Bolivia – Country #31 In My Mission to Visit All UN Recognized Nations

In this latest series, I will be going through all the countries I’ve travelled to on my mission to visit every single country in the world. In this article, we will be covering country #31: Bolivia. If you haven’t gotten a chance already, read this story first to find out why I’m trying to visit all 193 UN-recognized countries.

VIDEO – Country #31: Bolivia

Blog post on Bolivia

Arriving in La Paz

After I was finished the Asia portion of my one year trip around the world, my next destination was South America. It’s been several months since I last met up with my sisters or girlfriend and on my first South American destination, we would be reunited.

My sisters and I had our reunion in Mexico City airport before we boarded our flight connecting to Bogota, Colombia and finally landing in La Paz, Bolivia.

Little did we know how much the altitude would affect us upon landing. As soon as we cleared immigration, I had an out of body experience and felt that I wasn’t in control of my body anymore. When I glanced over my youngest sister, Eunice, her lips were purple and her skin was pale. Finally, I turned over to my other sister, Sharleen, and she was shaking.

Being in high altitude is no joke. Lucky for us, our hotel sent someone to pick us up and drop us at our accommodation.

Heading to our hotel

Our driver is a really friendly man named Rodrigo. He is a retired chemistry teacher that is now driving tourist for fun. He took us to a viewpoint where we stared in wonder at the beautiful view of the capital city of Bolivia.

bolivia, Bolivia – Country #31 In My Mission to Visit All UN Recognized Nations

After taking some photos, he dropped us off in our hotel and we would be seeing him a few more times after this moment.

My sisters and I decided to stay in our hotel for three days so we can acclimate on the high altitude.

bolivia, Bolivia – Country #31 In My Mission to Visit All UN Recognized Nations

It was really nice to spend time with my sisters again after not seeing them for so long. I find my relationship with them to be up and down. And at this moment, we were all in good terms.

Reunited with girlfriend

A few days later, my girlfriend also arrived and I picked her up at the La Paz airport. The pickup wasn’t without its conflict. While waiting for my girlfriend to get out of the arrivals gate, a condescending Israeli man started questioning me. First, he demanded to know why I can speak good English despite being Asian. Second, he refuses to acknowledge that I am Canadian and instead kept berating me about my true heritage. I seriously wanted to punch that piece of shit on the face. But, I’m here to pick up my girlfriend, not start a fight with some moron waiting in the airport.

bolivia, Bolivia – Country #31 In My Mission to Visit All UN Recognized Nations

My reunion with Karen was long coming and I was very happy to see her after being separated for four months.

Flight from La Paz to Uyuni

Because Karen and my sisters didn’t have much time, we decided to fly to Uyuni to see the Salt Flats instead of taking the long bus ride. While I was travelling for one year, Karen and my sisters had to take time off work to come and travel with me.

Eunice was kind enough to help cover the cost of our flights since she knew I was on a tight budget. She also covered for most of the hotel cost because she didn’t want us staying in a hostel.

Rodrigo was once again our driver and he drove us to the airport. The taxi ride doubled as Spanish lessons on wheels as he helped us brush up on our highschool Spanish during the ride.

bolivia, Bolivia – Country #31 In My Mission to Visit All UN Recognized Nations

bolivia, Bolivia – Country #31 In My Mission to Visit All UN Recognized Nations

bolivia, Bolivia – Country #31 In My Mission to Visit All UN Recognized Nations

After taking in the sights of the locals living their life in La Paz, we eventually arrived at the airport and boarded our Amaszonas flight going to Uyuni.

bolivia, Bolivia – Country #31 In My Mission to Visit All UN Recognized Nations

Guesthouse in Uyuni

The flight was really cool. You get to see the view of the mountainous landscape of Bolivia. And if you didn’t know, I’m a big fan of unique landscapes.

Upon arrival, we made our way to our guesthouse which was pretty decent. We spent time checking out the small city of Uyuni and eating at a local restaurant.

But, things suddenly turned bad. In the evening, Karen felt really nauseous and sick. She hasn’t gotten a chance to acclimate yet and Uyuni is at a higher elevation than La Paz. I immediately gave her some apple to eat and then gave her some Advil. I made sure to open all the windows in our room also to allow for air circulation to flow in which really helped calm down Karen’s sudden bout of altitude sickness.

Thankfully, she was able to get some sleep afterward and felt better the next day.

Train cemetery

Our tour to the Bolivian Salt flats started early the next morning. Our first destination is the train cemetery. This place was full of Asian tourists from all over the world. One guy looked exactly like Kim Jung Un and my sister Sharleen happily asked him to take a selfie with her.

bolivia, Bolivia – Country #31 In My Mission to Visit All UN Recognized Nations

After the train cemetery, we were taken to an area to buy souvenirs. I don’t buy souvenirs normally and because I was travelling long term, I have no place to take them with me anyways.

But, Karen and my sisters bought some trinkets to bring back home to Canada and to give to their friends.

Salt hotel lunch

After the souvenir shops, we started driving towards the Bolivian Salt Flats.

bolivia, Bolivia – Country #31 In My Mission to Visit All UN Recognized Nations

The first stop was the muddy formations of the salt flats with bubbling water underneath.

bolivia, Bolivia – Country #31 In My Mission to Visit All UN Recognized Nations

Afterward, we were taken to a salt hotel to grab lunch. During our flight to Uyuni, we met a guy from China that was disobeying his parents, and instead of following the normal societal path laid out for him, he decided to rebel and travel the world instead. Good for him, I don’t think you should blindly follow societal programming and carve your own path into this world.

bolivia, Bolivia – Country #31 In My Mission to Visit All UN Recognized Nations

bolivia, Bolivia – Country #31 In My Mission to Visit All UN Recognized Nations

Right outside the salt hotel was a cool place to take pictures. There’s a platform with all the flags in the world being blown by the strong winds in this open area.

bolivia, Bolivia – Country #31 In My Mission to Visit All UN Recognized Nations

And when lunchtime was over, we are finally going deeper into the Bolivian Salt Flats.

