From January 2016 on, I will establish a base in Bolivia for at least three months.
What do I want a base for, if I am a traveler?
I do feel at home anywhere immediately, as you know, and quickly adapt to any country. But in order to work, and particularly for writing, I do need the calm which only overcomes me when I don’t have to live out of a backpack and don’t have to clear my desk every three days.
Because I want to spend the next few years in Latin America, I should really learn Spanish. A somewhat fixed residence should be useful for getting the structured daily routine which will help with studying.
Financially, it also makes much more sense to rent an apartment for a few months instead of one room after another for a few days or a week each.
Such a base even makes it easier to travel because I won’t need to carry around all my books, my laptop and all the other stuff (says the guy whose belongings fit into two bags). Instead, I will leave all of this at home and go on tours of a few weeks each with only a small backpack.
Situated in the heart of South America, Bolivia is already an obvious choice for geographical reasons.
But more importantly: I believe that Bolivia is a country that suits me and where I will feel happy. The mountains, the low population density, the relatively mild climate (in the non-tropical part of the country). Of course it’s risky to form an image of a country that I have never visited before, but I imagine Bolivia to be just as I am: calm, relaxed, close to nature, friendly, more interested in politics than in parties, more interested in substance than in shallowness, civilized, but with understatement. Simply likeable. But full of adventures.
Particularly after the constantly partying or beach-bumming Brazil, which is a bit too loud and hedonistic for my taste – although I did also get to know the other Brazil -, I am looking forward to a retreat in the mountains.
And where in Bolivia exactly?
My dream destination was Sucre, Bolivia’s constitutional capital and the seat of the Supreme Court. With a population of 240,000 and a permanent maximum temperature of 20 degrees Celsius – In Brazil I am suffering from twice as much – this city at an altitude of 2,800 meters fits perfectly into the matrix which is slowly forming after different experiences. But I didn’t find any apartment here in the short time available.
Thus I will first move to Cochabamba, which is larger than I need it with its 630,000 people, but several locals have assured me that life in Bolivia’s fourth-largest city feels like that in a small town. I will see. The climate is perfect: Thanks to maximum temperatures of 25 degrees all year round, Cochabamba is called the city of eternal spring. And when I saw that this city in the Bolivian mountains will stage its 27th Bertolt Brecht theater festival next year, my heart said “yes” sooner than my brain could have come up with any further questions.
By the way, it only took me two days to decide which country and which city to move to and to choose an apartment. Less time than it takes some people to ponder the acquisition of a telephone or a washing machine.
Great Post. love the pics
Happy Trails! I look forward to hearing about your experiences in Bolivia. Best,Helena
Can I be your guest in Bolivia? 😀
Once I have my own apartment, I will open it up to couchsurfers, of course!
If you don’t mind my asking, how do you intend to study Spanish? I know you’re careful with money-will this cost you? How do you find apartments? All online?
Of course I don’t mind your questions, don’t worry! That’s what this blog is for.
I always study languages on my own. No teacher, no class, no school. I get a book (I like the Assimil ones most) and work through it methodically. This will be complemented by reading newspapers, listening to Spanish-language radio, watching TV and of course going out and trying to use what I learned that day. – My biggest hurdle is always that I still need English and German for my freelance jobs, so I cannot totally switch my life to Spanish (if I did that, I couldn’t even continue this blog, after all). Another problem I have is that I am not interested in mundane conversations about weather or food or how many siblings or parents I have. I like to discuss politics, economics, sociology and it takes a long time until I get to that level in Spanish. And people who are knowledgeable in these areas usually speak English (or German) quite well, so the quality of the conversation would be lower if we switched to Spanish.
I found an e-suite room with a separate entrance (so not quite an apartment, but something which should give me enough privacy) through AirBnB and booked this for the first 3 months. I’d like to move into an apartment of my own ultimately, maybe still in Sucre, and I will look for that once I am in Bolivia. After being there for a few months, it should be easy.
