Chewing coca leaves in BoliviaBolivia is the poorest country in South America, but what it doesn’t have in GDP it makes up in character. They have 37 languages, the largest indigenous population on the continent, a fearless entrepreneurial spirit, and offer the best bang for your buck.

You know you are in Bolivia when….
– Chewing coca leaves is more popular than gum (top)
– When the cities are typically 4,000 meters above sea level.
– When a religious holiday involves Mardis Gras style costumes, firecrackers at your feet, and a beer in every dancing grandma’s hand…at 10am

bolivia overland from chile
– The border crossings are so remote it takes 3 full days from when you leave Chile until you enter Bolivia.
– When your bed has six alpaca blankets because no one has a heater.
– When you fuel your fire with dried local mosses and gasoline and lighting it nearly costs you your eyebrows.


Bolivia travel guide
– You can eat a dinner (chicken, rice, veggies, unlimited salad bar, big soup, and desert) for under $3.
– When you order grilled trout and it comes out only lightly fried.
– When people literally do not understand the concept of a credit card, let alone accept them.


bolivan child rearing
– Tablecloth doubles as a backpack Baby Bjorn, grocery basket, and cement hauler.
– Bowler caps are more popular than baseball caps.
– Women are working in the fields in crushed velvet and sequin laden dresses (and bowler caps, of course).


dogs of coroico bolivia
– The wolf packs rival those found in Argentina (we had three dogs escort us 12km on a waterfall hike).
– A day at the office (aka mine shaft) involves heaps of coca leaves, a headlamp, 192 proof liquor, no safety standards…and dynamite.
– There are more gold teeth grills than a rap video.


death road bolivia
-There are so many mountains and jungles that the idea of a straight road is a pipe dream.
– You can take a bike ride from snow at 4,700 meters to tropical jungle at 1,000 meters ASL in a matter of 4 hours and only take your life in your hands 8 times.
– You hold the title of the World’s Deadliest Road at an average rate of 26 fatalities per year.


bolivian vendor
-Where there is no such thing as workman’s comp and even the impossible is possible in a day’s work.

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  • Rashaad Jorden

    The part about “a beer in every dancing grandma’s hand…at 10am” was funny :)

    • Mike Howard –

      yes, and that was no exaggeration. it was quite a sight.

  • thetravelchica

    Great post!  I was very appreciative of the 6 alpaca blankets on my bed in the altiplano :-)

    • Mike Howard –

      A six blanket minimum…it was freezing up there! So glad you got to visit the Altiplano!

  • Ylann Wajsbrot

    Nice post

    • Mike Howard –

      thanks Ylann! glad to have you along for the HoneyTrek!

  • Mike & Anne’s – on Facebook

    Bolivia was a blast….made for some fun “You Know You Are In”….blogging :)

  • JimSteere

    great post … we really love this format! We are learning so much from your travels … I’ll be getting that beer at 9am when I am there! hahahahaha love the photo’s ammmmaazzzzing. When you get back I have a business idea that I can back …. 

    • Mike Howard –

      Thanks, Jim! Sometimes the quirks are what really make you fall in love with a place. Can’t wait to hear more about your business idea ; )

  • Jim Steere on Facebook

    great post … we really love this format! We are learning so much from your travels … I’ll be getting that beer at 9am when I am there! hahahahaha love the photo’s ammmmaazzzzing. When you get back I have a business idea that I can back …. ttyl

  • Kenneth Webster

    Bolivia seems like the most rugged destination thus far. And the most intriguing to me for some reason. ‘Rule out that I’m hungry at the moment and that $3.00 plate looks darn good ;-) Hee hee.

    • Mike Howard –

      love it kenneth! it was by far the most rugged, un-touristy, and cheapest. add in the people were very nice, and travel was relatively reliable (especially compared to our current local of Africa). and we would rank Bolivia very high on our list of favs!

  • Mark Finlay

    I would love to go there the photo’s are amazing.

    • Mike Howard –

      thanks so much for the photography love Mark! bolivia was one of our favorite places in all of south america, add that right to the top of your travel list. so raw, beautiful, cheap, un-touristy. amazing on all fronts.

  • Lindsey Barton

    holy night that sounds like fun.  

    • Mike Howard –

      you know it Barton, bolivia was a blast. the people were so nice, mountains were totally untouched. and everything was less than half the price of everywhere else in South America!

  • Mike & Anne’s – on Facebook

    jim, thanks for your comments, love of the photos, love of the format, and overall enthusiasm. Travel really is an amazing thing, and we are learning SO much as well. Hopefully we inspire a few of our friends to get after a long honeymoon themselves :)

  • Backpack ME

    “There are more gold teeth grills than a rap video” – hahaahaa!! :P

    You guys just made me miss Bolivia!!

    • Mike Howard –

      oh dont you know it Ashray and Zara! we miss bolivia for sure….such a cool country, great people and RIDICULOUS landscapes. and OH so cheap (for South America that is)

  • Global-Gallivanting

    Sounds wonderful! I can’t wait to go!

  • Brigid

    Haha, this is gold! I’ve just left Bolivia after living in Sucre for 5 months and can relate to all of these. Another one to add…you know you’re in Bolivia when you jump on a local bus and you’re cramped in with 70 other people and your fellow passenger is most likely to be either a goat or a chicken!

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