Where are we?

Bolivia! Our 4th country to visit in S.A. and now our 38th country we've visited!

Dwayne was working on Vanna's water tank in the morning trying to fix the leak, the last fix didn't work. He bought some new epoxy but the minute he mixed it, it already set! So he used some other stuff and let it dry.  We didn't put any water in for probably 5 hours, but unfortunately it is still leaking :(   It's not really a big deal since we can get water pretty easily - hopefully that continues in Bolivia!

So we didn't get on the road until 11:30 which was ok since we only have a 2 hr drive to the border. But of course it turned to 4 hours because we have to drive slow thru all the towns the highway goes thru.

If you look close you can see that the Peruvian gov't has provided outdoor bathrooms in this area - all the orange and yellow buildings are bathroom. Quite odd to be driving thru this area and seeing all these bright little buildings 
We use IOverlander to find the border crossing - the one I found said it was a real easy crossing so I just punched it into maps.me and gave it to Dwayne to follow. I didn't check WHERE the crossing actually was and when I did check it we passed where I wanted to turn to follow around Lake Titikaka and go to Copacabana, Bolivia!! Damn and to go back was almost 50km! Oh well guess we'll find another place to spend the night.

So the maps.me says to continue straight, which is just continuing on into Peru. But I look on maps.me on my phone and it shows that the border crossing is to the left - which makes sense to me because it's the direction of Bolivia. So we turn left and drive aways and then come to the border crossing but no immigration building!  So figure maybe the first maps.me going straight thru was right. So we turn around and head back. Continue along the road and see a sign stating customs 500m. Well this is a weird setup because both Peru and Bolivia customs and immigration are in one building - first we've ever seen that! But of course the signage is the shits, don't know where to turn, finally make a turn into a parking area - NO SIGNS and there are cones to stop us from going thru. We stop tell the guard what we need, they move the cones and point us to a parking area. Geez you guys could make it a LITTLE easier with some signage!! This building has been open since April 2018!  So we park Vanna and we go into immigration - get stamped out of Peru and move over 15 ft and get stamped into Bolivia!  Easy peasy once you figure out WTH to go!! Then we're  told to go outside to return our Temporary Import Permit for Vanna to the Peruvian customs. And sitting right next to him is the Bolivian customs to get our TIP for Bolivia. WOW!! Now if only there was signage so I wouldn't have to go around asking "donde? donde?"  I had read that the Bolivian customs like you to fill in the TIP form online and they will print it - saves them having to write down your name and vehicle info. And if you didn't do it online and they have to fill it in for you it could take a long time - them might even have to go out for their coffee break or lunch! LOL!!  Anyways I only read it on IOverlander and got the website from there. Hope everyone uses that app to get thru customs quicker 😂

So got all the paperwork done - probably took us 45 minutes because there were a couple of people ahead of us. Bolivian customs never even came out to check our van, but the Peruvian customs guy did - why should he care we're leaving the country - oh guess he wanted to see what's in the box ;)

So we go back on the road we came in on and once again head down the highway that actually goes into Bolivia.  We get to the customs area, showed the paperwork and got a "Welcome to Bolivia" from the customs guy.  Well that's nice to hear! Hope it's this friendly all thru Bolivia. Remember the country was in a schmozel last Oct/Nov after the election of a president who was not reelected properly (as in fixed!)  He had already been in for 3 terms, which is abnormal, usually only 2 terms are allowed, and then he wanted to run for a 4th. When he put it out to the people to decide it came back 51% NOT in favour of him running again. So he just put some kind of ruling thru congress stating that it was against his human rights not to be able to run again. Evo Morales was well liked since he is Indigenous and roughly 50% of Bolivia's population is indigenous. But I guess maybe he was becoming a dictator and they didn't want him as president again. So everyone goes out into the streets setting up roadblocks, burning tires just to stop the flow of food, gas etc into the country to get the president to resign.  He did end up resigning and going to Mexico and then there were protests from the people who wanted him to stay president! Can't win!! Anyways all is quiet for now. Interim president is Jeanine Añez who is suppose to call for a new election within 90 days - we'll see what happens, we'll be long gone by then ;)

Now we are in Bolivia! So we drive down the highway for about 30 minutes to where we will park for the night. It's right by the Naval base and many overlanders have stayed there with no problems. Once we got there we found a water tap so filled Vanna up (that's when Dwayne found out the fix didn't fix 😢) and parked. I look at the time and its 7pm and the sun is just setting,  thats weird because we are just across Lake Titikaka from last night and it was dark at 7!  I check into it a little further in the South America Lonely planet book and find out we just lost an hour crossing into Bolivia!  Oh well we'll gain it back again when we cross into Chile 😄


Crossing the bridge into Bolivia and the mountains look different 

Driving past Lake Titikaka we see the high snow covered mountains east of the  lake

They look so beautiful!


