Slideshow from Bolivia + Peru 2015

Spent a couple months in Bolivia and Peru last Fall. I'd been to Peru before, but have dreamed of Bolivia for years and finally found myself right smack dab in the middle of it... sometimes as high up as 15,000 above sea level!

Here's a few images I've edited so far. Enjoy!

Got My Stride - Bolivian Adventure in Full Swing Now

 

I'm sitting in a basic hotel near the bus terminal in Oruro, Bolivia. I've been here for a couple nights waiting for a train that leaves today for Tupiza, Bolivia where I'll embark on a 4-day tour of the Salar de Uyuni. The trick will be getting on a tour that has one seat left. This tour is the main reason I wanted to come to Bolivia. The images I've seen from this tour look incredible. 

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Five Days into My Bolivian Adventure :)

La Paz, Bolivia Sept 20, 2015

I've just finished my fifth day since arrival in La Paz, Bolivia and all is starting to go well. I was really nervous about all the possible hurdles I'd have to overcome to get into the country, questions of yellow fever vaccinations, etc. On top of that I was really nervous how I'd adapt to the 13,000 feet above sea level altitude. To be honest, it wasn't easy. Headaches, exhaustion, and gastrointestinal discomfort.

The hostel I'd picked was a popular party hostel, and I knew it'd likely be loud but I thought as long as I kept away from the bar area I'd be fine. What I hadn't counted on was all those drunk backpackers were going to spill out into the dorms as soon as the bar closed. I'll spare you the details but there was an Australian girl who couldn't hold her liquor and her huge Aussie boyfriend who was pissed he had to clean up the mess at 3AM.

I was also starting to get loopy from the altitude because I thought I'd been at the hostel for 3 nights when I had only been 2. The second night was even worse. The Aussies were gone by the morning, but a gang of Irish guys took their place. They were all very cool during the afternoon. Friendly and such. Then they hit the bar and all Hell broke loose. All night they were coming and going, snoring like lumberjacks, sneaking in drunk girls, yelling in their sleep, and one was even playing games on his smart phone at 4 in the morning. I'd had enough and moved to a different hostel as soon as the sun came up. I don't think I even got a solid 2 hours of sleep that night.

Took a city walking tour that was ok. Good info and I felt better wandering around on my own afterward, but they kept hitting us up for other tour booking. Learned about the San Pedro prison here in La Paz where they are said to produce the purest cocaine in all of Bolivia. The prisoners even have their families living with them in the prison and it's believed that most of the cocaine gets smuggled out by the families and children. They also lob dirty diapers over the fence that also have cocaine embedded within. We learned all kinds of interesting details like this. And how much the current Bolivian president hates America and Americans. He instructs Bolivians to not drink Coca-Cola because it's the dark liquid of the evil American imperialists. Oh, and he also instructs Bolivians to not eat chicken because they're all pumped up with female hormones and will make you turn gay. Evidently this chap can't read or write either. They say he only got elected because he's indigenous and all the indians voted him in. Could also be that he was the head of some coca growing cartel as well. It's a very strange country. I could go on and on about all the precious nuggets I'm learning, but I'll save some for later.

Coca growing is almost sacred here. No, I'd say it is sacred and goes back to pre-Incan cultures. They've even got some Incan god chewing coca leaves right on one of the columns in front of the main church. Coca leaf chewing is like taking communion I think, only to Pachamama (Mother Earth) instead.

The scenery surrounding La Paz is incredible. I didn't count them, but I think there are at least 4 majestic Andean mountain peaks topped with snow. I'm not sure how high they are, but I read it's over 21k above sea level. Planning on taking a day tour up to one of them, so I'll find out for sure.

I haven't been to the Tiwanaku ruins yet, as the elections sort of put a stop to everything with all public transportation shut down and most of the stores closed. Trying to decide if I'll knock the mountain tour, Vally of the Moon, and Tiwanaku/Puma Punku ruins before I leave La Paz, or save them for when I circle back after seeing more of the country. It's all up in the air right now, but I'm definitely heading toward the Salar de Uyuni salt plains and red lagoons with flamingos tour next. I'm going to do a longer one that starts in a place called Tupiza that's near the Chilean border. Then heading toward Potosi, Sucre, and Santa Cruz. After that I don't know, but will likely carry on East into the Pantanal and near the border with Paraguay.

That's it for now. I'm sure I've left something out, but my mind is going a thousand miles a second taking it all in. I get the impression that I won't have wifi much after I leave La Paz, so the updates may be pretty scattered. For this reason, I went ahead and edited a few images and uploaded them for print. They're part of the experimental promotion I'm doing on this trip where I pick a few nice images along the way, edit and upload them for print with pricing that's about 70% less than my normal pricing. I even turned all all the products in case anyone might prefer one of my images on a bag or shower curtain. :)

The pricing will remain low for just the images on this trip for the duration of the trip. As soon as I get home and settled in, I'll pick the very best images and covert those to limited edition only and the rest will go back up to my usual print pricing. So, if you see something you like while I'm traveling, now is the time to grab one or a few. I've also got a heavy Instagram feed going with lots more images.

I don't have time to edit them all, but if you see something you really want and I haven't uploaded it to the print site, just let me know in the comments or drop me a note. When I get wifi and the time, I'll be happy to accommodate.

