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RIDE Adventures Blog

Top 5 Reasons for a Motorcycle Adventure in Bolivia

Posted by Eric Lange on September 23, 2011
Eric Lange
Since riding his KTM 950 Adventure down to South America in 2008 and launching RIDE Adventures in 2010, Eric now resides in Oregon for most of each year. Riding is still a regular part of his work though, in that guiding tours is a passion he'll always have, and researching new routes and regions allows RIDE Adventures to continue growing and providing reliable travel services to adventure minded riders and travelers from around the world.

Bolivia Motorcycle Trip

Top 5 Reasons for a Motorcycle Adventure in Bolivia

Bolivia.  Motorcycle.  Adventure.

Combine those 3 words together, and you’ve got a recipe for one of the most surprising, beautiful, and natural travel experiences anywhere in the world.

Look beyond what most people know about Bolivia, (that it’s a poor country in South America) and the friendly faces, raw and un-tamed landscape, and absolutely incredible scenery to ride through make for a magnificent place to have a motorcycle adventure experience. 

Consider these Top 5 Reasons to have a motorcycle adventure in Bolivia:

1)   The Road of Death!

While it might sound like a deterrent, “El Camino de la Muerte” (The Road of Death) is attracting tourists from all over the world to the challenge of riding what has been labeled “The World’s Most Dangerous Road.”   Now being highlighted in Mitsubishi’s Outlander and Outlander Sport commercial (below) it is appropriately named by having the highest percentage of deaths per year of any road in the world.

Aside from the exhilarating danger involved in making this passage, the scenery and surroundings are second to few in the world.  High in the Andes, and descending down into the Bolivian jungle, the atmosphere is simply incredible!

2)   The Uyuni Salt Flats

Known in Spanish as the “Salar de Uyuni,” the single largest salt flat in the world is here in southwestern Bolivia.  On what is 10,582 square kilometers (4,086 square miles) of completely flat salt, you’ll be situated high in the Andes Mountains at 11,995 feet (3,656 meters) of altitude.  Once there on a motorcycle, you can pretty much go speeding across the flats in any direction you want as fast as you want, (keeping in mind that some small potholes and cracks are out there!)  Motorcycle tours in the area are typically held between May and November, as the Patagonia season takes over when the rainy season begins in the high plains region around Uyuni.  Visit the salt flats in the middle of the rainy season though, and you’ll see around 6 inches of water covering the entire flat!  (Hell on a motorcycle so be sure to wash well immediately after riding through here.) 

3)   Stay in a Salt Hotel

Along side the world’s largest salt flat in Uyuni rest a few opportunities to stay in hotels made entirely from the same salt.  Examples like the Luna Salada Hotel on the eastern edge of the flats are built entirely from hand-carved blocks of salt that make up the floor, walls, furniture, and basically everything that goes into making a hotel’s structure.  Quite fascinating and beautiful at the same time, one might not believe it was possible until it’s seen in person.  Perched there on the edge of the Uyuni Salt Flat, what a perfect way to watch the sun set and colors change to the west.

4)   Pure, raw, earth & culture

In our constant search for the chance to break out and get away from the office, airport, and pavement-surrounded lives that many of us live, Bolivia might just be the answer we’re all looking for.  Surely, other areas for motorcycle tourism can offer such a dive into nature, but Bolivia’s lacking infrastructure and remaining cultures sure do make it seem like a separation from what we know in our daily lives.  Take a look at a more simple way of living and how people survive without the billboards, televisions, and smartphones reminding them how to. (Not that billboards, televisions, or smartphones don’t exist in Bolivia.  They’re just not so commonplace as they are in other parts of the world.)

5)   The exact opposite: La Paz

Commonly referred to as Bolivia’s Capital and settled like an eagles nest between the surrounding mountains, the city of La Paz is really just Bolivia’s financial and administrative capital (much like New York City has been to the United States.)

It’s not “just” the largest city though; La Paz might be the most amazing juxtaposition to its surrounding vast beauty and nature that most of us will find anywhere in the world.  A “paradise for people-watching,” immerse yourself in the action and watch how street vendors, taxis, workers, and traffic all combine to what might seem like complete mayhem at first.  It all works somehow though, as this way of living repeats itself day after day and Bolivians teach us all a little lesson in temperament and persistence.  Every motorcycle trip in Bolivia should allow for some time off the bike to see this place.

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