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  #1  
Old 3 May 2007
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Question Roads in Bolivia

Hi - Can anybody give me some information on the roads in southern Bolivia? We are two up on a Yamaha XT600Z Tenere, with camping gear (so heavy!), and planning on going north from Argentina (Jujuy) into Bolivia in 2 or 3 weeks time. Once in Bolivia, we would like to go to Uyuni (inc salt flats) and then to Potosi, La Paz and on in to Peru. My question is - what are the roads like in this part of Bolivia (I know they are unpaved), especially considering the bike we are on and the fact that I do not like soft sand!!?

Any advice that anybody can give would be most welcome so that we can plan accordingly.
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Old 4 May 2007
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I took the train (rear shock coloapsed and riding dirt with hard tail sucks) so thats an option for you. I was told that section was some of the roughest riding they had on the whole trip. But thats just hersay so take it for what is worth.

Kyle
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  #3  
Old 4 May 2007
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Roads in Bolivia

Hi,

the same questions apply to me as we are going on a trip from Peru to Bolivia and back. We will start in one week in Lima, then heading most likely to Cuzco, lake Titicaca, La Paz, Uyuni and back to Lima.

So any info about the roads are welcome.

AND HOW IS THE SITUATION AT THE SALAR DE UYUNI??

Regards to all!!
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  #4  
Old 4 May 2007
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Talking not to bad

Hi,

Roads in Bolivia are not all that bad. Most of them are un-paved, but with good gravel.
Only if you go to realy remote places (St. Vincent for example) you might find yourself in soft sand and riverbeds.
Roads to and from main cities (I consider Uyuni a main city) are better then the average dessert-road in Australia (not to much corugation).

Fuel is sometimes tricky, so fuel up at every ocasion.

Hope this helps

Maarten
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  #5  
Old 4 May 2007
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Dirt Is Damnable

Being an old man not too strong in the legs, I ride a Honda 125 Cargo loaded with gear for a six month trip. I hate gravel, soft sand and corrugations. And I hate rocky riverbeds that, on the map, pretend to be highways and I hate riding alongside vertical thousand foot drops. Oh, and I don't much like sandstorms. I had plenty of all that in Peru (plus great times riding from Cusco to Puna and on down the lake). Riding through Bolivia I stuck mostly with tar and crossed the frontier into Argentina at Yuquiba (blog at www.simongandolfi.com). Cochabamba was joy after the cold of the alteplano. I had breakfast on a Sunday with member's of Cochabamba's Classic Bike Club - great people - though the seats on their bikes filled me with envy; no numb butts for the Classic Bike Club! Good luck and have fun...
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  #6  
Old 4 May 2007
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Cool Corrugation Potosi to Uyuni.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mmaarten View Post
Hi,

Roads in Bolivia are not all that bad. Most of them are un-paved, but with good gravel.
Only if you go to realy remote places (St. Vincent for example) you might find yourself in soft sand and riverbeds.
Roads to and from main cities (I consider Uyuni a main city) are better then the average dessert-road in Australia (not to much corugation).

Fuel is sometimes tricky, so fuel up at every ocasion.

Hope this helps

Maarten
I rode from Potosi to Uyuni this past Dec and thought it was one of worst corrugated roads ever, but would have gladly ridden it again after the roads south thru San Vincente to Tupiza. :=) Just plain bad.....
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  #7  
Old 8 May 2007
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Greynomads,

We were in and around Uyuni two up on a heavily loaded AT a couple of months ago. The road between Ourou (SP?) and Uyuni buggered of first aftermarket shock. The road between Uyuni and the Argentine border buggered the replacement.

Was it worth it? Oh yes, the countryside was amazing.

....and did I mention the weather at that time?

Mark.
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  #8  
Old 8 May 2007
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Smile Just did it

Hello,

I just came from Bolivia, and have ridden just about every main road there. if after I am done here, you have any more questions, please send me a PM or email me, I am happy to help.

If you come up through argentina and into bolivia you will first hit villazon, then about 5 hours later on somewhat bad road you are in tupiza. there isnt much sand, but there are a lot of very ¨washboardy¨sections. however, very beautiful. from there to potosi is also a pretty ride, but a lot of it is a riverbed. i was there like 1.5 months ago, and it was still a little wet, but there werent any very rocky sections. you will even hit a patch of pavement for a while. from potosi to oruro and then to la paz it is all very good pavement. however, i highly recommend trip up to see sucre if you are in potosi, it is only a couple hours away.

ok, now the REAL way to come into Bolivia from the south. in between jujuy and san pedro de atacama is Paso Jama and it is kind of no mans land for about 100 k´s in terms of what country you are in. however, off of this paved highway you can turn north into bolivia for what i can personally gaurantee is some of the most amazing landscape you will ever come across. almost all non motorcycle tourists normally will do this area by jeep. what I did was I followed a jeep tour from uyuni across the salar and south into chile. very very very very very worth it. the roads are a bit tough, im not gonna lie. and i must admit to you, there is some parts where it is a little sandy, but if you stay in the tire tracks, youll be ok. there is also one strecth of about half a kilometer that is so rocky it is more like a mountain biking trail, but its all over very quickly. what i would personally reccomend, if you are willin to get josteld around for a few days would be to go to san pedro de atacama and pay to follow a jeep through this route. it is more or less impossible to do alone on the bike because 1) the roads are all unmarked and there are a lot of detours 2) you would need to carry enough gas to go about 600 k´s...... so, if you choose to do this, you will feel like you are riding on mars for 2 days as you ride past blood red lakes, flamingoes, salt flats, rock gardens, etc. then after 2 days ride from s.p. de atacame you will arrive at the salar de uyuni.........ah, salar how i love you. it is truely incredible. following a tour there is no problem of getting lost, and there is very little water on it except at the very end ( if coming from chile) just be sure to put on some sunscreen . going alone, you might get mixed up thinking you are heading for the correct island, but really its just some mountain way off in the distance.........

