What kind of packer are you? Do you wait until the last minute to run around your house throwing anything at arms reach into your suitcase? Do you have everything meticulously laid out, packing and repacking, weeks before departure? Are you worried about what down count your puffy jacket should be? Should you get synthetic or down sleeping bag? Gor-Tex, Omni-Dry, or Sympatex rain jacket?
Some of you may be seasoned travelers and backpackers and for others this may be your first foray into the outdoors. Either way, you’re going to do great! I know packing can take up quite a bit of space in your mind, but in the end, you can always find things here in Bolivia. Please refer to your packing list in the Course Preparation Manual for an itemized list. I will clarify in this note a little more about what the areas we will be traveling in will look like.
We will be traveling in Bolivia in mid-winter, so it will be cold while trekking and at night when at altitude (for example, in El Alto and La Paz). Otherwise, the climate in Sucre and Tiquipaya/Cochabamba is quite mild. We will be in the middle of the dry season, so when we’re in town you can expect temperatures to be like a fall or spring day. However, when we go into the mountains, anything goes. I always like to follow the old adage, plan for the worst and hope for the best. While we’re trekking, it’s possible to get rain or even snow. This doesn’t mean you need to get the top of the line gear, right of the rack from the nicest outdoor store. Some of my most cherished items have been hand-me-downs or purchased for half price from second hand gear stores.
Towns and Cities:
We will be staying in and passing through several towns and cities including Sucre, Cochabamba/Tiquipaya, and El Alto/La Paz. As I mentioned above, the climate will be mild. Think warm dry days and crisp cool nights. While we’re doing orientation activities and walking around cities you can use normal street clothes. Wear what’s comfortable as you would in your own town and bring shoes you wouldn’t mind spending all day walking around the city in. Your city clothes can also be the same as your travel clothes. However, we will always be conscious of wearing cultural appropriate dress so please refer to the packing list in your Course Preparation Manual. Think to yourself, what would grandma say about what I’m wearing? At night when you’re in your homestay or in a hostel, you may want to get cozy in some PJ’s and/or long underwear.
The mountains can have unpredictable weather so we want to be prepared for whatever it deals us. It’s always best to have your rain jacket at your fingertips and never have to use it. While we’re hiking during the day it can be sunny and crisp and you will want to have layers to change into if the clouds roll in. At night it can drop below freezing and we might even get some snow. You will want a warm sleeping bag and warm pajamas to sleep in. Don’t forget a sun hat and a warm hat and gloves!
Las Yungas is the cloud forest region we will be in at the end of the course. This will be much different than the climate in the other areas we will have been in. Think hot and humid. You may want shorts and short sleeves to stay cool. I like to wear light weight long sleeves for sun and bug protection. We will only be in this area for a few days.
I would be happy to talk with you about packing tips so feel free to give me a call. I’m in the office on weekdays so you can reach me at, (303) 413-0822. You can also reach me by email, [email protected]
Enjoy some of these photos of some of my past groups in these regions. It may give you an idea of what to wear.
Photo 1: Walking around a small town near Sucre
Photo 2: Day hike in the mountains near Tiquipaya
Photo 3: Topping out on a high mountain pass in the Andes