The best Bolivian destinations for nature lovers

Lovers of the outdoors have been hit hard by the lock-down measures taken all over the world, their souls itching to get back on the trail, climb a mountain, explore a river in an unknown jungle, bathe in a pristine waterfall after a hike in the forest. Bolivia is one of the best countries in South America to travel to if you love ecotourism, nature and the outdoors, named in the New York Times as one of the places to visit in 2020.

In this post, we tell you all about the best places in Bolivia to travel to if you are looking for a post-lockdown immersion in the Great Outdoors.

samaipata
The Fort, Samaipata

Samaipata

Samaipata is a small town about three hours away from the city of Santa Cruz, on the foothills of the Amboro National Park, a natural reservation known for its biodiversity and amazing, contrasting landscapes. The town itself is very quaint and offers an array of restaurants and lodging to fit every taste and budget.

The town is rife with tourist agencies where you can book all kinds of experiences, from hiking to the waterfalls, to climbing up to the Condor´s Nest, to exploring the Amboro National Park or The Fort, an Incan archeological site that was named Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.

amboro-south-refugio-los-volcanes
Amboro National Park (Ruta Verde Tours)

 

San Ignacio de Velasco

San Ignacio de Velasco is a town on the Chiquitos Missions Circuit in the department of Santa Cruz. It is one of the towns founded by Jesuit priests in colonial times, which have become famous for the blending of indigenous and western cultures, the architecture of its amazing churches, named Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO, and traditions in music, dance and fabrication of classical instruments that are still alive today.

PArque NKM
Caiman in one of the rivers in Noel Kempf Mercado Park

Best of all, San Ignacio is the entry gate to the incredible Noel Kempf Mercado Park, a pristine natural reservation so off the beaten path that many travelers recommend it as the only one in South America where you can actually hike for days without meeting another soul. Incredible wildlife, waterfalls, mountains and jungle, all in one amazing destination.

Parque Nacional 2
Wildlife is amazing at Noel Kempf Mercado Park

You can travel to San Ignacio de Velasco by train from Santa Cruz easily and afordably, online with the most reliable payment platforms, and book a tour to the Noel Kempf Mercado park from there.

Riberalta

Riberalta is a town on the departmento of Beni, a tropical region of Bolivia known for its rain forest tropical climate and many options for eco-tours through the tropical rivers and jungle. Riberalta is the place to go if you don´t flintch from tarantulas, like to see pink dolphins as well as alligators and will enjoy sleeping under a mosquitoe net.

bolivia-4613280_1920
Riberalta, Bolivia. Image by Patrick Fransoo from Pixabay

Traveling to Riveralta is not as easy and affordable as the first two options, but very much worth it. To travel to Riberalta, you have two options; either do it bu bus or plane. To travel to Riberalta by plane, you will take a plane from one of the major Bolivan cities (La Paz, Cochabamba or Santa Cruz). It is unlikely that you will find a direct flight, so you will probably make a scale in Trinidad, the department´s capital, before arriving in Riberalta. It is even possible you will need to change planes, depending on where you are arriving from.

 If you choose to travel by bus, you can take one from the Bus Terminal of Santa Cruz or La Paz. Be aware that the highway conditions are very poor, making the trip very long, even though the actual distance between Riberalta and any major city is not that big (La Paz and Riberalta, for example, are separated by 922 km, but the trip takes about 30 hours). If you don´t mind a long bus trip, the views are gorgeous.

Meet you on the trail!

Traveling again after lock-down, part II

In our last post, we told you about some of the ways in which traveling will change once the measures taken to control the spread of covid-19 are reversed. Today, we are back to tell you about a few more changes you can expect, so you can begin planing your first gettaway after lock-down.

coronavirus maleta
Packing a suitcase will not be the same
  1. Packing a suitcase:

The health crisis the world is going through implies that a lot of emphasis has been put on personal hygiene and dissinfection, with recomendations that people should wash and their hands several times a day and takng measures to prevent contamination. For a person who is traveling, this probably means carrying alcohol in gel or any other type of hand sanitizer, wet wipes with dissinfecting components, even latex gloves and face masks. You will probably start packing these items in your suitcase, and airlines might have to allow passengers to carry liquids on board. It is also likely that you will be packing your favorite, fashion face masks so prevention doesn´t cramp your style. Facemasks have become an essensial item, and they are on they way to becoming a fashion statement, as well.

It is also likely that thermometers and fever medicine will also become indispensable carry-on items.