ok, ill stop rambling, i just like to be thorough. if you have any mroe questions about bolivia let me know, i spent a total of about 40 days there over two trips through, and know the condition of just about every road cause i was there like 5 days ago. but whichever way you come, riding on the salar de uyuni is an ABSOLUTE MUST. its a very strange feeling to be able to close your eyes and turn your bike in any direction at full throttle with no danger whatsoever.......... cheers guys, enjoy bolivia, it is truly a fascinating country. see you on the road

bob
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  #9  
Old 8 May 2007
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As Bob says the route from San Pedro - Uyuni is one of the most fantastic rides ever and it should be a good time to do it because it should have stopped raining, however, it seems to be stopping late this year. This is always going to be a tough ride though and the road between Tupiza and Uyuni is pretty spectacular and much easier. Fromm Uyuni-potosi is pretty good these days though still dirt. Potosi to La Paz is all bitumin and pretty good.
As Bob says again, if you are in Potosi it's worth going to Sucre. It's only a couple of hours from Potosi and a much nicer town.
Have fun.
Fraser
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  #10  
Old 15 May 2007
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zapalives is right. its soft and sandy but an amazing ride up to uyuni from san pedro de atacama......one of the best on our trip thru lat am. i've seen a polish couple do two-up on what appeared to be a 600. if you can do it, my hats off. you wont regret it. it was a slog for me and may mates (all on klrs) 2 years ago. fond memories though. bring food and water. i'd do it all over again if i could.

gas....yeah, pretty scarce up there. we found water bottles worked very well for storing fuel.

ride safe
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  #11  
Old 23 May 2007
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Guys,
This thread is very useful and I wanted to PM a few of you to discuss the roads in Bolivia but do not have sufficient posts yet. I am planning a trip around South America, including Bolivia - I intend to come into Bolivia from Chile and have been led to believe that you can drive mostly paved roads to La Paz from Arica - is this right? The reason I ask is that I am planning a two up trip on a K1200RS (not a good bike off road) and need to find out about the state of the roads from Chile up to La Paz and if possible to Macchu Picchu. It would be great to hear from you.
Thanks
James
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  #12  
Old 23 May 2007
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just to add, from what I have been told and have read recently there is a paved road between La Paz and Arica.
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  #13  
Old 23 May 2007
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Thumbs up La Paz to Puno and beyond

Hey Vicks7, can't say what the road from La Paz to Puno is like, but from Puno to Cusco it is all good.
Same goes for Arica to Puno via Arequipa.
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  #14  
Old 28 May 2007
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I just came from Cusco to La Paz via Puno and Yunguyo. The road was all tarmac and ranged from ok (some potholes) to very good. The ferry ride across Lake Titicaca with the bike also makes for some great photos. The border there is small and very quick and easy.

Im heading south down to Chile at the moment. Just a quick question to you guys who did the Uyuni to San pedro route. im very keen to do it but need a new tyre and cant find a good dual purpose in La Paz. So Im settling on a Pirelli M60 (more of a road tyre) Im on a r100gs which is pretty good off road but a bit heavy. You think its possible with a road tyre? otherwise i might just carry the dual purpose tyre I got and use whats left of it for just that section... Also any other good roads anyone knows maybe just for day trips? I heading through Potosi and Sucre before Uyuni and it would be nice to have a couple of days on the bike without it fully loaded!

Cheers
Ilya
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  #15  
Old 29 May 2007
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I rode from Uyuni to San Pedro in January, and have to say the loose gravel made it hard work, probably the hardest couple of days of my 28,500 miles trans-Americas. I made it from Uyuni to Laguna Colorado by 4.00pm on the first day, and was tempted to try and get all the way to San Pedro, but was knackered and wasn't sure what time the border closed, so didn't. I think you should really allow 2 days as a minimum.

I was on my own on a loaded 1200 GSA, which was a handful in the loose gravel sections, of which there are a lot. Having said that, the landscapes were very special, and I hit my highest altitude of 16,000 ft (and coldest morning of -3C) just after Laguna Colorado (and cheapest "hotel" @ £1.60!). You will feel envious when you see the 4x4 tours flying past effortlessly!

I was lucky in that I met Mike (from Edinburugh) in La Paz, who let me have GPS info, which was invaluable - you'd easily get lost without it or some good directions. If my tracklog's any use to anyone, let me know and I'll email it. I actually made it from Uyuni to Calama on a tankful, but then that's 33 litres! I don't think there's any proper fuel (or anything much else) -stop between Uyuni and San Pedro. San Pedro BTW is nice enough, but touristy and over-priced. A very welcome stop after the wilderness though.

I rode from Potosi to Uyuni early on a beautiul morning and had a blast, but I've heard others with bad reports (and met an American in Punta Arenas who'd broke his leg on this one). I guess it must be bad after rain.

Last edited by IanC; 30 May 2007 at 00:02.
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