South America Blog Posts

Week 13 – Solo Bikepacking Bolivia. Flamingos on the long road north.

This week I continued my way along the 550km route north towards La Paz. It was really nice to be back on the bike, out on the open road. Even though the road was sometimes difficult or going through the middle of nowhere. The first few days were difficult but I pushed through and managed to do a decent amount of distance each day. I have been using an app called iOverlander to find camping spots as well as cheap accommodation along the way. Some of the camping spots have been in really beautiful spots, while some others left me wondering why anyone would mark it on the map.

Cheap accommodation & desert roads

The accommodation in some of the towns was very basic. The worst was in a town called Sevaruyo. There was just a small bed in an otherwise empty room with a wooden floor. The shared bathroom was a small toilet room with some brown substance on the floor and a bad smell. The door was broken so it had a huge hole in the bottom and didn’t close. But it was only £2.50 per night and I was only staying one night so it wasn’t so bad. From Sevaruyo the road headed through more long stretches of empty desert. Sometimes it’s nice to cycle through these kinds of places. But when it gets hot and you are starting to get tired, its not so fun. It really made me look forward to getting into the Amazon. Although I’m sure it will be difficult to cycle through the heat there, at least there will be some moisture.

An unusual camping spot

Further north, in a town called Poopo. There was only one hotel in town and it was overpriced at £6.30 per night. I asked around to see if there was another place, but when I found it, nobody answered the door. So I used iOverlander to find a camping spot. The spot that people had suggested was on the road to the cemetery. This was ok except that when I got there there I found a load of animal skins drying in the sun. I didn’t really mind that too much, but then a car drove past slowly and the guys inside were looking at me and my bike. So I decided to look around for a more secluded spot. On the other side of the road there was a raised area hidden by piles of dirt. This was perfect, except that it was just outside the walls of the town cemetery. I don’t believe in ghosts or anything like that, so I decided to sleep there.

An alternate route

The road from Poopo to Oruro went around the edge of a lake. But I could see a small road that cut through the middle of a lake, following some train tracks. I decided to take that road. It wasn’t so interesting for the first half. Just dirt tracks through the desert with a couple of train bridges to push my bike across. But then I got to the lake and everything changed. The clouds were reflected on the surface of the water and there were more flamingos that I have ever seen in one place before. I spent ages there taking in the scenery and flying my drone. For a while I even forgot that I had to cycle another hour or so into town. I really hope that I get more experiences like this as I go through the Amazon. But eventually I had to come back to reality and cycle into town. The roads were terrible, but I was still on a high from the lake. I got to my hostel and had a great nights rest.

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