I cannot believe how long it’s taken me to write about Bolivia!! But I must!! Because what I experienced in Bolivia was such a bundle emotion and I can’t wait to tell you about it! It was magical, terrifying, and peaceful. I guess that actually sums up Bolivia:)
I knew what altitude sickness was before I left for my trip to South America. I knew that both Peru and Bolivia had parts that I would tour that were high in altitude and so, because my tour started in Peru, I assumed that I would experience it there. But what I experienced in Peru wasn’t so bad, just a little short of breath and I thought “yay! I’m done my altitude sickness! Onwards and upwards from here on out!”. I threw away some medication I had brought with me that was for altitude sickness and I entered the beautiful country by the name of Bolivia.
WHERRRREEEEEEE DID MY OXYGEN GOOO??!!!!!! Literally from the moment I landed, I felt like I couldn’t walk without heaving and why oh why did it feel like my heart was pounding inside my eyeball?!!! Where are the cocoa leaves I need to chew on?!?! It was horrendous. I’m telling you altitude sickness is REAL! And apparently my symptoms weren’t all that bad according the owner of the airbnb I was staying in (which I highly highly highly recommend!) He said there have been times where they have had to bring in an oxygen tank because people haven’t taken care of their altitude sickness properly. There is plennnnty of info on the web about how to prepare for and take care of altitude sickness but a couple of things that stood out were a) drink plenty of water a couple of weeks prior to leaving. At least 1.5 litres a day and b) the moment you feel the symptoms of altitude sickness, sit down. Rest. Staying active will make matters worse.
I spent my 5 days in Bolivia in two cities: La Paz and Salar de Uyuni. There is so much more to see in Bolivia but I didn’t have much time! La Paz was an interesting and fun city. It’s very hilly and very populated. The people were so friendly and welcoming and I actually found La Paz quite safe. If you ever get a chance, check out the mountain biking tours here!! I hear that they are insane!!
La Paz was wonderful but Salar de Uyuni just blew me away. Never have I ever felt like I was on a different planet until I reached the salt flats of Bolivia! It goes on for miles and it’s just unimaginable that the world can look so completely foreign to you! What was just as exciting was being able to stay at a hotel made almost completely by salt!! Hotel Luna Salada was so surreal and so peaceful it is indescribable. After the tour of the salt flats I decided to stay in the next day because my altitude sickness needed some tender love and care. While everyone in the hotel had left to explore, I stayed in and literally engaged myself in one of the most peaceful meditation sessions I have ever had.
Here are my pros and cons of my time in Bolivia:
The friendliest people ever!!!
The city of La Paz has some of the coolest city views and also has many adrenaline filled activities you can take part in
Salt Flats are definitely definitely worth a trip to Bolivia
You probably will get altitude sickness
The traffic in La Paz makes you feel like pulling your hair out!
Some pics for your enjoyment!!
I also had the humble opportunity of visiting a mosque in La Paz:) Bolivia is home to about a very small population of Muslims (about 1,000 in the entire country). I didn’t think I would get a chance to see a mosque but I did some research and was pleasantly surprised that it was just a few short blocks from where I was staying in La Paz! I met a wonderrrrful Bolivian lady there who does a lot of the care taking of the mosque and she was just such a sweetheart! We have kept in touch and hopefully Insha’Allah I will make a trip to La Paz once again to visit her. Here is a picture of the mosque:
Well that’s all folks!! Hope to blog about Argentina soon!!