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Category Archives: Bolivia

Landhaus in Samaipata, Bolivia

Samaipata is the name of a small town about three hours east of Santa Cruz de la Sierra. It is a famous weekend destination for Cruzarians because of its tranquility and lovely climate. The world heritage site Fuerte de Samaipata is very close and Samaipata is one of the gates for the Parque Nacional Amboró.

swimming pool area

One of the best options for staying in Samaipata is called Landhaus. Situated at the quiet edge of town, it is only a six minute walk from the city center. There are several bungalows and a huge and beautiful garden with a fantastic pool area. The hostel has a wide variety of accommodations, from small rooms with private bathroom for a single person or couple (on a tight budget), to a luxury house for up to eight people including a terrace with a fantastic view and a great kitchen. Some options have open fire places. The resort-like complex even has a cozy sauna to relax in after a long day trekking.

Café

For 30 years the Landhaus has been run by a incredible friendly German couple. After a long period of traveling they fell in love with Samaipata and created their own little paradise. Both are artists. Helga has her own painting studio and Georg loves to experiment with metal or wood. Thus, most of the beautiful decoration is handmade by the owners and also for sale.

Living room in the "Luxus-Bungalow"

Furthermore, on weekends and public holidays, Helga runs a unique café with vegetarian snacks, cookies, pies and tea. The breakfast offering is far away from what you usually get in South America. This breakfast has homemade German-style whole-bread and jam, as well as homemade ham and sausage.  It makes a perfect start for your lovely day.

Services:

– Secure parking place
– Childrens’ playground
– Sun terrace
– Swimming-pool
– BBQ-facilities
– Sauna
– Towels
– Kitchen in some bungalows
– Café (on weekends and public holidays)
– Breakfast
– German book exchange
– Artesania

Adress: Landhaus, Calle Murillo, Samaipata, Santa Cruz, Bolivien

Phone: +591-3-944 6033

Email: landhaus@cotas.com.bo

Website (spanish/english/german/dutch): http://samaipata-landhaus.com/

Prices: please contact Georg or Helga directly

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Adventure Brew Hostel in La Paz Bolivia

A free beer every night? In your hostel? That might be a common thing in Hanoi, with it’s Bia Hoi – fresh beer. But you can get fresh beer and the same bitter-sweet deal in the heart of South America:

in the Adventure Brew Hostel in La Paz, Bolivia.

The Adventure Brew

But you don’t have to be a beer fan to enjoy your stay in one of La Paz’s backpacker institutions, although it definitely helps. The Adventure Brew is a social hostel, with 140 beds, a common TV, DVD and Internet areas, a ping pong table, a pool table and not to forget, both a skybar and an underground bar, serving their own micro-brewed Saya beer.

And if you don’t find old or new friends at those places, you can try the common breakfast area with all-you-can-eat pancakes or you can always just book a tour of the Death Road through the in-house tour agency.

If you’re already traveling with a companion, that’s great, too. They have a whole separate building for people who are not so fond of dorm-style accommodation. There you can get your own private double or triple room with your own private bathroom.

View from skybar with microbrewed beer

The hostel is located right next to the bus station and a 10 minute walk from La Paz’s main square and tourist area. The view from the skybar or rooftop terrace is very nice, especially at night. The location is unbeatable for catching a bus, but it’s still central enough for walking everywhere. La Paz is a very lively city and there’s always something going on near the main square.

Every dorm bed comes with it’s own light, a power plug and a safety locker. The wifi is fast and reliable, in the bar, in your room, as well as on the rooftop terrace. There’s hot water all day long.

