4x4 Bolivia Reconnaissance, full itinerary

This trip is full but sign up on a waiting list please.

11 days including arrival and departure.
9 Days in the field recce.

Bolivia off road travel

Trip essentials

Guide/Instructor: Bruce Elfström

Dates: May 15–May 26, 2014

Duration: 9 days, plus free two day mobility training at one of OEXs three locations

Group size: 8–12 people

Price: $2600

Skill level: Moderate–Very Hard

Open to: Ages 14-70. Under 18 must be accompanied by parent or legal guardian. Participants must be in good physical shape (hike 6 miles in a day without issue). Former OEX trip clients, OEX trained clients three days min, those signed up to train with OEX before departure date.

Prerequisites: Minimum three-day driver training from OEX, having done an OEX trip already, physically fit.

Lodging: Unknown - Lodges through to nights in the driver's seat? We are trying to do one day camp one day nice clean beds. But no guarantees.

Vehicles: Toyota Hilux. GPS and all recovery gear needed.

Reserve a spot

This trip is full but sign up on a waiting list please.

Day 1

Arrival in Bolivia. Transfer to hotel. Presentation/assignment of vehicles. Group dinner.

Day 2

Cochabamba – Chapare

Approx 4 hours drive descending from the Andes foothills sees us in the heat and humidity of the jungle area. After a delicious lunch of fresh water fish we’ll engage 4x4 and head straight into the jungle! It’ll be a mix of logging tracks and …worse.

Accommodation: Camping or local village.

Day 3

Chapare region

Early breakfast and pack up. Today we are working our way towards an isolated Indian Village within the Amazon rain forest ….Another day in the jungle. We’ll hope to take a bit of a boat ride if possible on some of the Tropical Rainforest Rivers. The goal is also to spend as much time with the local tribal members as possible.

Accommodation: Camping or local village house (local houses are often available for stay. They are basic, clean and traditional dwellings).

Day 4

Chapare - Independencia

We’ll climb out of the steamy jungle into the Andes Mountains again before literally crossing them and descending to the town of Independencia. 50/50 pavement and established dirt roads today with unforgettable scenery. We’ll climb to over 13,000 feet above sea level today before dropping down to 8500ft for our overnight destination. The ecological diversity and landscapes make this an impressive location shift.

Accommodation: 1 star hotel (this link will give you an idea of the Bolivian hostels – they are higher end than most found world wide) or Camping depending on progress.

Day 5

Independencia – Chulumani

Already where no tourists go, this route will take us up and down the mountain range on winding dirt roads until we reach the Sacambaya river. Crossing is an interesting event. If we get across we’ll be dropping quickly to the upper Amazon Rainforest. It’ll be hot, humid and perhaps muddy.

Accommodation: 4 star hotel.

Day 6

Chulumani – Caranavi (via Death Road)

Think you can manage Death Road? “Sure” you say, “a walk in the park”. But what about the road that has replaced it as unofficially “The World’s Most Dangerous Road”. Hold your breath; it is a long way down.

Accommodation: 2 star hotel.

Day 7

Caranavi – Mapiri

We are well and truly in Amazon Rainforest area here. The roads will be rough, narrow and if muddy, pretty messy. You’ll be laughing at Death Road when you’ve seen this stuff. We are well and truly in Amazon Rainforest area here. There will be a few rivers to cross and one or two wooden swing bridges? These wooden swing bridges are barely wide enough for a car and can hang up to or over 30ft above the water.

Accommodation: Camping or Village House.

Day 8

Mapiri – Sorata

More rough and narrow roads that require slow, careful driving today. And it’ll be hot. We are in the Amazon after all. Toward the end of the day we’ll climb into the Andes foothills again and it’ll be a relief to breathe in some fresh, cool mountain air after all the humidity we’ve endured over the last few days.

Accommodation: 1 star hostel.

