Where can I best start my journey in Bolivia?
As low as possible – the best is to arrive at the international airport of the city of Santa Cruz at 400 m., and from there on build up height: Samaipata 1650 meters, 2800m Sucre., 4000 m. Potosí, La Paz 3600 m., etc. If you start in La Paz, you’ll get altitude sickness and lose 3 days. Too bad.
Is it safe to travel in Bolivia?
Even for women it is safe. You should not give cause, we always say. So do not put your bag next to your seat on the floor and cross the shoulder strap over your chest. In general, it is so relaxed and friendly that you forget to be alert, especially at markets, busy streets and stations. Never let yourself be distracted, however nicely someone approaches you by asking what time it is or to warn you for something. A policeman in civilian clothes is always a thief, even though he shows an official document. Never get in a police car and just walk on.
Can you travel to Cochabamba and Sucre from Samaipata?
Daily. By bus, 12 hours in advance you can buy bus tickets in the village, duration from 10 to 12 hours.
Or fly: with us you can buy e-tickets and travel directly to the airport of Santa Cruz with a local taxi. See also under Tours, the Old Trade Route, 4 days / 3 nights
Do you arrange transfers?
Yes, between Santa Cruz city or airport and Samaipata via local taxis or buses for groups.
Do you provide information about travel and tours?
Yes, we have a tour agency. We have travelled all over Bolivia ourselves and know local conditions personally. We can organize anything you like for you, or partly, just how you want it.
How did you come to Bolivia?
In 1981-82 we took a sabbatical year because we did not want to be trapped in career planning. We roamed around in Central and South America and fell for Bolivia: its variety of landscapes and cultures, and the authenticity of the people.
What to do at roadblocks?
Behave yourself modestly and walk quietly through with the other passengers. They are really not targeting you. Blockades are a normal part of the Bolivian way of negotiation.
Do people speak English?
Generally not. It is more pleasant to travel in Bolivia if you speak some Spanish. Although almost everywhere you’ll find English-speaking guides. There are good Spanish language courses, also in Samaipata.
Beggars, poverty. How do you handle this?
We never got used to it, perhaps because we didn’t know it at home. You can make a choice, e.g. just give money to the elderly or disabled, or take children out for dinner (never give them money). Such a kind of decision makes it easier for you.The locals are probably doing the same.
Did you travel a lot in Bolivia?
Each year we visit another part we do not yet know. All information we offer we have checked, we have been there. Next year we want to do a hacienda-tour in El Chaco, in the south, where huge natural areas are waiting to be unlocked. The local population is largely Guaraní, the same as the indigenous people in Paraguay. The only region which we have not yet visited is located in the far north: Pando. Very hot and humid.