I have found all of my previous apartments online. AirBnB is usually too expensive, so I have used the “classifieds” websites of different countries or I have asked in the local Couchsurfing groups if anyone has an apartment to rent.
Please bring on any other questions!
Some of them may be covered in the FAQ on my traveling life, but I get a feeling that man people are more interested in the practical issues of traveling, so I may write more often about this.
Hello. Check out our place as an alternative at http://www.apartsconcordia.com where we offer our visitors small, comfortable apartments in Cochabamba, Bolivia. I hope you choose us. Good traveling!
No photos or any other information about the apartments and outrageously high prices.
Looks like a very awesome choice! Looking forward to reading all about it! :)
Can’t wait to read all about your adventures!
Bolívia is always a good choice. People are very nice, friendly and they don’t have any arrogance. Also, the view and so many places for to see.
For sure, you will have a great time there.
I am really happy with my choice because everybody who has been there seems to agree.
So interesting to read. I came upon this blog, by chance. But a truly interesting read.
Falls Du widererwartet eine Bleibe in Cochabamba suchst: https://www.homestay.com/es/listing, Inge Regalsky
Danke, aber ich habe schon ein Zimmer für die ersten drei Monate. Wenn ich länger bleiben will, werde ich mir vor Ort eine Wohnung suchen.
you should try Tarija
Excellent suggestion, I am looking forward to visit Tarija!
I live in Tarija, so when you visit the city, mail me, and I´ll invite you a coffee or an “empanada”.
Thank you very much! I am already overwhelmed by the hospitality and friendliness in Bolivia.
Hi, I just read this article and I find it interesting, I am a Bolivian and I have lived here in Cochabamba for 45 years, actually I am 45 years old jeje, yes Cochabamba is a beautiful city and the food we have here is truly amazing, also the climate is spectacular! I am sure you will have a great time here, lots of luck to you
thank you very much for confirming my choice! It’s great to read from so many people who live in Cochabamba, and I am looking forward to meeting some of you in real life soon.
That would be great, I just sent you a friend request on facebook so that we can meet in person here in Cochabamba, I will be waiting for your reply, bye
Hello, I’ve just read the article too. I’m an English teacher here in Oruro. It’s nice to know that there are people who really are interested in Bolivia. I’m from Oruro, and as I understood, you’re spending february in Bolivia, so I must advice you to come to Oruro for the Carnival. It’s true that there aren’t so many exciting places to visit here in the city, but the Carnival is one of the best expositions of culture here in Bolivia. I would be glad to meet you and to invite you to come to one of the English classes. It’s hard to practice English when you don’t have who to talk to outside the classroom.
Have a wonderful trip, and enjoy everything here in Bolvia, the cities, the food, and of course, nature, which will fascinate you, I’m sure:
Hello Maria Eugenia,
thank you very much for the invitation! And yes, I would be happy to come to Oruro in February and to visit your English class (although I am not a native speaker myself, I should caution).
Just send me an e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) or add me on Facebook or Couchsurfing, so we can arrange the details.
I am an Australian living in Cochabamba, I will tell you some great spots to eat ;)
I hope I will have to walk far to get there, to offset the calories. :-)
You have made a very good choice with Cochabamba, not only with costs or food (which is really great) but it is also a very good hub to travel within, in or out of Bolivia. Feel free to contact me if you need advice during your stay here. And be prepared for a hot political season as soon as you arrive here.. hehe
That sounds perfect for me because I am very interested in politics. The more that is happening, the more interesting.
Agree with Mauricio, Cochabamba is a great place to start with 😉 Have fun
Having lived in Sucre for a few months, I’d highly recommend spending some time there – it’s probably one of my favourite cities in South America! Apartments are pretty easy to find too but it’s better to do so once you’re already in the city itself. Buen suerte!
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Maximum temperature at 20° Celsius? Ew, can only imagine :)
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