Day 9

Sorata - Oruro

Stunning views today as we drive along the lake’s edge with the Andes Mountain range in the background. We’ll then move onto the Altiplano where you’ll get a chance to see how the highlands Indians live, and have done for centuries. Rough going and high altitude.

Accommodation: 3 star hotel.

Day 10

Oruro – Cochabamba

A final treat in store on our last day driving. We’ll take a little know road that follows, sometimes literally, an abandoned railway. This route manages to bottle ‘genuine Bolivia’ in just a few kilometers.

Accommodation: 3 star hotel.

Day 11

Airport transfers to Cochabamba airport.

FORMAT

Vehicles

All vehicles will be 4x4 Four Door Toyota Hilux: Minimum two (2) will be equipped with winches. Clients will travel maximum four (4) to a car. If you would like, you may chose to have fewer people in your vehicle at an additional cost. If this is the case, and it often is please just let us know immediately. Extra cost per person removed is $600.

Just in case you have not laughed today…. Top Gear Bolivia – See how not to do it and what not to drive!!

Equipment:

We will have a satellite phone with us at all times. Sleeping bags, and all camping equipment will be provided. We will have two cooks with us and all cooking gear, coolers, etc. Food will be traditional local fare, nothing crazy, so please do not worry, but we will make sure we eat as culturally as we can.

Accommodation

Accommodation when we are in towns/cities will be either of ‘best we can get’ or 3-4 star. When in the bush we will be camping or making use of local houses as available. All accommodation will be based on double accommodation. Single occupancy is possible for an addition $800.

Included:

  • Airport transfers
  • Vehicle hire and fuel
  • All accommodation, food and refreshments
  • Road tolls, land access fees
  • Logistics, guiding services and people power as detailed above
  • 2 guides (including lead guide from OEX)
  • Cooking staff

Not included:

  • Alcoholic beverages,
  • Food/snacks/drinks outside that offered,
  • Hotel phone/internet charges

INSURANCE:

We strongly suggest you get travel insurance that covers not only simple changes in flights and such, but also high speed emergency medical evacuation. We have used SOS Travel Insurance for many years, of course we have not tested it, but it is the go-to for most expedition planners and members.

VEHICLE INSURANCE:

All vehicles will be insured.

ALCOHOL/DRUGS:

It goes without saying really, but…Consumption of alcohol or drugs is strictly forbidden where driving remains to be done. Those who violate this rule will be asked to leave the trip and will forfeit all moneys.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF RISK AND RELEASE OF LIABILITY:

All clients will be required to sign an acknowledgement of risk and release of liability form.

WEATHER/CONDITIONS/WHEN TO COME:

For this trip it would be best to avoid the rainy season of Jan – March. That said, Mother Nature holds all the cards. Please be ready to sleep in vehicles at night if need be. We will be in the Amazon area so we can expect plenty of rain/muddy conditions.

It will be hot and muggy but fortunately bug life will be at its lowest. All the same you will need bug repellent and sun block.

OTHER INFORMATION

Getting to and from Bolivia:

A number of international airlines fly into Bolivia – American Airlines, Aerolineas Argentinas, BOA (www.boa.bo) and Lan Chile. Internal flights between La Paz or Santa Cruz and Cochabamba and regular, with multiple flights daily. We can arrange these flights on behalf of the group.

Accommodation for the night before the tour and the final night of the tour are included in the tour price.

SUMMARY

This trip is designed for us, “the recce group”, to experience what we at OEX do to set up our normal trips or when asked to run logistics for others. We will be doing this with you, no pretend. Our goal is to find challenging and dramatic routes as well as see some of the touristier, but well worth it and unique aspects of Bolivia, and have a close cultural and adventurous experience. That said, it is inherent in a recce that the schedule, conditions, accommodations, and much more may not be as expected or intended and may be radical and/or dramatically different and unpredictable.

Bolivia videos

The following videos are not of our trip, but are of areas we plan to visit.