Bolivia by the Numbers

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Our guidebook warned us in advance, “in Bolivia, learn to expect the unexpected.” That advice proved true time and time again as this high-altitude, landlocked, South American country repeatedly surprised us (for good and for bad).

Only in Bolivia can you mountain bike down the world’s most dangerous road, come face to face with colorful wildlife in the Amazon basin, ride horses through a setting straight out of the Wild West, tour a working prison, crawl through an antiquated silver mine, and see the world’s largest salt flats. And much more.

Sometimes a little scary, but never boring – our time in Bolivia will be something we always remember.

Favorite/Least Favorite

Favorite Place: Copacabana, on the shores of Lake Titicaca
Least Favorite Place: La Paz

Favorite Food: Breakfast at Casa de Campo in Rurrenabaque
Least Favorite Food: Thai Old Town in La Paz

Favorite Alcohol: Pacena Beer
Least Favorite Alcohol: Sadly, we found most Bolivian wine to be absolutely terrible, even after going right to the source in Tarija

Favorite Accommodations: Hotel Mitru, Tupiza
Least Favorite Accommodations: Hotel Cupula, Copacabana

Favorite Sight: The Salar de Uyuni Salt Flats
Biggest Disappointment: Wineries in Tarija

Offbeat Must-Do: Mountain Biking the Death Road
Must-See: Copacabana & Isla del Sol, Lake Titicaca

Other Numbers

Days in Bolivia: 42
Distance Traveled: 1,450 miles (includes a 300 mile round-trip flight to Rurrenabaque)
Cities/Towns Visited: 9
Long Distance Buses: 6
Night Buses: 4
Local Buses (combis): 12
Taxis: 22
Boats: 3
Canoes: 1
Planes: 2 (La Paz to Rurrenabaque, round-trip)
Mountain Bikes: 2
Beds slept in: 18
Nights under mosquito net: 2
Hot Springs: 1
Ruins: 2
Islands: 1 (Isla del Sol, Lake Titicaca)
Traveler’s stomach incidents: Too many to count!
Food poisoning cases: 1
Days on antibiotics: 42
Churches/Cathedrals: 4
Museums: 5
Movies: 3
Prisons: 1
Mines: 1
Restaurants: 56 (1.3 times per day, on average)
Pictures Taken: 2,822 (Bolivia) / 18,638 (Total, trip thus far)

Budget

Bolivia is cheap. Dirt cheap. We were fairly careless spending our money here, booking many tours and often opting for more expensive restaurants, and it still turned out to be our cheapest country yet.

To give you an idea of the costs, we rarely spent more than $10 a night for a private room in a hostel, and full set meals at traditional restaurants (with starter, main, and dessert) can be had for under $2.

Note these expenses do not include the visa fee Bolivia charges Americans ($135 each). We paid this fee and processed the visa in Lima, but this can be done at the border as well.

Here were our daily expenditures:

Food $19
Drinks $4
Lodging $10
Transportation $12
Activities $27
Other $2
Total $74/day

Most/Least Expensive

Most Expensive Lodging: $30 (Hotel Cupula, Copacabana)
Least Expensive Lodging: $8.50 (Hostel Jasmine, Rurrenabaque)

Most Expensive Meal: $27 (Dinner at Vuliana, Rurrenabaque)
Least Expensive Meal: $2.40 (Empanada lunch in La Paz)

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