and Cochabamba you can easily get fuel for the local price when parking your bike outside the gas station, out of view of the cameras, and filling up your jerry can(s) (this is also what many locals do when their vehicle is unregistered and thus without license plate).
In the northern lowlands we could fill up the motorbikes directly for the local price without discussion.
Sometimes when filling your jerry can you’re asked for a copy of your passport or your Bolivian ID, which you don’t have of course, but which a friendly local might supply. Often there is a restriction to the amount you can buy too. They told us this is in order to keep track of the amount of fuel purchased per person, as cocaine production needs a lot of fuel. But many obviously Bolivians didn’t have to hand in a copy while we did, so maybe it’s just an excuse to annoy foreigners…
This is one of the reasons why many overland travellers can become fed up with travelling in this country. But for motorbikes with small tanks and a jerry can at hand it’s not all that bad and can be rather seen like a little haggling game you play every day. 📷
All in all we paid an average of 4.74 BOB per liter (0.65 US$/l).
average fuel consumption: Big difference depending on altitude and road surface:
from 5 l/100km on the sandy laguna route to 3.5 l/100km on the smooth tarmac in the lowlands
lost: Screw holding LBBs right hand guard in place
Nora’s wrist watch
Both airfilterbox sidecovers – in the middle of the sand section of the laguna route where you have about 1000 different tracks to follow back.
found: 1 Boliviano coin
The two sidecovers!! In the middle of nowhere after 35km of driving back searching the sand. 📷
broken:  LBBs chain guard (2nd time)
fixed: Welded LBBs chain guard, hopefully for good
Replaced LBBs Airhawk seat cover with nice Bolivian cloth
Replaced FYHs chain and sprockets 📷
punctures:  1 on LBBs rear at 4’739 masl, a record! 📷
best route(s): Laguna route – endless offroad beauty 📷
Camino de la muerte (The Death Road) – not so dangerous anymore but still scary if you don’t like heights 📷
Uncia via Anzaldo to Torotoro – up and down and up and down on deserted gravel roads 📷
From the ferry in San Pedro de Tiquina to Copacabana – the best views of Lake Titicaca 📷
hardest section: Searching for the hot springs near the volcano Olca – not knowing if we have enough gasoline for the way back 📷
San Ignacio de los Moxos to Trinidad – crossing muddy floodplains in the rainy season (1 hour to cover 1.5km of ankle-deep mud, expecting it to go on for another 100km)
best sleeping place: Wild camping in the sand dunes in the Southwest, far from the well-travelled Laguna route – it was eerily quiet with no other human being around for many many kilometres 📷
Best food and/or beverage: Tomato Lasagna in Sucre
Trout in Copacabana (despite the heavy metals)
best moment: Realising that one can actually enjoy riding on sand
Seeing Laura, a friend from Switzerland, again
Enjoying a delicious pizza and a dark local beer in Uyuni after completing the laguna routa – back in civilisation!
worst moment: Realising we lost the covers of our airfilter boxes (we took them off to improve engine performance in the heights)
Suffering from altitude sickness in La Paz
favourite place(s): Laguna route – when no tour jeeps are around
Sara Ana – if you bring enough mosquito repellent 📷
Isla del Sol – far away from any engine noise 📷
Cochabamba – a lively non-touristy Bolivian city with good restaurants
Cuevas waterfalls close to Samaipata 📷
Petrified dinosaur foot prints in Torotoro 📷
learned: Replace a bad chain as early as possible. It just gets more expensive if you wait until the sprockets are worn out too.
Suzuki motorcycles are not at all common in Bolivia.
Sprockets are very specific to each motorbike model
food on the road: Warm Quinoa Salad
Banana Curry
observations: Travelling with a motorcycle is inherently different from all other travels we have known so far – the journey itself is truly at the center.
If OSM classifies it as hiking trail, in Bolivia it often means it’s a fairly good gravel road.
If anything is currently not available, Bolivians tell you that TODAY they don’t have it on offer. It might be that they just sold the last piece 5 minutes ago, or that they didn’t and won’t have it for weeks.
About 10% of all vehicles in Bolivia don’t have license plates. This explains the common sight of people transferring fuel from jerry cans to the tanks of their cars and motorbikes parked across the street from the gas stations.
A sign along the road warning of entering and exiting trucks from a side road should be taken seriously. The truck drivers expect you to give way.