2. Documentation:

It is very likely that you will need more to travel than just your visa and passport in order to go abroad. At lest for a few months after the quarantene, you may need to carry some sort of sanitary ID stating you are immune, be it because you have been vaccinates, (once there is a vaccine) or because you have recovered from the virus. In the film Contagion, there was this wristband with a code bar stating the person´s sanitary status when crossing borders. Some thing like that may be rutine in the more technologicaly advanced countries.

coronavirus hotel
Hotels will offer confort and dissinfection protocols

3. Priorities when choosing a place to stay and how to travel:

When you plan your trip, you will have more than just confort and amenities in mind. Passengers and guests will want to know the health and hygiene protocols and practices of each transportation company and hotel: how often do they dissinfect the surfaces, with what chemicals, how do they control air quality, how they limit unnecesarry interaction with other guests and passengers. And this is exactly what service providers will begin to advertise to get more people to book with their company. For example, it is likely that companies such as Airbnb will see a fall in their reservations, as people choose to stay in hotels with established and standardized health and sanitary protocols.

4. Flexibilization of tickets:

The current health crisis caused many sudden borders closing and trips and flights being cancelled. When these measures let up in the future, it is likelly that transportation companies will be more flexible with the cancellation and change of tickets. This, in the understanding that there could be new surges in some countries, which could lead again to the sudden cancellation of trips and closing of borders. It may also be that passengers are less willing to make a trip if they have cold simptoms, even if it is not covid-19, and may prefer to change the date of the trip or cancell (traveling with  cold will not be socially acceptable for some time).

Thus, you will want to know the cancellation and change policies of every company before booking. When you buy your bus or train tickets online to travel around South America, for example, with Tickets Bolivia, you can cancel your tickets for a refund with 48 hours anticipation. You can also change the date or leave the date of the trip pending for an entire year at no extra cost.

coronavirus masks
Facemask as fashion statement

At Tickets Bolivia, we will work with transportation companies so they meet all standards, and will inform our clients about the quality of their services. Our commitment is to provide all the information our clients need when planing their trips.

Meanwhile, lets stay connected! Follow us in Facebook to keep informed in real time about the re-opening of borders and routes in the next weeks.

Traveling again after lock-down

Just like social and commercial interaction, traveling will not be the same when the crisis caused by covid-19 passes. We will and will not go back to “normal”.

The world is going through a crisis such as we haven´t seen in our lifetimes; closed borders in every continent, hundreds of thousands of cancelled trips, passengers stuck abroad without a way to come home and many stimied plans. This, without mentioning the thousands of lives lost and the fear and anxiety many of us are feeling. Just remember, as the saying goes, this too, shall pass.

fronteras
Closed borders in Colombia

No matter what country we are living in, the lock-down imposed to control the spread of covid-19, the situation demands that we postpone plans and dreams in order to stay at home to keep the curve of illness at sustainable levels. We will come out of this, of course, and we will travel again, to feel the joy of looking out a train window, a incredible landscape flowing by, or the vertigo of an airplane takeoff, the wonder of steping into a new city for the first time. We will travel again, but some things won´t be the same.

In this post, we tell you about three of many thigs that will probably will change in the way we travel in the near future.

Qantuxcape
Tour bus in La Paz
  • We will travel more within our own country

It is very likely that national tourism and travel will be the first to recover when lock-down measures are lifted, since national travel will not have to deal with national borders,  which may still be difficult to cross for many months.

Probably, we will have to take this opportunity to travel within our countries, not only due to sanitary restrictions that will exist for international travel, but also to help recover the economy of national tourism and travel, which will have been strongly hit by the crisis. It will be an opportunity to get to know these tourist destinations in your country that you have been neglecting.

  • We will travel more by land

Airlines are amont the industries that will be most hit by this sanitary crisis and the masures to contain it. Once they are able to operate again, they will probably have to fly with emptier seats (no more middle seats for a while) in order to limit passenger interaction. This might cause a significant increase in prices. Not to mention the husstle at airports; if lines were tortuous before, can you imagine when you add sanitary checks?

2018-08-17 (4)
Ferroviaria Andina

On the other hand, one of the effects of this crisis, which has stopped many industries is the recovery of ecosystems and the decrease in pollution and contamination of the environment. When we get out of this crisis, it will be hard to go back to “normal” with no awareness of how our “normal” affects the earth and, eventually, our hability to live on it. We will probably be more concious than ever of our carbon footprint and the effecto on the environment of the desitions we make when traveling.

Therefore, it is likely we will choose train travel more often, since it is the most eco-efficient way to go) instead of planes for longer trips, whenever possible. We will likely choose bus or train for shorter, national trips as well, since they have a much lower rate of pollution per passenger than air travel.

  •  We will buy our tickets online

Like in many other socia and comertial interactions, traveler´s will chose more often to avoid handling chash, not out of a fear of getting robbed, but out of  a fear of holding this object that changes hands hundreds of times and may be a hard-to-sterilize source of contamination.

office-work-1149087_1280
Buying online (Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay )

Also, buying ht etickets over the Internet allows you to avoid crowded places, such as land terminals, which will also protect you agains the propagation of infectious deseases. You can buy online bus and train tickets for Bolivia, Chile and Peru easily and safely.

So, despite the fact that many things will probably change in the mid-term, such as where we choose to travel and by what means, and how we purchase tickets, we are certain we will travel again, in a more sustainable way than before.