Category Archives: South America

Bolivia: Driving the Western Lagunas Route

After our days spent out on the flats, we were a crusty, salty mess. Once back to Uyuni, showers were in order for both humans and truck. Thus cleansed, we stocked up on more groceries, drinking water and gasoline. We were headed for the Western Lagunas Route in far southern Bolivia: a land of desolate wilderness at sky-high altitudes with few amenities along its 450km route. At the end was our penultimate country of the road trip: Chile.  The first

Bolivia: The Western Lagunas Route from Above

South of the Salar de Uyuni is a vast, sparsely-populated region of the Andes Mountains. This is the land of the Altiplano (literally ‘high plain’) and the area is rife with active volcanoes. The climate is cold, arid, and the winds fierce. Vegetation is scant to non-existent. Elevations are monumentally high; we hit a pass that was 5033 meters above sea level (16,512 ft) during our drive south towards the Chilean border. One only has to look at the aerial

Thanksgiving in Bolivia: Salar de Uyuni

Hello Bolivia!! We had some long driving days in Bolivia. The roads were in fair condition and we made good time heading south to the famous salt flats. Herds of llama and vicuna kept the scenery interesting.  Is it just me or is the weirdest thing you’ve ever seen on a roll of paper towels?! (and in english no less).  Chris makes a new friend. This little guy’s mama was the owner of our campground. He wanted nothing to do

Daily Life: Food

Life on the road often lacks the conveniences of home: we spend a great deal of time plotting our route, making sure we have gas in the car, accommodation for the night, and food in our bellies. When we’re not camping, we stay primarily in Airbnb apartments. Having a kitchen works well for us:  we can save money by cooking our own food, rather than eating in restaurants which tend to stretch both our budgets and patience as parents as

Bolivia: Let Us In! Please?

So, Americans trying to enter Bolivia can have a tough time. This is nothing new and not particularly surprising: The United States is not known to be exactly welcoming to other citizens crossing our borders so receiving reciprocal lousy treatment is almost expected. Bolivia charges every US citizen $160 USD to enter the country, precisely the same amount that the US charges Bolivian citizens for a visa (aka a reciprocity fee). Fair enough. What is surprising is that they want

Southern Peru: Wild and Windy Deserts

The area south of Lima is quieter, with fewer people and vast stretches of barren, rocky landscape. Most overlanders leave the PanAmerican Highway, turning inland to Arequipa, Cusco, and the allure of Machu Picchu. Which are locations not to be missed! Back in 2012, we loved Arequipa: exploring the former nunnery, and venturing into Colca Canyon for sightings of condors and long soaks in hot springs. Cusco is wonderfully busy and dripping with Incan ruins and culture. Tourists in REI

Peru: South of Lima (aka Screaming towards Bolivia!)

After our adventures in the mountains, it was back to the coast for sand and cities. And we kinda fell in love with the trucks in Peru. I mean, how can you not smile at this wild mop top rolling down the street? This one has been dubbed the Jon Bon Jovi, circa 1985.  The David Lee Roth 1988.  We tucked ourselves into a small deserted rv park on the edge of the lagoon just north of Lima.  The avian

Peru: Machu Picchu, Arequipa, and the Sacred Valley

Back in 2012, when our son Ben was 20 months old (and Emma had not yet made her appearance in the world) we traveled to Peru for two weeks. It was Ben’s first international trip and our introductory visit to South America. It was a great experience: we visited Arequipa, Lake Titicaca, Cusco, the Sacred Valley, and of course, Machu Picchu. In November 2017, when we were roaring through Peru, we elected to bypass the places we’d visited previously, choosing

Peru: Cordillera Blancas

The mountains are calling and we must go. We took a sharp swerve to the east to hit up some of Peru’s most stunningly gorgeous peaks. In Spanish Cordillera Blanca means ‘white range’, although they are still technically part of the Andes chain of mountains that snakes south; the continent’s crooked spine. They also serve as the continental divide. Weirdly, I expect divides to be in the middle of the continent: neatly packaging and sending their watery volumes into equal parts

Northern Peru: Booking it south and avoiding flying trash

Hullo Peru! After a long border crossing from Ecuador we tucked ourselves into a little campspot on the beach for a few days to regroup. The kids make good beach bums. Also! We had our first encounter with Peru’s famous hairless dogs. Not to be confused with Mexican hairless dogs. Peru’s specimens were bred by pre-Incan cultures along the coastal regions  but almost became extinct when the Spaniards arrived.  They are…weird. These guys weren’t completely hairless and had mottled skin

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