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 GENERAL INFO (Jump to Diary)
The Plurinational State of Bolivia is an unitary presidential constitutional republic, covering 1.098.581 square kilometres in-between Peru, Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina and Chile. It is a mix of the ultra high mountains and the lowlands, covered in dense jungle.
It is populated by 11.410.651 citizens, of which the majority (68%) are Mestizo; a person of combined European and Amerindian or Pacific Islander descent, while 20% are Indigenous. 97% are Christians.
The currency is Boliviano, worth 0,96 Danish Krone and €0,13. The GDP is US$35.699 billion.

Due to the mountains, the climate varies drastically from tropical to polar! The altitude is ranging from 90–6,542 metres. I will mainly be visiting the dryer areas in the south-west. More on this page.

The diverse climate offers four biomers, which again is the home of numerous plants and animals. Bolivia has over 17,000 species of seed plants and here are 398 mammals, over 1,400 birds (about 14% of birds known in the world),  204 amphibians, 277 reptiles, and 635 fish species. The insects are even richer, with more than 3.000 types of just butterfly.
Among the more interesting mammals are Greater long-nosed armadillo Dasypus kappleri, Nine-banded armadillo Dasypus novemcinctus, Seven-banded armadillo Dasypus septemcinctus, Andean hairy armadillo Chaetophractus nationi, Screaming hairy armadillo Chaetophractus vellerosus, Big hairy armadillo Chaetophractus villosus, Greater fairy armadillo Calyptophractus retusus, Six-banded armadillo Euphractus sexcinctus, Southern naked-tailed armadillo Cabassous unicinctus, Giant armadillo Priodontes maximus and the Southern three-banded armadillo.
And then there are the Sloths, Primates, Rodents, Tapeti Sylvilagus brasiliensis, Bats, Boto Inia geoffrensis, Tucuxi Sotalia fluviatilis, the cats and dogs, Brazilian tapir Tapirus terrestris, camels, deer and opossums.
Don't get me started on the flora:17,000 species of seed plants! I think here are 63 caudiciforms and close to 300 cacti, and I would like the see them. However, I guess a couple of years are needed to get a good scats in the surface of this biodiversity...
         I passed Bolivia back in 2013 - by mistake:
26/1. My Chilean map is a "bit" rough, and I have a hard time recognising the lakes. At one point, the little traffic stops at a major queue. I start walking up along it, to find out, if is a road work or a more permanent blocking. Then I notice it is only trucks, and figure it is one of the many check-points for trucks only.
I drive right passed, in the oncoming lane, and the officer just signals me to pass. A new corner of the huge lake reveals more Yellow-billed Pintail ducks; Anas georgica, several flamingo species, Andean Gulls; Chroicocephalus serranus, the small Silvery Grebe; Podiceps occipitalis, the large Giant Coot; Fulica gigantea and other water birds.
Out of the corner of my eye, I notices a sign saying; "Republica de Bolivia", making me think; "YES, I'm going that way, but not all the way". I even left my passport in my bag at the hotel - first time on this long tour.
Then it strikes me: I'm in Bolivia!!! It was not one of the usual truck check-points, it was the Chilean part of the border! I figure, I better try and sneak back, while the same officer is on duty. There are much more control the other way, but I sneak in behind a truck, which just have been set free. It works, and I'm back in Chile.

This time, the visit is planned, and I have a lot of sights lined up. This diary is a bit short, as my computer lost the battery, and I can't use my photos as notes, nor write the diary on the computer. iPhones are just not the same for me. Going through the photos at home reveals the camera had some focus-issues.
27/4 2024. I arrival from Paraguay in the afternoon, get through emigration and try get my funky Jimny. But despite I offer sufficient credit, and are willing to buy an additional insurance, I get no car – and I paid for it and the insurance, half a year ago. My bank tells me later, the lady at Hertz newer even tried to reserve the deposit, and I have way more credit than needed. There are none at the other rental counters. The little lady at the information stand does not understand a single word English, but is real helpful.
Now, I can only withdraw some cash; a million for pocket-money, and then find a taxi to drive me the 30 kilometres right across the huge town of Santa Cruz.
It is dark, when we reach the private home, called Sur Backpackers. I was told, it was a 60 fair, and I start to wonder, if is US$? It end up being 120, but at least local Boliviano; Bob, around € 22, and I feel lucky.
I ask my smiling host, if she knows of a car rental company, and she might. My plan is not based on wasted days. At least, tomorrow is only a short drive of 160 kilometres, and I might make it, given I get a car. I stay in a huge house, which is quite fancy. My host and her little son live in the house behind, on the same lot.
I find a little convenient store in a villa, a few houses away, and get noodle-cups, eggs and buns. Home to cook, and figure, how I can get this show on the road. Fruitless so far, except with another car, or a reduced roundtrip with missed sights, and wasted hotels. Busses can’t make it, and I love to be able to pullover, whenever I like to.
          The tour continues in Diary 2.

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