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Member Postcard: Justine Leguizamo Reflects on Her Family Trip to Bolivia

Actor and Indagare member John Leguizamo journeyed far off the beaten path with his family in Bolivia. Although one of Latin America’s safest countries, Bolivia is one of the region’s least visited—a destination reserved for explorers willing to brave difficult conditions for the reward of experiencing jaw-dropping landscapes like no others on earth. Last summer, the Leguizamos ventured to Bolivia—along with Peru and Colombia—visiting such bucket-list sites as the floating islands of Lake Titicaca, La Paz and the largest salt flats on the planet. Here, Justine Leguizamo reflects on her family’s South American adventure.

Contact Indagare for assistance planning a customized journey to Bolivia.

We decided to visit Colombia to see family members in Bogotá. I love that citythe weather, the food, the people. And it continues to welcome excellent new restaurants and shops. My interest in Bolivia actually came from reading a piece by Indagare’s Elise Bronzo about her trip there. We had done Machu Picchu and loved it, so when I saw photos of the salt flats, I knew my teenagers would love them, too. But I really didn’t know much more than that. So Missy Weil, my Trip Designer, took over the planning from there.

Related: Why Go Now: Bolivia

During our trip, there were so many favorite moments. The Uros floating islands in Lake Titicaca, the drive through the Siloli Desert, seeing a flamingo mating dance and walking across the bridge that spans the border between Peru and Bolivia were all highlights, but the most memorable experience was our time at the salt flats, Salar de Uyuni. Our wonderful guide brought us out to the flats, where we walked around for hours, chatting and snapping incredible photos. We were lucky because, although it was the dry season, it had rained a bit, so the flats were particularly reflective. In this endless expanse of mind-bending landscapes, it’s possible to take hilarious photos with distorted proportions. We even took a video of all of us appearing as tiny figures running into a giant can.

We watched the most exquisite sunset. Our guide set up a beautiful table of drinks and snacks out on the flats—and even brought a cake for my husband’s birthday. It was a true bonding experience for our family. With two teenagers, we don’t always enjoy enough family time at home, but out there on the salt flats, we were all together in the most beautiful place with no distractions.

Our accommodation in the desert, Hotel Tayka, was set seemingly in the middle of nowhere. We had been told that it was “basic,” which may be an understatement. There were a few other guests there, but we still felt as if we were staying on another planet. It was so isolated, the Wi-Fi shut off at 8 p.m,. and the heat shut off in the middle of the night (luckily, we had hot-water bottles for our beds, which actually helped). It was an amazing adventure, to say the least.

On that note, anyone traveling to Bolivia needs to be prepared for extreme conditions. The altitude must be seriously considered. We took Diamox for the first three days, and it helped a lot, although it can have side effects, so travelers should consult with their doctors first. Fortunately, oxygen tanks are fairly ubiquitous—our driver even kept a portable one in the car with us. We were traveling in the dry season, but it still rained and snowed. Good gear makes all the difference, and layers, thermals and a Patagonia down jacket were necessary. We also wore polarized sunglasses, sun hats and neck gators to protect from sun and wind.

Be sure to take a day tour of La Paz. It’s a fascinating city, and a guided tour is a great way to learn about the history and culture of Bolivia.

This really was one of the best trips of our lives. We immersed ourselves in a completely unfamiliar culture, saw incredible sights each day, endured harsh physical conditions and were surrounded with stunning natural landscapes. To experience all of this with our children truly brought us together as a family, and for that I am so grateful.

Related: The People We Meet Along the Way: Bolivia

Contact Indagare for assistance planning a customized journey to Bolivia.

– Indagare on May 7, 2019

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To experience all of this with our children truly brought us together as a family, and for that I am so grateful.
~ Justine Leguizamo

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