The area once we get into Bolivia

These are the first Jersey cows I've seen



She's sitting on her stool and milking the cow

A WoolyBooly close to where we parked for the night
In the morning after a nice quiet night, we head to La Paz which is about 80kms away. I'm a little nervous because there is no bank in the small town we stayed at so we have no Bolivianos. Also no SIM card. We have US dollars and I have figured out what the exchange would be. Funny that there were no money changers at the border -or we totally missed them, but they usually DON"T miss us ;) Dwayne figures it's because there not many people crossing over.

So our first problem came up at a toll booth.  We wanted to give them $10US for a 2Bol toll, meaning we should get about 65Bol change from the $10US.  Guy tells us to pull over to the side. Police comes over and say they don't have change for this. I find that hard to believe because so many taxi's and trucks come thru both ways . Dwayne finds $2.50US in coins and we say this will cover it - nope they don't want that, it's only change and can't do anything with that. Ok guess these guys won't be letting us thru unless we just give them the $10 and then we'll get our ticket! So I said "OK Buen Dia!" kinda sarcastically and handing him the $10, he still shook our hands and smiled and so did I 😝  (exchange is $1US = 6.80 Bolivianos)

Off we go - our first ripoff. But couldn't do anything else since we can't get Bolivianos until La Paz! I also did miss one place that showed in IOverlander before the spot we parked for the night where we may have been able to exchange US$s.  Hopefully the next Overlander won't miss that stop.  We normally find an ATM soon after crossing the border.  Which was the reason to go to Copacabana because there we would have found an ATM machine and SIM card!

Anyways......we go to a bank once in La Paz, coming into town is pretty messy looking - but not as bad as when we drove into Lima!  2 million people live here including El Alto which is the suburb that surrounds La Paz on the top of the valley. The drivers here are also better then in Peru, a lot less just cutting infront of us. But again lots of collectives and taxis honking all the time. The roads are clogged with these vehicles!

We find the ATM. The first one wouldn't give us any money. So go to the next one beside it and it gives us money.  We take out a bunch that should keep us going for awhile!  Across the square I see a Tigo sign (same cell service we use in Honduras - haven't seen any Claro) I go in and ask if they sell SIM cards - no - guess this office is more for regular cell service and TV.  I see another sign down the block and we walk over there. Yup he has SIM cards taped to the window, I can pick whatever cell number I want - well since it doesn't matter to me I just pick one.  He helps set it up for me, since I have to register the phone. Then the most GBs I can buy is 2.2GBs for 20 Bol ($3.80C) WHAT a deal!!!  So we have money, we have internet now I feel relaxed :) Got all the important things done and now ready to go!

Outskirts of La Paz - I guess actually El Alto, because La Paz is in the valley

Then into the centre of La Paz which looks a lot nicer!

Driving in El Alto and looking down into La Paz



La Paz Center

One of the cable car stations





Dwayne liked these old dodge buses 
I find a laundromat which has machines where we can do our laundry. So we head over there. Traffic is not to bad once we got off the main highway.  We find the place, take in the laundry and pay for the use of 2 machines. So she charges us for 2 washers and 2 dryers -80Bol ($16C) and says to come back in 2 hrs, she will move the clothes from washer to dryer. Oh - ok that's great. But we don't go far, we just get back into Vanna across the street and have our lunch and then read. About 1.5hrs later we go into the shop because they have wifi and use that while we wait for the clothes too dry.

Once that was done we head to a parking garage that is fenced and secured. Good thing about this spot besides being only 10Bol a night is that it is only 2 blocks away from the Telefèrico (cable cars like in Medellin, Colombia) This telefèrico can take us right down to centre of La Paz.  We are in the nose bleed area - you know you blow your nose and.....well you get the picture 😂 - of La Paz also known as El Alto (suburb) which is at 13,350'!!! We are short of breath but we also each have an earache (awww how sweet) that hurt when we have to blow our nose.  You're probably wondering WTH are they travelling to these places?? LOL!! And it will continue until Chile. BUT... once we get down to centre of La Paz we will be just over 11,000' 😂

Tomorrow I've booked us on a 3 hour walking tour of La Paz at 11am. Should be good. We'll take the telefèrico there and back. And probably a couple of the other lines. There are a total of 10 different lines 30 stations and almost 1400 cars!! They seem to have the best people movers so far! And the cost is only 3Bol one way. For us to get to the centre of La Paz for our walk it will probably take 2 or 3 lines.  But they travel fast and the cars each hold 10 people.

I worked on what our expenses were while in Peru. We were there 2 days longer then Colombia and Ecuador since Peru is a big country. We put on 4312km and spent $4057! Quite a bit more then Ecuador and Colombia - $700 of that was just for Machu Picchu - take that off and we are pretty close to what we spent in the other 2 countries. Gas was also double the price of Ecuador.

Next blog will be our day in La Paz, lots of pictures and info 😁

2 comments:

  1. When I saw your photos of La Paz I wondered why on earth it was so huge in the middle of nowhere and wanted to know more about the economy. So I googled to learn a bit more about La Paz, very interesting.

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    1. Yes it's a big city when including the people of El Alto, just above it there are about 2M. Which is not alot considering how dense the housing is there. Think they might be a little low :) I'm just surprised it could afford all those cable car lines, but I guess being the capital of the country it will get extras.

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