After spending two days in Sucre, it was on to Potosí, the infamous silver mining town of Bolivia. This time, the overland journey was a bearable two hours. From warm and sunny Sucre, the change in weather and environment in Potosí was vast, probably due to its elevation at over 4000m. The air cold and thin, the town not much more than a cluster of low-rise buildings beneath the shadow of the mountains. Dust lingered everywhere.
TIP: Apparently protests against the government are fairly common in Bolivia. If you are there and find yourself in the middle of one, you may find it hard to get in and out of any main cities. Try to hire a private taxi if you get stuck as they may know secondary roads out of the city. Sure, you will pay more, but trust me, you really don’t want to spend an unknown number of days in a place like Potosí. It gets slightly depressing after two days.
Luckily the road to Uyuni, the next destination, was open, as it wasn’t considered a major city. I felt relieved. Escape at last — salt flats, here I come!
For more on solo travel in Potosi, Bolivia, click here.
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After La Paz, the next destination on my South American trip was Sucre, a 12-hour overnight bus ride from the capital of Bolivia — which I wasn’t looking forward to. From the bus trip I learnt a few unpleasant things about Bolivian public transport:
The bus was only scheduled to stop once on that 12-hour ride, and the buses were not the kind of long-haul buses that are equipped with toilets. I was advised to stop drinking water a few hours before departure and not to have any during the trip, as the bus drivers normally turn a deaf ear to anyone’s requests to stop.
When it did stop that one time, it was at a dodgy roadside ‘restaurant’ whose toilets were slightly more tolerable than a hole in the ground. Tip: take hand sanitiser with you everywhere, and avoid buying food from the places where the bus stops.
Plus, I thought it was pretty unsafe for the driver to keep driving for six hours straight without resting.
Note #1: Cheap as it was, Bolivian public transport was very insecure and uncomfortable, and I won’t recommend it to anyone. Next time I would rather pay slightly more for a private car to share with other travellers, if the opportunity arises. (See: Is Bolivia safe?)
However, once I got to Sucre, I forgot about the bus ride from hell. It was morning on arrival, and breakfast was on my mind. If you are a solo female traveller, you may find yourself enjoying the following, as I did.
Read more about solo female travel in Sucre, Bolivia.