Uyuni, the land of wonders, is almost at hand’s reach. We’ve heard so much about it, at every table of every hostel throughout South America.
We’re ecstatic, exhilarated and exquisitely excited. But we’ve also thought long and hard about which tour we should take. Should we stick to the salt flats, or indulge in the 3-day excursion?
Honestly, if we had known about the myriad stunning landscapes we would go through on the 3-day Uyuni tour, it would have saved a lot of time and effort. The South of Bolivia has so much more to it than the salt flats.
Truth is, what you’re about to read is exactly the kind of post we would have needed.
Latin America is a HUGE region with many different climates and ecosystems that neighbor each other, so we don’t blame you if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the impossibility of what to pack.
One day you could be sunbathing in Colombia and the next trekking through a rainforest in Peru – with 20 different states and territories, Latin America makes up nearly 13% of the Earth’s total land surface area!
So, how can you pack for such a diverse continent in one backpack? Read on for our top packing tips for your upcoming Latin / South America trip.
It’s hard not to harbor an insane jealously for the likes of Pierce Brosnan or Angelina Jolie. And not because they’re stupidly good looking or married to Brad Pitt (though that too).
As adventure travelers who traverse the globe in search of the most intense thrills on earth, we’re jealous of the Goldeneye Bungee Jump over Contra Dam in Switzerland; of the Tomb Raider scene where Lara Croft leaps from the 84th floor of the under-construction Two International Finance Centre building in Hong Kong wearing a wingsuit.
Though while we may fantasize about action films, it’s not these actors we’re jealous of. It’s their stuntmen. So, to embrace your inner stuntman, the following are the most extreme activities around the world; the most thrilling and frightening experience we can have as human beings! Though you can actually complete all of these … there’s no such thing as a green screen!
The flight into La Paz, Bolivia was an incredibly scenic one. Our commercial airliner was soaring through snow-capped Andean peaks. Though it wasn’t by any means that the pilot was flying low, rather that these mountains stood at dizzying heights. And the same can be said about the city of La Paz.
Compelled to experience the city’s unique cultural energy and street life, we set out on mission to explore on our first day. Though it only took 10 minutes of a leisurely stroll before we turned away. While relatively fit and quite used to hiking and climbing throughout many climates and conditions, a casual city stroll had left our lungs gasping for oxygen we couldn’t have.
If there is one thing we learnt from our time in La Paz, it was that any destination at this altitude is to be savored over time, as it’s important to properly to acclimatize. When you’re traveling this high, your lungs need time to adjust to reduced oxygen and breathing thinner air. Otherwise altitude sickness kicks in.
If you know that you are going to be traveling to high altitudes, follow a few simple steps to prevent altitude sickness.
Incan ruins, Andean peaks, and glaciers which will take your breath away. Colonial towns, white-sand beaches, and trails which lead directly under awe inspiring falls. From the Galapagos to the Amazon, and the dramatic landscapes in Tierra del Fuego, South America is just full of incredible natural wonders and bucket list destinations which set the stage for incredible adventures.
Travelers who skip South America are truly missing out – there is more culture, passion and history here than any other place in the world, and a more diverse range of natural wonders and landscapes than found in any other continent on earth.
Starting in the Andes snowcapped mountains at 5,000 m (16,000 feet) above sea level, we began to dress for the ride of a lifetime. Elbow pads followed knee guards, gloves went on after our windproof pants and jacket, and lastly, our trusty full-face helmet…which came in incredibly handy when I took a face-first dive off my mountain bike into the ground.
Clouds flew past so close we could practically touch them as we sped through deserted paths and roads left abandoned since the 1950’s. Our adrenalin pumped as we shot through hidden valleys and over stunning high passes.
The setting was stunning, and while we passed sheep peacefully grazing, and llamas galore, there wasn’t another soul in sight.
Tourism has not yet touched the trout trail – it remains largely undiscovered and well off the beaten path.
When tourists travel to Lake Titicaca, most hit Copacabana and Isla del Sol. Breathtaking views, panoramic treks, transported in beautiful traditional reed boats; sounds like the perfect way to experience Bolivia. But Copacabana is now too overcrowded, and Isla del Sol similarly so.
Totora reed boats are a fascinating form of transportation, but lacks the adventure of experiencing the lake on your own by being rowed.
Our solution? Find a tour operator who would take us off the beaten path, away from mass tourism, and supply us with kayaks for a real Bolivian adventure. Our solution was Banjo Tours.
The road from Rurrenabaque to reach the Bolivian Amazon was full of surprises. Our vehicle bounced through muddy trenches and followed a winding dirt road lined by wild vegetation on each side. We drove within meters of fierce looking Caiman, stared out our dusty windows in awe as huge hawks and an assortment of other exotic birds flew by, and pulled over to marvel at sloths making themselves comfortable in the treetops.
South America is a diverse continent comprising of some truly phenomenal cultures, each with their own authentic, local cuisine. And from Guinea Pig in Peru to Frogs Legs in Bolivia, it’s the food that travelers tend to remember the most during their time here.
There are many books to learn about traditional food of South America, though to start you off, here are the single foods you must try while traveling through South America!