You can find the special gallery of the Bolivia and Peru images HERE

Check back every now and then. I'll be adding more images as I get the time and opportunity. 

Here's an audio recording I made this morning while trying to get to the La Paz cemetery. I'd stopped off for a couple Bolivian Saltenas for breakfast and thought I'd get a little atmosphereic sound and thoughts. The whole city is shut down for elections, including all businesses, government offices and public transportation. I figured at least the cemetery would be open, but it was even closed. There were some street vendors and a rare cafe who where obviously ignoring the mandate, otherwise I wouldn't have been able to enjoy those tasty Saltenas. :)

Ok, that's it for now. Stay tuned, the adventure is just getting started!

~ Skip Hunt 

La Paz - The Arrival

So far, so good! 

 Map of La Paz, Bolivia  

Map of La Paz, Bolivia  

Hola, just arrived in La Paz, have cleared immigration, and already checked into the Wild Rover hostel near Plaza Murillo. Waiting to see if this is a loud party hostel before I commit to more nights, or move to another one. So far this one seems fine.

This was my experience: it was a little faster getting through immigration since I already had my visa, but I did NOT need it before arrival as was posted on some official Bolivian sites. You can get the visa on arrival no problem at all.

I asked the immigration officer about that announcement of the visa being necessary before travel and he said that was NOT true.

Also, I was never asked for yellow fever vaccination from anyone. Not at the Bolivian consulate in Houston, not at American Airlines checkin, and not upon entering the country via La Paz airport. No one has mentioned anything about it at all.

Regarding altitude sickness, so far I feel fine. I felt slightly breathless upon arrival & am getting a very mild headache, but mostly feel just fine. I gave not had any mate de coca yet. The reception here at the hostel said that if you're going to be affected by the altitude, it usually happens right away as soon as you get off the plane. I did see one fit girl in her 20's get sick and vomit just as soon as we entered the first corridor. One other person looked sick also, but most of the people, including myself, appeared normal.

I didn't drink any alcohol, drank plenty of water, orange juice, tomato juice, and started taking ginkgo biloba 5 days ago (80-120 mg twice a day). I don't know if that helped or not. So far I feel just fine. :)

T-Minus 5 Days until I'm in Bolivia! :)

Bolivia + Peru

Only been back from motorcycle touring in the Southwest for almost a month now, but I'm heading off to Bolivia next! I'll be flying into La Paz and mostly wandering around the country for about 6 weeks, give or take. I couldn't get a cheap return flight from Bolivia using my frequent flyer miles, but I could get a return from Lima, Peru. 

I've been telling myself "maybe next year" on Bolivia for about 6 years now. It just never came together, or I couldn't afford it, etc. Still can't afford it, but I'm going anyway. You never know how much time you've got and I simply couldn't wait yet another year. Honestly, I didn't think I was going to get the flights this time either, but I realized there were places in the South of Peru that are on the way from La Paz, Bolivia to Lima, Peru that I didn't see when I was in Peru several years ago. I'll just save the last 10 days or so to make a slow crawl over the Bolivian border from La Paz to Lima, Peru with stops at Lake Titicaca, an amazing canyon of the condors, Isla del Sol, Nazca, and maybe this Oasis in the desert where you can also sand board. 

The majority of the trip will be in Bolivia with my primary destination being the Salar de Uyuni. You have to do tours of this vast altiplano salt flat, as well as the laguna de colorado, flamingos, etc. I've got all kinds of possible routes, but I think I'm going to sort it out after I get there. My first hurdle will be getting acclimated to the high altitude. It's around 13k above sea level there so I'm hoping I can handle it. A little anxious since I don't think I've ever been that high up before. 

You may be wondering how I'm able to afford all this travel. Well, I usually spend time doing graphic design gigs, video and photography shoots, selling my fine art, etc. Since I've only been home for less than a month, there hasn't been much time to recover. But, I'm going to dive off with the faith it'll all work out. We'll see how well that works out for me. ;)

I'm also going to try something different this time. In the past I've done various promotions related to my journey's in order to help off-set all the extra expense. This time I'm going to offer images from this trip for around 70% less than my normal list pricing. Only for some of the images I upload from the road, and the discount will ONLY last for the duration of the trip. As soon as I get home (fingers crossed) the pricing will go up and some of the best images will covert to limited editions only. 

I've already set up a special print gallery called Bolivia + Peru to put the images that are available during the trip HERE

When I make a blog post, or upload some images, I'll occasionally pick the more exceptional ones, prepare them and upload them into this gallery with special pricing. If you see something I've uploaded during the trip that you're interested in, send me a note or comment to let me know which one you're digging. The special discounted pricing will apply to ALL of the products available, but again... ONLY the images from this trip and ONLY while the trip is in progress. Might be some great options for upcoming holiday gifts (hint-hint) :)

Here's an audio recording I made a couple days ago that sort of explains it a bit more:

There's obviously nothing there yet. Provided I can find decent internet access... that should soon change. Check back in this blog feed next week and for the next 7 weeks or so. You can also see posts from the road on my Instagram Feed as well. 

Stay tuned!

~ Skip


Much more coming soon! But in the meantime, check out this gallery of panoramic images made during my Summer 2015 motorcycle tour of the Southwest. Enjoy!