The Adventure Brew Skybar

Services:

  • Free pancake breakfast
  • Free microbrew beer
  • Fast Food cafeteria
  • WiFi
  • Internet Computers
  • Shared kitchen
  • Book exchange
  • Bars
  • Rooftop terrace
  • Cable TV
  • Security Lockers
  • 24 Hour Security and Reception
  • Tours and information
  • Laundry Service
  • Luggage Storage

Address: Avenida Montes 503, La Paz, Bolivia

Directions: right at the main street, close to the bus station

Phone: (591-2) 291-5896

Email: theadventurebrewhostel@gmail.com

Website: www.theadventurebrewhostel.com

Dorm Beds from 46 Bolivianos

Prices:

  • 20 Bed Mixed Dorm – 46 Bolivianos
  • 12 Bed Mixed Dorm – 46 Bolivianos
  • 10 Bed Mixed Dorm – 49 Bolivianos
  • 8 Bed Mixed Dorm – 49 Bolivianos
  • 8 Bed Dorm with private bathroom – 60 Bolivianos
  • 4 Bed Dorm with private bathroom – 70 Bolivianos
  • Twin/Double with private bathroom – 160 Bolivianos / room
  • Triple with private bathroom – 210 Bolivianos / room

We end where we began?

The beginning

Summing up La Aventura Project in one post has left us here staring at a blank page for weeks now.  The same questions run through our heads: “What did we do?” and, “What did we accomplish?”  The jump back into life in the USA was quick, and we were immediately left with little time outside of work, back to normal US life.  The world we came from was stuck in the backs of our minds, left to dwell in occasional yearnings and stories misunderstood by their listeners.  When I have a street food craving at 11pm there is no friendly woman selling tortillas across the street.  Saddening, but it’s also nice to have a kitchen.

Here is a quick list of answers to some of the more popular questions we have been getting from friends and family:
Yes, they did in fact have electricity in Latin America.
Yes, we got sick a few times from the food.  But it was all delicious and we don’t regret trying everything!
No, we did not notice any drug cartel activity.
No, we don’t plan on settling down now or buying a house or anything like that.

Trying to make a list of our accomplishments sounded corny but I did it anyways to brag a little bit:
Learned Spanish to an intermediate level in which we could have decent conversations.
Traveled to 10 countries without flying.
Got engaged!
Learned much more about Latin American history than we did at school, more than most North Americans know.
Hiked the Inca Trail.
Built our blog into a resource for other travelers.

Regrets:  I wish we could have done more volunteering, but maybe you could say that we were more like scouts, examining the playing field.  We did have two stays at WWOOF farms, one in Colombia and another in Ecuador.  It would be fun to check out some more WWOOF farms in Central America someday.

The travel at first was much easier than I expected.  The roads were paved and the buses as nice as the Megabus that we took in the United States.  But as we entered Bolivia our luck was about the change.  It was there that we experienced transportation strikes and washed out highways.  Bolivia was by far the most “out there” country we visited.

La Aventura Project started as a film project and a longing to escape from it all.  Along the way we wrote more and more and eventually were able to use the website to make the adventure last longer.  We passed through phases of preferring writing over filming and vis-a-versa.  Near the end we really dreaded the thought of returning to the grind of working class society.  Here everyone makes little problems seem like the end of the world.  There there were real problems.

The future: We will continue adding to the website and will be posting hostel reviews by guest writes.  (More info if you are interested.)  Our goal is for the website to grow and continue as we start posting our travel tales from the States.  We’ll be beginning the US section of the website in September when we take a road trip across the northwest in the process of moving to California!  We’re also working hard to edit the documentary and we’ll post updates on that front as it gets done.

Ending where we began: So now we find ourselves in much the same place we were in when the seed of the idea for La Aventura Project began.  Making the most of the US and working hard to save money for future adventures.  Dreaming and trying to decide which continent to conquer next.  Asia?  Africa?  Europe?  South again to finally make it all the way to Patagonia?  We have no idea where we should go, but luckily we have awhile to decide as we work to replenish our bank accounts.  The only sure thing is that we can’t stay here for too long, so una nueva aventura is unquestionably on the horizon.

“There is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.” -Christopher McCandless

Chau chicos.

The Final Superlatives

We’re still working on a big, cleverly and intelligently written sum-up of the whole darn adventure.  It’s hard though!  It is coming soon, but for now enjoy the final edition of our La Aventura Project superlatives!

