Safety

Bounce around Bolivia in style with these travel tips

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Bolivia isn’t always the first choice of travellers visiting South America’s many vivacious countries, but for the life of us, we don’t know why! The people are incredible – they’re always celebrating something in this vibrant culture. Beyond that, you have some of the most incredible sights in the entire world located right outside the lively cities.

A trip to Bolivia is everything you’ve ever wanted to experience all in one go – just see for yourself.

1. Valley of the Moon

Valle de la Luna is an amazing sight only a short distance from La Paz, the main tourist city. Feast your eyes on its amazing desert floor filled with stalagmites formed from clay, sandstone and years of battering winds. There are plenty of walking trails for you to stroll along as you take in the crazy colours of the minerals – the spectacular experience is reminiscent of Rainbow Mountain in Peru. How does nature form these jaw-dropping formations?

2. Bolivian Salt Flat

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Have you ever seen a salt flat before? Salar de Uyuni is the largest salt flat in the world, making up 4,086 square miles (10,582 square kilometres) of beautiful crystalline-like salt. On the right day, it looks like absolute glass, so much that you can even see your reflection in it. Note that during the wet season, however, it turns into a shallow lake that is equally amazing as the dry flats. Be sure to pose for a kooky picture – it’s the thing to do at this destination!

3. Dinosaur Dance Floor

You can’t leave Bolivia without stopping at the Dinosaur Dance Floor. This palaeontologist site is cool for everyone, not just fossil enthusiasts! Here you’ll see the largest collection of dinosaur tracks in the world. There are almost six different types of footprints, all well preserved. The second most amazing part about these tracks is that they look like they’re climbing up the limestone wall – but that’s just from a shift in tectonic plates during the Tertiary period.

Staying safe in Bolivia

When you’re travelling around a new country, it’s easy to get swept off your feet taking in all the new sights and people around you. At least, that’s exactly what thieves are thinking when they see starry-eyed tourists. Bolivia can be a little rough around the edges, but staying safe is relatively easy when you know the warning signs.

Here are a couple of things to be wary of when you’re travelling in Bolivia.

Death Road

The first thing we want to warn you about isn’t necessarily the local thieves or a scam. Rather, it’s the world’s most dangerous road! This 40-mile (64  km) downhill road connects La Paz and the jungle via a very steep and narrow ledge (aka, the road). If you look over the edge, you can see a graveyard of buses, cars and even bikes that have toppled below.

Death Road is still active, as its perilous repertoire has become its very attraction, so if you go on it we advise you do so with extreme caution.

General petty crime

Bolivia’s petty crime rate is relatively high, especially in popular tourist destinations like La Paz, Cochabamba and Copacabana. The main bus terminal in Coronilla Hill, Cochabamba is a particularly seedy place as it’s a well known hangout spot for dangerous alcoholics and drug addicts. It’s best to avoid this area completely.

Be extra cautious of your surroundings – look out for people standing too close or trying to peddle you their goods as it’s often a distraction as someone else pickpockets you. Of course, festivals are the most common times tourists fall victim to theft, so if you’re celebrating try to keep as much of your valuables back at your hotel.

In general, note that ATMs have become an incredibly popular place for someone to get robbed, as such, it’s best to avoid taking cash out in public or isolated areas.

Express kidnappings

Be extra cautious about the transportation you’re taking as Bolivia is experiencing more and more express kidnappings – a situation in which a victim gets into a taxi and is taken hostage and driven around town to various ATMs until they’re drained of money. Make sure you only use taxis suggested from a trusted source like your hotel concierge, and never get in a cab with someone already in the front passenger seat.


Author

TID is an Australian online travel insurance company.

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