Thursday, October 2, 2008

Bolivia, here I come!

For a bit, US citizens weren't allowed into Bolivia, then no-one was allowed in. That has changed now. For those of us from the States, you need a visa in your passport if you want to visit Bolivia. Take the following items to the Bolivian consulate (double check their Web site):

  • Photocopy of your passport
  • Photocopy of your proof of Yellow Fever vaccination
  • Photocopy of your hotel reservation
  • Photocopy of your bus or airline ticket into and out of the country
  • Photocopy of a VISA card
  • A passport photo
  • $135

I went to the Bolivian consulate here in Salta, Argentina to get mine. I had to go to a bank here in the city and deposit the $135 in the account of the Bolivian consulate, then take a photocopy of the receipt back to the consulate with me. Then I had to convince them not to make me show them a round trip bus ticket, since I'm planning on hitchhiking into the country from Argentina, then exiting to the northwest into Peru a few weeks later. I have no round trip ticket of any sort. This didn't cause too much flak.

I had my visa one day after taking all the requisite items to the consulate. It's a 5-year visa (like my Brazilian visa had been), but is in a temporary passport that expires in March. The reason my passport is temporary is because it's a replacement for my original (the one that had the 5-year visa for Brazil in it) that got stolen in Buenos Aires back in March. So, the 5-year visa for Bolivia is really good only for a few months. At least that's plenty long for this trip.

Moreover, my proof of vaccinations was in my stuff that was stolen back in March. I had to wait for several weeks here in Salta for a replacement. So, interestingly, 5 months later, I'm still feeling the sting of being robbed in March.

In the morning, I'm planning on sticking my thumb out and catching a ride north to Bolivia. Should be interesting.

4 comments:

Justin said...

Jay I spoke with you months ago about south america as I was taking a trip. I spent 9 weeks wondering around peru , bolivia and argentina. and let me tell you i had a blast and loved every minute. you tips were helpful. the salt flats in bolivia were by far one of the coolest things I have ever seen. Simply amazing. When we crossed by border from peru all I showed was my yellow fever vac, the visa form, and 100 US dollars. It was the simplest thing ever. Enjoy and keep the post coming.

To get you ready for the salt flats take a look at my pictures http://www.pbase.com/oreoucky/salar_de_uyuni

I got some more pictures on the site from peru to get you excited as well. Good luck


Justin

Jay said...

Justin,

Just got to La Paz today, after a 4-day trek from Tupiza to Uyunia.

I was thinking about you last week and was going to write you and ask if you were back from your trip, yet. I'm glad you had such a good time.

I'll check out your photos shortly. I've got some catching up to do after 5 days without Internet!

Thanks for writing!

Jay said...

Jason,

I looked at some of your Salar de Uyuni and La Paz photos and you got some great shots. I'll try to look at more later.

Loved hearing about your sharing a mate with locals. That's definitely the best!

You're right about La Paz (just got here yesterday). It's crazy!! And the markets are crazy!! Can't believe how cheap food is. Had a cheap, but mediocre, dinner last night. Looking forward to trying more for lunch and dinner today. I'm starving! Gotta book a tour first.

Justin said...

Yes La Paz is a crazy city. Do the death road ride it is amazing. I went with Gravity.

As for a hostel Adventure Brew is pretty sweet. They have a bar up top and pancake breakfast. We had a blast there.

While in La Paz we also got the phone number from some other backpackers to an inmate in San Pedro prison and got to go visit them and hear their intense stories of smuggling drugs. One of the craziest but best experiences ever. There is a book about it called Marching Powder. Check it out.

As for the food. There is so much good food around the streets and the markets. If you hit the markets around lunch time there will be women serving food and tons of bolivians eating. Its in the long covered white stretch of stalls by the mercado lanza. My friend and I were the only non bolivians but we had a killer dish of meat potatoes and rice with a coke for 8 boliivianos each. (dirt cheap) Just eat at the local markets its good food and a good time. The fresh fruit smoothie stands rock as well.

If you have any other questions please ask. Peru was great too and I went on a real nice hike as you can see in my gallery. The guides were great if you want the info.

Enjoy