The road from Cochabamba to the start of the death road turned out to be quite…exhausting. The scenery in Bolivia continued to impress. Around each turn (and there are MANY turns) there is a new view that take your breath away.
With our new Pirelli MT21 tyres we chose a road that looked promising in Google Maps. The mechanic that changed our tyres told us that the road was all gravel and perfect for our bikes, but that we needed to bring a lot of water and food since “there is nothing at all there, no people, no gas, no nothing” (said in spanish of course). We said: “You had us at hello” then proceeded to fill up all our gas canisters, bought food and water for three days and set off!
It’s one thing to calculate a rout on a map…a completely other thing to actually drive it. As mentioned, the scenery was fantastic, but the roads….equally fantastic towards to other end of the scale. I won’t say it wasn’t fun, because it was really really fun. But maintaining focus all day really takes it out of you. Add a couple of thousands of meters above sea level. Add not knowing if you are going to find a place to camp in the mountains. Add taking a wrong turn (thank you Garmin and Tom Tom for completely ignoring Bolivia) a few times while the daylight slowly, but inexorably, decreases. And you end up with quite a low energy level at the end of the day. Then do this for three days….Ah, adventure!
A word on adventures. I’ve often said that adventures are best enjoyed sitting on a couch, drinking a big cup of tea while looking at photos and chuckling at how incredibly tired, cold, sick, wet, scared, angry, lost (or any other terrible feeling) you where at that time when… The parts of a journey that sticks the most to memory (and admit it, that you like to hear about) are the times when you where the most miserable on your journey Don’t take me wrong; I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Bring on the adventures, or rather, bring on the romanticised telling of the adventure afterwards!
Anyway, after three days we arrived to the paradise on earth (if you believe the sign that greats you when you enter), Corico!
Once again iOverlander delivered, thanks to the app we found Hostal Sol y Luna. A real treat and a perfect place to relax (something we strive to become experts at).
You are completely surrounded by the forrest / jungle and all the sounds, smells and colours that come with it.
A stroll in town showed us a lot of traditional clothed cholitas with their characteristic bowler hats and beautiful dresses.
After two days of hammocking (yes, it’s a word) we where ready to take on the “Death Road” to La Paz.
It turned out not to be very deadly at all.
The most terrifying on the road was the look of horror on the faces of mountain bikers going downhill on the road. Especially those who met one of us i a curve…moahahahaha We went up the road which meant that we had the right to keep against the mountain….the mountain bikers had to hold left…against a quite formidable drop…*another evil laugh*. Since they built a new road where all the heavy traffic and buses go the death road has become a tourist attraction (and off course you have to pay to drive on it). This suited us just fine, I have no need of near death experiences (other than they make good stories, see above about adventures).
La Paz is a really nice city.
Especially seen from above where you are free of all the smog, people and crazy traffic.
We stayed at Hostal Flavia with a very friendly staff and a really, really nice sauna! Here we had a chance to practice our relaxing and I’m happy to say that it went really well.
After almost a month in Bolivia we were now ready to move on to Peru (only got 30 days visa anyway). We chose to cross at Desaguadero right by the Lake Titicaca. The border crossing was really easy, the only thing we were worried about was if they would accept our insurance paper from Sweden (SOAT). Other than complaining that it wasn’t an original (we got it by mail so it really is as original as it can be) they just chatted with us a little and welcomed us to Peru. We turned back our clocks one hour which gave us plenty of time to find a nice hostel. We arrived at Hostal Casa Blanca where we got our first taste of Peruvian food and it was really good!
From here we aimed towards Colca Canyon. Once again the planning of the route and the actual driving of it differed quite a bit. Google Maps, maps.me and Garmin gave us a nice mix of advice on which way was the correct one. We ended up at a dam, a lake, at a electrical plant (or something similar) and a village where no tourist ever been. After a couple of hours of adventuring in the middle of nowhere we finally found the correct road that thankfully was paved! From here my gps said we only had about 40 kilometres left to the village Chivas; We just had to cross an entire mountain range first. Up and up and up we went. At around 4800 meters we started to worry a bit, what if we didn’t come down before dark? Camping at this altitude isn’t very fun. So on we raced, chasing the light. The road was fantastic and the scenery stunning. Finally the road started descending and we saw the town well below us in the distance.
The last kilometres always seems to last forever, but even forever ends and just as the last rays of daylight disappeared we arrived at Hostal Hatun Colca that offered us a nice room for 30 soles a night (around 9 dollars). Yet another adventure to chuckle about
Next: Cusco and Machu Picchu!