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Spending A Sunday In El Alto

 

"Lucha Libre", a popular show that takes place every Sunday in El Alto, La Paz, Bolivia, South America

“Lucha Libre”, a popular show that takes place every Sunday in El Alto, La Paz, Bolivia, South America

With high expectations, we went up to El Alto Sunday morning to visit the weekly “16 de Julio Mercado”. It must be the biggest market we have ever been to, since it seemed as if all of El Alto had turned into a huge market. Though the products for sale were not very attractive for us, you could actually find anything from white mice, building material, second hand clothes, food, DVDs for 0.4 Euros and what not … Continue Reading →

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The Highest International Airport In The World

 

Flying towards Timbuktu, Mali

Flying towards Timbuktu, Mali

This chapter is aimed at persons who are VERY interested in traveling by plane or flying planes. Only if this is the case, read on… Flying in South America is something really special, we will soon explain why. But without any doubt, the climax is La Paz El Alto (IATA: LPB / ICAO: SLLP), the highest international airport and the second highest commercial airport in the world at 13.325 feet or 4.061 meters (the highest one is “Qamdo Bangda” in Tibet at 14.219 feet or 4.334 meters, but is hardly known). Continue Reading →

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La Paz – The Highest Capital

View of La Paz from El Alto

View of La Paz from El Alto

High, higher, the highest! – La Paz is definitely the city of superlatives when it comes to height, also in terms of difference in altitude within the very city. The city’s wealthy neighborhoods are located in the lowlands, at 3.200 meters, its very center at 3.660m and El Alto, at 4.050m, which makes it the highest capital of the world. In most cities the fancy hoods are higher up whereas the cheap quarters are down under. Why is this reversed in La Paz? If you ever felt the difference in temperature of 800 meters at that altitude, with heating basically unknown, you will understand why the haves do not mind to be looked down upon. Continue Reading →

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Capybaras, Caimans, Monkeys & Others

Black Caiman (Paleosuchus Trigonatus) - This one was more than 4 meters long! La Pampa, Rurrenabaque, Bolivia

Black Caiman (Paleosuchus Trigonatus) – This one was more than 4 meters long! La Pampa, Rurrenabaque, Bolivia

Visiting La Pampa here is done by boat, and you get to see a very diversified fauna: Capybaras, Caimans large and small, many kinds of Monkeys, Turtles, a huge variety of Birds and with some luck Anacondas. The one animal you want to avoid are the mosquitoes – millions of them attack at random, you may spend a whole afternoon without being bothered and the next morning can be hell; nothing helps, repellents, long sleeves, we did it all, and despite we are both covered by terribly itching bites of all sizes. Continue Reading →

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A Few Days In “La Pampa”

 

Capybara (Hydrochoerus Hydrochaeris), the largest rodent in the world - This one was more than one meter long! La Pampa, Rurrenabaque, Bolivia

Capybara (Hydrochoerus Hydrochaeris), the largest rodent in the world – This one was more than one meter long! La Pampa, Rurrenabaque, Bolivia

The Amazon Basin around Rurrenabaque is divided into two distinct zones: the “Selva” or Rain Forest of Madidi National Park, and the Municipal Reserve of the Pampa of the River Yacuma, a large, flat area of swamps along this river which is used for the excursions by boat. Most tourists head for the “Pampa”, because that is THE place to see animals: lots of different birds of course, Capybaras, Caimans, many kinds of Monkeys, Turtles and if you are lucky, Anacondas. Continue Reading →

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Deep Inside The Rain Forest

Walking through the Rain Forest, Madidi National Park, Amazon Rain Forest, Rurrenabaque, Bolivia

Walking through the Rain Forest, Madidi National Park

When coming to explore the “Selva” or Rain Forest, do not expect to see many animals, for that you need to go to the “Pampa”. In the forest, you might get to see a few monkeys, wild boars, birds, but do not expect jaguars or tapirs crossing your path. However, the lack of seeing animals is greatly compensated by what you hear around you. Some birds or insect can sound like a dentist’s drill or a chain saw. Wild bore can be heard rampaging through the forest from far away and the smell that should keep away their potential predators is intensive, to put it mildly. Continue Reading →

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4 Days In Madidi National Park

 

Boat trip from Rurrenabaque to Madidi National Park on Rio Beni

Boat trip from Rurrenabaque to Madidi National Park on Rio Beni

Madidi National Park is located in the western part of Bolivia’s Amazon Basin and is one of South America’s most intact ecosystems. It covers an area of 1.8 million hectares and was only created 12 years ago. Presently only 8.000 people visit the park per year. Continue Reading →

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Welcome To The Jungle

 

Many tourists and locals use hammocks to escape the incredible afternoon heat, while pool addicts like us dish out the 20 Bolivanos or 2 Euros to use the swimming pool at the Hotel Ambaibo, Rurrenabaque

Many tourists and locals use hammocks to escape the incredible afternoon heat, while pool addicts like us dish out the 20 Bolivanos or 2 Euros to use the swimming pool at the Hotel Ambaibo, Rurrenabaque

October 18th, after numerous phone calls to the airline and hours waiting at the airport we made it! AmasZonas flight 90 eventually took off and what is more important touched down on the dusty / grassy runway in Rurrenabaque, with no less than a 25 hour delay … Continue Reading →

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We Almost Made It To Rurrenabaque!

First attempt to reach Rurrenabaque ... We almost made it, but unfortunately, due to heavy rain, the plane could not land on the grassy runway and had to go back to La Paz.

First attempt to reach Rurrenabaque … We almost made it, but unfortunately, due to heavy rain, the plane could not land on the grassy runway and had to go back to La Paz.

Today, October 17th, we happily boarded a tiny plane that would take us into the warmth of Bolivia’s Amazon Basin. Taking off from La Paz El Alto International Airport at 4.050 meters added to our excitement, but soon turned into a nerve racking journey. Due to bad weather the 40 minute trip to Rurrenabaque was more like a roller coaster ride. Heidi felt as if she had stopped breathing and stared at her watch counting the minutes to finally touch down. Continue Reading →

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Arriving In La Paz

From Copacabana to La Paz, public busses are not much cheaper than tourist busses, but are much more frequent. Our bus was a bit ancient and not suitable for tall people.

From Copacabana to La Paz, public busses are not much cheaper than tourist busses, but are much more frequent. Our bus was a bit ancient and not suitable for tall people.

… Being Greeted By The Police

From Copacabana we took a public bus to La Paz, the “tourist bus” would have been only slightly more expensive, but it only leaves in the afternoon, whereas the public busses leave every hour. Our bus was a bit ancient and not suitable for tall people. There were only five tourists on our bus, but the tallest was sitting behind Heidi and she was in touch with his knees for the entire trip! Continue Reading →

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