Days in South and Central America: 217

Dollars Spent: $10,586.14

Average Dollars per day: $70.45

Countries Visited: 10

Books Read: 22 (Carrie), lost track (Zach)

Doctor visits: 1 (Zach), 0 (Carrie)

Things We Lost: More random stuff than we remember

Favorite Food: ceviche (Zach), pupusas (Carrie)

Favorite Beverage: Colombian coffee, Campos de Solana vino tinto from Tarija, Bolivia, and Flor de Caña rum from Nicaragua

Best Wildlife Sighting: dolphins on the cruise from Panamá to Colombia

Nicest People: Colombians and Salvadorans

Most Touristy Countries: Perú and Guatemala

Most American Retirees: Panamá

Scariest/Coolest Experience: the eruption of Tungurahua Volcano

Most Liver Damage: Loki Hostel

Biggest Personal Changes: dreadlocks and eating meat (Carrie), actually speaking a second language (Zach)

Longest Bus Marathon: 3 days almost-straight, Trinidad, Bolivia to Arequipa, Perú

Best Hostel: Hostal Las Olas in Copacabana, Bolivia

Best Place to Open Our Bar Someday: Canoa, Ecuador

Most Sobering Site: civil war museum in Perquín, El Salvador

Most Life-Changing Moment: getting engaged

Sweatiest We’ve Ever Been in Our Lives: Nicaragua

Most Expensive Country/Most Fast Food Places: Costa Rica

Most Breeds of Potatoes: Perú

Best Shopping: Panajachel, Nicaragua

Creepiest Hotel: the Auto Hotel in Sonsonate, El Salvador

Favorite Country in Central America: El Salvador

Favorite Country Overall: Ecuador!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tasty Tasty Tap Water

I thought I would take a quick second to talk about where we have been told that the tap water is drinkable and our experiences with drinking it.  As we travel further, we will add to the list.

Bolivia:  We did not drink any tap water in Bolivia and would not recommend doing so.

Colombia:  We drank the tap water in the following cities:  Medellin – The water there was perfect and tasted pretty good.  Have not heard of anyone getting sick from it.  Bogotá – The water didn’t give us any problems but didn’t taste perfect and we were told that it bothers some peoples’ stomachs.  Cartagena – we drank tons of tap water there but one time I did have a pain that felt water related.  Taganga: We drank the tap water there but my stomach did feel a little weird a few times.  San Agustín – The water was pretty good and we had no problems.  Cali – We filled up our water bottle in the bathroom there and had no problems.  Popayan – We filled up a bottle in the bathroom at the bus terminal and had no problems.  Basically all the cities and population centers seemed fine.  However, out in the country and the places where the bus lets you off to eat lunch are questionable and you should always ask a local before doing anything stupid.

Ecuador:  The water there is not good.  Don’t drink it.  Baños – As of now the water is not safe but in the next few years they hope to have a new purification system running.  I did drink some water one night in Chugchilan when I was really desperate but it wasn’t a good idea.

Panamá:  We drank the tap water in Panamá City and had no problems.  Don’t drink the water in Bocas del Toro.

Perú:  We did not drink any tap water in Perú and would not recommend doing so.

Since we are always trying to save money, we try to buy as little bottled water as possible.  We always boil some in our hostel kitchens (at least three minutes of hard boiling to purify it) when we get a chance and if someone tells us we can drink from the sink we always do.  Yes, sometimes this comes back to haunt us but with the money we save I think its worth it.  Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?

2/3 Highlights!

So, due to our crazy schedule changes, we’re actually past the 2/3 mark on our trip :-(.  But, since we just left South America and are heading to Central, we figured now would be the most logical time to do our “Close-enough-to-2/3rds” superlatives!

