Bike travel, commuting and more


Bolivia XX: Atocha to Tupiza

Big mountain

This mountain followed us most of the day

Maybe the toughest day so far

Today we had the problem that there would be nearly no villages until getting to Tupiza, over 100 km away. Sleeping along the way was an option, but with the cold days and still in the altiplano at 3800 mts, it was not a very appealing option.

Leaving Atocha
Leaving Atocha

So instead the plan was to try to get as far as possible, and then go down to the valley where Tupiza lies. This would mean about 75 km, and then camping 1000 mts lower which should be warmer.

Mine remains in Atocha
What the mines leave behind

The profile in Komoot said the road would be slightly undulating first, but then mostly downhill after the 50th km or so, and then flat at the end.

Climbing out of Atocha
Killer climb to start the day

Instead of that we had a brutal first 5 km to get out of Atocha, and the rest of the day was a relentless up and down. The climbs were mostly not too hard, but very continuous, and when you thought you were at the top, there would be a short downhill to lose all the altitude you had gained in the previous hour.

Continuous climb outside Atocha
Slowly but surely, the climbing continues

The road was new, they were actually still finishing the last kilometers to Tupiza, but instead of building bridges, which I guess are more expensive, the road just went up and down on every single river and valley it founded.

Break on the Atocha Tupiza road
A brief stop on the way

By midday Susanne was already running empty. I was carrying both kids in the trailer and she was still falling behind, demoralized with the ridiculous profile of the road.

More climb with mountains in the background
At least the view was good at times

By 17:00 we only had about one hour of daylight left, but we were still far from where the profile promised to start going downhill.

Walking and climbing
The climbing was so relentless that the best was for the kids to walk

So I just stopped and hitch-hiked, with the great luck that in less than 5 minutes two guys picked us up. There were engineers from the government supervising the road works, and they were already on their way back to Tupiza.

A pick up will take us to Tupiza
That is not a face from defeat but happiness

This was in the end a great decision as the road, rather than starting to go down, kept undulating for at least another 20 km before finally going down, with long stretches without asphalt, so we would had never made it by bike.

Reward dinner in Tupiza
Having a reward dinner in Tupiza after the tough day

They dropped us very close to our desired hotel, and we decided to stay for nearly a week there, since there are plenty of side trips to do from Tupiza and we might catch the ancient train to VillazĂłn in the border.


  1. Katherine

    Estrellita estrellita, santa estrellita! Siempre les manda un buen samaritano 👍. De seguro esa cena es Tupiza debe haber estado deliciosa! Pregunto, y si no les hubieran dado el aventon, cuales eran Las “contra” de dormir en medio de la nada? Frio, animales, vientos?…ay mama! QUE AVENTURA!

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