Salt flats

The next stop was the big open area where all you see is a white horizon. It’s such an amazing sight. It was also really hot there in the middle of the afternoon.

bolivia, Bolivia – Country #31 In My Mission to Visit All UN Recognized Nations

bolivia, Bolivia – Country #31 In My Mission to Visit All UN Recognized Nations

Many people like taking perspective pictures here but not me. I think those perspective pictures are pretty lame. I wanted to gaze upon the horizon instead because of how unique this landscape is. I’ll never see anything like this ever again.

Where Heaven and Earth touch

Finally, we were now headed towards the main reason why we came here. Before long, our vehicle was driving over water, and right before our eyes are the world-famous biggest mirror on Earth.

In this place, Heaven, and Earth touches as you can see the reflection of the sky on the ground.

bolivia, Bolivia – Country #31 In My Mission to Visit All UN Recognized Nations

I can’t even begin to describe how incredible this place is. It’s something everyone needs to see before they die. I took way too many pictures and videos and I still don’t think I got enough. Honestly, I don’t like going back to places I’ve been to before. But, the Bolivian Salt Flats is special. I would gladly experience that crazy high altitude feeling to go back here again one day. Next time, I want to see the starlight tour.

Return to La Paz

All good things must come to an end, especially when you are strapped for time. We took a flight back to La Paz and was gifted with more amazing views of the mountainous country while peeking through the plane window.

At La Paz, Rodrigo would pick us up one more time and drive us to our hotel. He actually undercharged himself on purpose to drive us. South America has some really good people. He genuinely just wanted to connect with tourists.

Before it got too late, we ate some Italian food which was amazing in La Paz. But, as it started getting late, my sister, Eunice started getting scared so we went back to our hotel not long after.

bolivia, Bolivia – Country #31 In My Mission to Visit All UN Recognized Nations

La Paz to Copacabana

The final trip in Bolivia would take us to Copacabana which is the city on the Bolivian side of Lake Titicaca. This lake is the world’s highest lake and I’ve read about it on textbooks when I was in grade 6 learning social studies.

The company we went with is Bolivia Hop which provided amazing service. I highly recommend them.

bolivia, Bolivia – Country #31 In My Mission to Visit All UN Recognized Nations

The drive to Lake Titicaca involves a ferry crossing where we all had to get off the bus and get on a boat. They would then ferry the bus across the lake before we would continue on towards Copacabana.

bolivia, Bolivia – Country #31 In My Mission to Visit All UN Recognized Nations

bolivia, Bolivia – Country #31 In My Mission to Visit All UN Recognized Nations

On the other side of the ferry crossing, many locals sell fruits and vegetables on the streets. They are more than happy to take pictures with tourists as well.

bolivia, Bolivia – Country #31 In My Mission to Visit All UN Recognized Nations

My sister Sharleen was ecstatic to buy some red bell peppers from the roadside markets and devoured them with much enthusiasm.

bolivia, Bolivia – Country #31 In My Mission to Visit All UN Recognized Nations

After a lengthy drive, we finally arrived at Copacabana in Lake Titicaca.

bolivia, Bolivia – Country #31 In My Mission to Visit All UN Recognized Nations

Isla Del Sol

Most guides would recommend that you stay overnight at Isla Del Sol. But, I wasn’t feeling it. I had a really bad headache from the altitude during our hike on the island. Also, I found the locals here to be not friendly and money-hungry. Despite the beauty of the island, I didn’t feel welcome here.

bolivia, Bolivia – Country #31 In My Mission to Visit All UN Recognized Nations

bolivia, Bolivia – Country #31 In My Mission to Visit All UN Recognized Nations

After our hike was done, Karen and my sister Eunice decided we would prefer to stay overnight in Copacabana instead. My sister Sharleen decided she would stay in the island and find a place to spend the night here.

Overnight in Copacabana

Staying overnight in Copacabana was a wonderful decision. This city has some amazing fish and empanadas that we happily ate for late afternoon and dinner.

bolivia, Bolivia – Country #31 In My Mission to Visit All UN Recognized Nations

People were warm and friendly in this city compared to Isla Del Sol and we had a great time spending the day here.

Next stop…Peru!

The next day, my sister Sharleen joined us in Copacabana for one more night before we headed to their final destination: Peru. My sisters Sharleen and Eunice would fly back home to Canada after Peru thus ending their South American trip.

Before we start our adventure in Peru, we had some funny experience getting stuck at the Bolivia-Peru border. A blackout occurred all of a sudden which ceased operations. We stood there for half an hour before the power went back and we were able to safely cross over to Peru to start the next chapter of our South America journey.

bolivia, Bolivia – Country #31 In My Mission to Visit All UN Recognized Nations

Conclusion

Bolivia is my gateway to my trip to South America. And I have to say, it blew my mind. I absolutely love South America and to this day, this continent is my number one favourite of all continents I’ve ever travelled to in the entire world.

Bolivia is an inexpensive country to travel to that is rich in beautiful landscapes and friendly people. I’d love to go back here again one day and explore it thoroughly. But for now, having the privilege to see the Bolivian Salt Flats and Lake Titicaca will have to do. Until next time Bolivia, I will see you again. Chao for now.

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