Voluntouring in Bolivia

Bolivia has so far been the most diverse, interesting and touristically enjoyable country we have travelled in South America. Most attractions in Bolivia are definitely ‘off the beaten track’ as travelling in the poorest country in South America is definitely not for everyone. But what you lack in comfort, you gain in eye-opening and touching discoveries and human encounters. Bolivia is rich in resources and potential, in the power and generosity of its people, in the history of exploitation and unsubmissive resistance of its majoratively indigenous population, in its diverse food, languages and cultures, and its unpretentious, breathtaking landscapes.

We had only planned on staying 2 weeks, but ended up staying a month, celebrating Christmas and New Year with the locals! The 2 extra weeks were spent volunteering doing electrical work at the training center of an NGO (Etta Projects) based near Amboro National Park, in the jungle, dedicated to water sanitation and community health projects in the area. A very rewarding and meaningful experience that we decided to do a little last minute, at this very special time of year.

The other 2 weeks (1 before and 1 after) were spent touring the amazing and sometimes little-known attractions Bolivia has to offer: Isla del Sol in Lake Titicaca (the highest freshwater lake in the world), Torotoro National Park (canyons, colourful rock formations, waterfalls and dinausaur prints!), Cochabamba (a vibrant city with friendly locals), Villa Tunari (where we spent a surprising New Year’s Eve with locals), the white-washed colonial town of Sucre, the small relaxing pueblo of Tupiza surrounded by desert landscapes like in cowboy movies, and finally the unequaled 4×4 tour from Tupiza to the famous Uyuni Salt Lake, via Sud Lipez, colourful altiplano lakes with rich birdlife and flamingos, snowstorms and snow-capped volcanoes, limitless deserts interrupted only by giant volcanic projections from millenia ago, and boiling hot geysers which the bolivian government are planing to harness as a clean geothermal energy source for the local communities.

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