Days in South America:  168

Dollars Spent (not including flight):

Countries Visited: 4

Books Read: 19 (Carrie), 12 (Zach)

Number of shirts left: 6 (Carrie), 3 (Zach)

Superlatives

Favorite Food: ceviche (Zach), llapingachos (Carrie)

Favorite Snack: corn/cheese pancake thingies from Ecuador

Favorite Beverage: Campos de Solana vino tinto from Tarija, Bolivia

Most Craved Food Currently: orange cheese (Carrie), sour cream (Zach)

Things We’re Most Excited For in USA:  friends, Netflix, cooking, baking (Carrie), telling stories to family and friends (Zach)

Most Annoying Phenomenon: staring people

Longest Bus Marathon: 3 days almost-straight, Trinidad, Bolivia to Arequipa, Perú

Favorite Activity: still The Inca Trail with The Southwest Circuit as a close second.

Nicest People: still Colombians

Favorite Big City: Lima, Perú

Favorite Small City: Cuzco, Perú

Dumpiest Town: Uyuni, Bolivia

Best Hostel: Hostal Las Olas in Copacabana, Bolivia

Best Place to Open Our Bar Someday: Canoa, Ecuador

Most Enjoyable Hike: Isla del Sol, Bolivia

Most Miserable Hike: Laguna Quilotoa, Ecuador

Most Controversial Post: Happy Birthday Blog

Worst Addiction: Fried chicken

Most Life-Changing Moment: getting engaged

Hottest Place: Colombian coast

Most Mosquitoes: Bolivian Amazon

Biggest Disappointment: Taganga, Colombia

Biggest Ripoff: Bus from Medellin to Santa Marta, Colombia during Easter week=130,000 COP ($70) per ticket

Still Our Favorite Country: Ecuador!!!!!!!  We love you!!!!

Goals for Central America

1. Not sweat to death!

2. Show Zach’s friend Steve a good time in Nicaragua!

3. Do more filming!

4. Improve our Spanish!

5. Make it home safely, and with a little bit of money left.

10 Tips For Cheaper Travel in South America

While on the road for extended periods of time, it’s more important than ever to make consistently good economic decisions in order to keep your trip going as long as possible.  Here are a few tips and things we have learned in our months living out of our backpacks.

1:  Try to find hostels with kitchens and cook at least one meal per day.  Sometimes cooking doesn’t save you a whole lot over what you can find for cheap on the streets, but there is a small difference, and it’s usually healthier than the cheapest street food!

2:  If you do eat out, try to make it at lunch time.  You can usually find “almuerzos” or set lunches that are the cheapest and largest portions.  Prices generally go up for dinner time.  Also, places with gringo food are ALWAYS more expensive and usually unsatisfying (just never as good as the “real thing” back home)!

3:  Stay at hostels that aren’t in the guidebook.  Most of the time these places are just as nice as the ones that everyone else is staying in.  However, lots of times these spots will do a bit of bargaining as soon as you say something about the price being too high.  Tell them that you are “going to look at other places and might come back later” and see how low they will go.

4:  Never get in a taxi until the driver tells you the price.  We have made this mistake too many times.  A simple “Cuanto cuesta?”  in advance will save you tons when it’s all added up.  Also, always ask a local how much it should cost before even flagging down a cab and then don’t settle until you get the right price.

5:  If you have a tent, use it.  Camping is super cheap if you can find the places to do it.  Look around, sometimes you can find campgrounds with kitchens and everything.

6:  Steer clear of international buses.  It’s almost always cheaper to take the domestic bus to the border town, taxi across, then pick up another bus on the other side.

7:  Wash your clothes in the sink.  Laundry services are cheap but they add up over time.  Lots of hostels have signs telling you that it’s not allowed but just be sneaky.  Wear your jeans in the shower and scrub them there.

8:  Drink water and boil it yourself when you get the chance.  Soda and beer are expensive.  Bring a water bottle on your trip and boil the water in your hostel’s kitchen.

9:  Volunteer, especially if you are staying one place for an extended period (over 1 week).  There are thousands of volunteering opportunities throughout the continent.  Some are completely free, some cost a little.  Find something that you enjoy and help people out while getting some help yourself.

10:  Couchsurfing is amazing and if you haven’t tried it yet, you are missing out.  It’s all over the world and we have never had a bad experience.  Even if you don’t need a place to crash, check it out for locals that can show you around new cities.