Bienvenidos a Bolivia & Horseback Riding in Tupiza

Trip Start Jan 14, 2009
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Trip End May 2010


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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Travel to and Crossing the Bolivian Border

It was hard to leave the comforts of Argentina (and Sally's company!), but we got tough and bought our tickets to La Quiaca, the border town between Argentina and Bolivia.

Vistas from our bus in northern Argentina
Vistas from our bus in northern Argentina

You'd think after the 26-hr bus ride, we'd be looking for some rest, but instead, we set our sights on the Salar de Uyuni (blog entry upcoming!) and from La Quiaca, we gathered up our bags, hopped in a taxi for about 1km to the border, and crossed by foot. FYI, none of the travel books we've seen really explained this border crossing very well. Lindsey got a kick in the crotch with the $135 USD entrance fee (USA is the only country that has to pay a fee). We crossed though, and were lucky to arrive in Villazón, the border town on the other side in Bolivia, on one of the four days a week the train runs to Tupiza. The train is a much more comfortable, faster, and more scenic way to get to Tupiza than bus. It takes 3 hours by train and some say 7 hours by bus. We got the fanciest accommodations on the train and it still cost only about $7 USD per person.

Note, you can take the Salar de Uyuni trip from either Uyuni or Tupiza, but Tupiza is worth the extra money for various reasons, which we will later explain.

Our train to Tupiza
Our train to Tupiza

Bolivian landscape from our train
Bolivian landscape from our train

View frm our train to Tupiza
More train views

Moonrise over Bolilvia
Moonrise over Bolilvia

Horseback Riding in Tupiza

Once in beautiful Tupiza, going from near sea level in Mendoza to 3160 m (10,500 feet), we booked ourselves on a five-hour horseback riding adventure for only $120 Bolivianos per person (about$14 USD) for the next day through a company called La Torre. Many local hostels book horseback riding adventures and trips to the Salar. One company called Tupiza Tour even books a ¨triathlon¨ in Tupiza, which is part horseback, part biking, and part jeep, all in a day, but this is a bit more expensive at $43 USD per person.

Tupiza is said to be the site where Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid spent their final days, and from the beauty of the area, we can see why! A horseback ride was just the thing to feel the ruggedness and adventure that these two train robbers experienced. They also say that Tupiza is where Butchy Cassidy and the Sundance Kid were caught and shot, but that is debatable.

We left the next morning with five others--Tim, Erin, Emma, Ciara, and Andy--to get our horses and start exploring around Tupiza

Getting to know our horses (Tim and Emma)
Getting to know our horses (Tim and Emma)

Our 11-yr old guide, Luis
Our 11-yr old guide, Luis. He was actually quite a good guide, and horse rider, regardless of his age!

Setting off on horseback (Ciara behind Ben)
Ben with Ciara and the rest of the team riding close behind

Ben on horseback
Ben on horseback

Puerto del Diablo. Looks climb-able, no?
Puerto del Diablo. Looks climb-able, no?

Hats off to our guide!
Hats off to our guide, who helped Tim numerous times with his stirrup that eventually broke, leaving Luis to ride Tim's horse without stirrups!

Ben lookin'  good as a cowboy!
Ben lookin' good as a cowboy!

Valle de los Machos, named for the phallic shapes
Valle de los Machos, named for the phallic rock shapes made from winds

Cañon del Inca
Cañon del Inca

Cactus flower
Cactus flower

Erin and Tim heading up a hill on horses
Erin and Tim heading up a hill on horses

Lindsey taking in the views
Lindsey taking in the views with Bronco, the dog, minding the steep slopes from our trail

Cañon del Duende
Cañon del Duende

Lindsey and Ben in Cañon del Duende
Lindsey and Ben in Cañon del Duende

View of Tupiza from the Mirador
View of Tupiza from the Mirador

Here's the link to this photo set.

Check out our next entry of the once-in-a-lifetime experience across the Bolivian salt flats, a four-day trip across the Salar de Uyuni! Hasta pronto!
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Comments

kleissle
kleissle on

yeehaaawww horseriders!
you guys, whenever one of these benandlindsey messages arrives I stop whatever I am doing (even if that is eating chocolate) and read the whole thing start to finish. I have loved every story and photo - all of which are, btw, amazing and look like they should be in a guidebook. It's lovely to read about your adventures, especially when snowflakes the size of pancakes are hitting the window, like they were yesterday morning. Thanks for taking the time to write all these wonderful stories. My only wish was for a fuller report on the Argentine chocolate - Lindsey, I will await your findings when you get back home. xo, kristy

esaund46
esaund46 on

Just Love It
What a great time! I will be working on hiking when you get to the states. We will be ready to go anywhere.

efalls
efalls on

big grin
hey guys! been missing you, but matt has adopted a half-decent Ben-ish aussie accent, so we think of you often. looks like you're having a ridiculously amazing time. glad to see all the grins and read of the good times!

betseab
betseab on

Oooh, so pretty!
What a beautiful landscape! The horseback riding looked like it was a blast! (And you both made a perfect cowgirl and boy!) Was the rock all chossy?

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