Bolivia

POTOSI

Where to stay

Koala Den, Calle Junin 56- good value, including a nice breakfast, free internet cafe, hot showers. Also book trips to mines (see below).

Where to eat

Cafe Potocchi, Calle Millares 13. Very friendly, varied menu including local specialities and good veggie options.

What to do

Visit the mines. Gruelling and depressing, but a must-see if you´re not scared of dark comfined spaces. I went with Koala Tours, booked through their hostel (they also have an agency in town) which isn´t the cheapest at 100 bolivianos but the price includes a 15% donation to a miner´s health organisation and all equipment (helmet, light, protective clothing -a nd you do need all this, so check the agency provides it).

Casa de Moneda, just off the main square. Museu, just off the main square in the old mint. History of money making, minerals, mining etc. Interesting building too. You have to visit it on a guided tour (in Spanish), so allow at least 2 hours.

 

SUCRE

Where to stay

Do not stay in Hostel Amigos. Unfriendly, mean, dirty showers, no lights to upper floors.

Hostel San Francisco, Avenida Arce 198 – highly recommended. Good value private rooms with electric rooms. Central but set eound quiet courtyard so not noisy.

Where to eat

Cafe Amsterdam, Calle Bolivar a couple of blocks from Florin – run in aid of street children, especially the shoeshine boys who work on Plaza 25 de Noviembre. Didn’t try the food but definitely a nice place for a drink. They also run fund raising events eg pub quizzes and city tours.

Cafe Florin, Calle Bolivar 567, Dutch run. Pub style place, riotously crowded during happy hour. Good place for chilled out breakfast. Outdoor space in courtyard.

Cafe Premier. Popular local cafe on Ave Arce, a block or so from main square. Fresh juices, humitas, burgers and snacks etc

Joy Ride Cafe, just off main square. A gringo hangout with nice food, book exchange, patio.

What to do

Lots of churches. Dino Tour – tacky but quite interesting. Open dinosaur themed trucks leave from just outside cathedral at 9am, 10am and 12 to go to a theme park next to some 35 million year old dinosaur footprints. You can just go see the footprints if you don’t want to spend 2 hours in the park, just hop on the previous bus – which will leave shortly after you get there, so don’t hang around!

La Recoleta – worth walking up to the church/mirador for lovely views. Nice cafe with outdoor lounging space just below the square.

Moving on

The bus terminal is a 5 bol. taxi ride away and there are also lots of agencies in town. I used Oasis in a gallery on Ave Arce (they also change money, when they have cash) but they charged 25 bol commission when they´d told me 10. Excellent cama bus service with El Dorado to La Paz, extremely comfortable but take your own food.

 

UYUNI

Where to stay

I’d say, if you don’t have to stay here, don’t. There´s nothing really wrong with the place, it’s quite sweet really, there’s just not much to do. So if you’re heading to Potosi or Sucre (La Paz seems to be OK) buy your ticket out as soon as you get there, if not before, as buses seem to be really full.

There’s no central bus station, there’s a street of bus company offices (Trans Emperador was recommended for the bone shaking trip to Potosi) behind the market where you buy your ticket and the buses also leave from there.

Hotel Mosoj, just by the clock tower was nice and clean with hot showers. Private rooms, not dorms. Cute Andre, 9 years old, running reception part time.

Where to eat

On the main square, especially if it’s siesta time, when nothing else is open.

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