Road Block Trouble in Bolivia...
Trip Start Jan 12, 2006
275Trip End Ongoing
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Had no problems at Bolivian immigration and got into a cab to find an ATM and get to the terminal for my 9am bus. ATM was no problem but turns out there is a road block half way between the border where I was and Santa Cruz which was my final destination some 8 hours away
I met an Argentine guy (Ronal) in the same predicament, so we put our heads together to come up with a plan. We discovered we could catch expresso´s (not coffee´s!! but cars that take 4 or 5 people, sort of like a taxi but not). So we took our first expresso to Villamonte (15 bolivianos and 1 hour away), in Villamonte we caught another expresso to Camiri (25 bolivianos and 2.15 hours). We were dropped at the the road block and had to walk 1.5 kilometres to the inner perimeter of the roadblock. A local boy had a wheelbarrow and took our bags the 1.5kilomtres UPHILL!! We couldn't keep up with him!!!
Once in the inner perimeter we took another expresso into town where we had lunch. After lunch another expresso to the inner perimeter of the roadblock on the opposite side of town and then had to walk 3 kilometres to the our perimeter where we caught another expresso to the awaiting bus!! 8 taxis, 25 Bolivianos (for the bus) and 5 hours later we arrived in Santa Cruz!!! Amazingly 3 hours later than the original bus but at 3 times the price which in USD was only $20!! A major inconvenience, but a great introduction to the way things work in Bolivia.
HOT TIPS for travellers:
1) EVERY hotel is cheaper than the HI affiliate! I stayed at the Hotel Amazonas in the matrimonial suite for 100BS (USD$22).
2) Check with the consulate before any travel in Bolivia as issues like mine above are common
3) I met an English couple at the beginning of my trip and their advice was "don't take flights in Bolivi", I now know why!!!