Off the beaten track

When we stumble off the beaten track away from the hoards, this is where we’ll leave a trail of breadcrumbs

Travel Tips

Sometimes… Only sometimes we have useful information to share with the world… That goes in here!

Travel Videos

Georgie makes a cracking travel video and if your eyes are just too tired to keep reading then you should peer inside the world of Georgie’s La La Land

Travel Photography

A picture speaks a thousand words. In this section we let the travel photography do the talking and you do the looking

Travel Money

Articles about travel money, saving for a trip, making money or spending it wisely.

Best Travel Ebooks - Download NOW
The Art of Couples Travel
Take BETTER travel photos
Learn to Teach English while traveling
Make money from your travel blog - eBook download
A girls guide to solo travel - eBook download
Travel the world on $50 a day - eBook download
Home » Travel Articles

How a Bag of Weed Led me to Bolivia’s Best-kept Secret

Submitted by on 13/03/2012 – 12:02 pmNo Comment
İstanbul İzmir parça eşya taşıma eşya depolama firması şehirlerarası evden eve nakliye istanbul evden eve evden eve nakliyat istanbul istanbul evden eve nakliye ofis taşıma fiyatları Ataşehir oto kiralama nakış firmaları
Cochabamba, Bolivia

La Paz got the better of us pretty much straightaway. When we were offered an enormous quantity of hash for a tenth of the price at home, we were too gobsmacked to turn it down. And so began our adventures in Eastern Bolivia.

So we took our goodies on tour with us from La Paz up to Rurrenabaque. A week later, with some Amazonian wildlife snaps in the bag, we still had an enormous amount of weed left. We couldn’t cross the border into Peru with it; it’d be a shame to give it or throw it away. So, backing away from all international borders, we decided to go on the mother of all detours, looping from La Paz all the way east to the border with Brazil and back again. Twenty days and 2200km into the unknown.

Once you begin freewheeling from the dizzy heights (quite literally) of the capital, the scenery turns lush; you take off your hat and scarf, open the bus window and let the warm breeze tickle your face. Ladies dry coca leaves on plastic sheets by the roadside and suddenly it’s easy to breathe. This is the secret: Bolivia is almost Caribbean once you get down to sea level. And most backpackers never even realise.

Don’t get me wrong: this is not a stereotypcial tropical paradise. Trinidad, the first stop on our loop, was a rundown little town with little on offer. When we went to ‘have a day by the river’ we had to laugh at the brown pool of water with a rusty concrete obstacle that was mean to be a slide. Despite that, Trinidad gave me the very memorable experience of driving through town at sunset without another gringo in sight for the first time in four months. Magical.

Santa Cruz, right out on the apogee of the loop, was like something out of a Disney movie. After seeing the daily struggle of Bolivians on El Alto, here was a gorgeous, affluent city – wide streets, an immaculate central plaza lined with palm trees, boutique stores and old men sitting on shady benches. Sitting on the balcony of a cheap hotel bar, we found ourselves looking out at what could be any tropical city.

We spent a fantastic ten days in Santa Cruz, eating in great restaurants (by restaurants, I mean cake emporiums), getting decent haircuts, drinking coffee. Staying in watching movies with a crafty smoke out of the window overlooking the city. It was like taking a minibreak within Bolivia, probably how people feel taking cheap holidays to Goa after spending time in Delhi or Mumbai.

Two and a half weeks and one empty ziplock bag later, we made our way through Cochabamba and wound our way back up to La Paz feeling for the first time that we’d seen something not everyone else had seen. When you’re backpacking on the gringo trail, that’s something very special indeed.


Share this article
Fiona Tulloch has written 57 articles. Fiona was one of the first to join codename “The Firm“. After a sweaty meeting at a bus station she was recruited based on her dedication; she gave up a publishing career in London to travel round the world. She enjoys eating local food (a lot), learning languages (badly) and living a simple life surrounded by sunshine, smiles and palm trees.

Got something to say?... Say it!

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. You can also subscribe to these comments via RSS.

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.

This is a Gravatar-enabled weblog. To get your own globally-recognized-avatar, please register at Gravatar.