Edge of the Salar de Coipasa

After digging ourselves out of the sand, we continue our drive along the edge of the Solar de Coipasa, a remote salt desert sitting at over 3700 m and covering over 2200 km². In the middle of this barren expanse, we see the island occupied by the salt-mining village of Coipasa with its buildings constructed…

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Quinoa Confusion

We spent several days in the area surrounding Salinas de Garcia-Mendoza, a remote area of Bolivia near the Salar de Uyuni.  As we faced challenging terrain and bike damage, we found ourselves stranded on the side of tiny dirt roads on more than one occasion.  But if we were going to be stranded somewhere, this…

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Uyuni: The Free-Standing Jacket

As light begins to seep into our room from a courtyard window, I can make out my motorcycle jacket in the corner of the room – just standing there.  Yes, standing.  It’s thoroughly coated with salt from yesterday’s drive across the Uyuni Salt Flats and is so crusty and stiff that it now holds my…

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Coca Capers

At home in North America, nothing is more emblematic of South America than coca, the controversial leaf grown as a cash crop in the foothills of the Andes in Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia and Peru. It plays a role in many traditional cultures as a medicine or useful stimulant.  In recent years, the governments of several…

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