Going Places: Climbing the Andes

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
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Climbing the Andes

Review: Trekking in Bolivia

The rugged snow-incrusted Cordilleras, the austere highlands of the altiplano, the steamy shrouded Yungas, the languid brown rivers and verdant stretch of the Amazon Basin. Bolivia's ecological wealth encompasses extremes of flora and fauna seldom found in one country.

Yet, for years travelers have been denied a thorough guide to lead them through the wealth of trekking possibilities. Trekking in Bolivia fills that void.

Written by local British-expat Yossi Brain, the guide intelligently combines local knowledge with a sense of travelers' needs.

Section I focuses on pre-departure planning, including immunizations and detailed medical issues specific to Bolivia. In particular, chapter three, concerning travel within Bolivia, demonstrates the author's insight into aspects of Bolivian culture which inevitably befuddle the uninitiated.

Section II covers the treks themselves. Organized by geographic area, the focus is on the Cordilleras Real and Apolobamba with brief coverage of lowland areas. Other regions such as Sucre, Tupiza, and the Southwest aren't covered, but the rich variety of the main areas makes up for the slight.

Individual treks follow a clear outline with general and detailed route descriptions, sketch maps (and recommendations for map coverage), as well as suggestions for combining a particular hike with others in the book.

The last section, The Country and the People, provides overviews of Bolivian geology, flora and fauna, and culture. It also contains detailed suggestions for further reading as well as basic Spanish for trekkers.

Trekking in Bolivia: A Traveler's Guide, Yossi Brain et al. (The Mountaineers, 1997). $16.95. ISBN 0-89886-501-8.

©2000, Mariah Media Inc.

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