Our route in Bolivia


Favourite Shots

Blog Posts (only in German)

Von Chile nach Bolivien über die Lagunen Route (Tag 111 – 115)
12. – 16. Januar 2017 Wir finden einen ruhigen Camping am Rande von San Pedro de Atacama und bereiten uns auf die Laguna Route vor. Diese ist aus verschiedenen Gründen berühmt-berüchtigt unter (Motorrad-) Reisenden. Von Chile herkommend steigt man gleich am ersten Tag von 2400 auf über 5000 müM auf und hat keine Möglichkeit die erste
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Boliviens Südwesten (Tag 116 – 122)
17. – 23. Januar 2017 Anstatt uns direkt nach Uyuni zu wenden, beschliessen wir noch einen kleinen Umweg anzuhängen. Von Monika, einer ehemaligen Arbeitskollegin von mir, haben wir den Tipp erhalten, eine warme Quelle am Fusse des Vulkans Olca zu besuchen. In Bezug auf den genauen Standort haben wir nicht viel mehr Information erhalten, ausser
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Ins Zentrum Boliviens (Tag 123 – 132)
24. Januar – 02. Februar 2017 Von Tupiza aus geht es wieder in die Höhe, Richtung Potosí. Auf dem Weg dahin sehen wir auch die Vorteile eines Besuchs in Bolivien während der Regenzeit, im Februar ist Kaktusblüten-Saison. Potosí empfängt uns denkbar ungastlich. Die Stadt ist in dichte, graue Nebelschwaden gehüllt und es regnet in Strömen.
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Samaipata und Santa Cruz de la Sierra (Tag 133 – 137)
03. – 07. Februar 2017 Zwei Wege führen von Cochabamba nach Samaipata, welches in den Bergen westlich von Santa Cruz liegt und sowohl angenehmes Klima, als auch Stimmung verspricht. Und beide Strassen befinden sich laut iOverlander ‘under construction’. Das bedeutet oftmals schlechte Strassenbedingungen (Schlaglöcher, Rumpelpiste, Schlamm und/oder Staub), viele Lastwagen und Wartezeiten. Um Pablos Motorrad
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Cochabamba und die Krux mit dem Federbein (Tag 138 – 151)
08. – 21. Februar 2017 Wir brechen bei Zeiten auf nach Cochabamba. Die Strecke kennen wir ja bereits und an der ersten Tankstelle füllen wir zur Sicherheit noch einen Kanister Benzin zum lokalen Preis (US$ 0.55/l). Anfangs kommen wir gut voran, dann erreichen wir wieder die Baustelle, welche uns schon bei der Hinfahrt pudelnass gemacht
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La Paz und Titicacasee (Tag 152 – 156)
22. – 26. Februar 2017 | La Paz – Copacabana – Isla del Sol | BOLIVIA Langsam aber sicher fällt uns nach fast zwei Wochen in Cochabamba die Decke auf den Kopf. Wir beschliessen die 350 km nach La Paz in Angriff zu nehmen, in der Hoffnung, dass Pablos Kette so lange durchhält. Damit wir
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Über den Camino de la Muerte in die Yungas (Tag 158 – 163)
27. Februar – 05. März 2017 | La Paz – Coroico – Sara Ana | BOLIVIA Früh am Morgen machen wir uns bereit für die hoffentlich letzte Strecke mit Pablos sterbendem Ritzel. Wir wollen zügig nach La Paz, durch die Stadt hindurch und dann, nach einem letzten Pass, hinunter in die warmen Yungas, die steilen,
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Schlammschlacht und Monsteretappen in Boliviens Tiefland (Tag 164 – 167)
06.-09. März 2017 | San Ignacio de Moxos – Trinidad – Santa Cruz – Villamontes | BOLIVIA Nach einem weiteren sehr frühen Frühstück verabschieden wir uns vom FiBL Feldversuch in Sara Ana und machen uns endlich auf an die Küste Brasiliens, der wir seit den kalten Wochen in Patagonien sehnlichst entgegensehen. Trotz einiger Hürden wie
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