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Bolivia Motorcycle Tours

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Bolivia Motorcycle Tours

I went on a 17 day motorcycle tour with Bolivia Motorcycle Adventures out of Samaipata Bolivia. It was amazing. Great value. The motorcycles week in good running condition and the tires on mine were brand new. The hotels we stayed at were amongst the best available. There was a support vehicle that followed so you can bring lots of luggage. There were 3 flats and some minor breakdowns which were fixed in a timely fashion by the guide and support vehicle driver. The scenery was breathtaking. Also we benefited from the guides local knowledge. We visited Uyoni during a festival and Sucre during bazaar day. Also we climatized by staying higher and higher each day to avoid altitude sickness. The guide also carried special medicine for different ailments. It was well done. The trip itself was like visiting a foreign planet. Llamas everywhere, mountains, rivers, and locals dressed in colorful garb

Denver, Colorado
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1. Re: Bolivia Motorcycle Tours

Motorcycle Tours Bolivia

I had two tours with MTB while travelling in South America and had 2 completely opposite experiences which I’ll share below...

Tour 1 – One Day Death Road Tour

The day started with a taxi pick up from my hostel which took me to the main MTB office (It was easy that MTB sent the taxi so that I didn’t have to worry about going to the wrong place). I was greeted by Gus who was going to be my guide and spoke to Roberto (the owner of the Company). Both of them were super friendly and got me set up with all my gear and on the bike within 30 minutes. We were on the road by 9:30. We were off towards death road and I had the chance to rip through the streets of La Paz which was great since I would have been arrested in North America for driving like that. It was a blast. We got the entrance/summit of death road where we stopped for a picture and a tradition of wishing good luck on us. Gus was always willing to take pictures of me and give me a history lesson/fun facts about the area when we stopped. He also told me the options I had available when riding so that I was able to make decisions on what I wanted to see the most and essentially custom tailor the tour for me. We rode along the new death road (paved) until reaching the entrance of the old death road which was gravel. After a quick stop, we were heading down the road going around tight corners and passing by all the other downhill bicycle tours. We were the only pair I saw on motorcycle going down the hill. The scenery was amazing and Gus was always offering to take pictures of the typical death road spots.

We stopped for lunch at the bottom of the road and had a delicious meal for about an hour. Gus gave me the option of either riding back up old death road or back using the new road. We opted for the old road which was gravel since it was a lot of fun. Even though we took the road downhill, it felt different going uphill and as if it was another trail. Unfortunately, a flash thunderstorm came out of nowhere (outside the control of Gus) and we got stuck riding through some rain. We got soaked and freezing cold on the way back especially because the top of the mountain was snowing whereas the bottom of the hill is a hot jungle. It was cool to see the difference in temperature/climate from the top to the bottom. From here we headed back to the city to drive to the MTB office and drop off the bikes. We got back to the office around 5:30 where we were met with hot tea/coffee and were able to relax for a bit.

Total time riding in the day was about 6.5 hours (excluding lunch and breaks).

Tour 2 – 2 Day Uyuni Salt Flat Tour

The day started by getting off at the bus stop around 8:00 am and heading to the MTB office which was a short 5 minute walk away. Here I met Robin (A British expat) and another rider I would be riding with. The office looked great and we got suited up. The riding gear was decent quality and the bikes seemed to be to excellent shape. I was ready to go by 8:45 am but we didn’t actually hop on the bikes until 11 am. It was a bit frustrating as Robin is a very chatty person and didn’t seem too worried about riding. We took a quick 10 minute ride to the train cemetery which was had old trains along an abandoned railway. They were interesting but essentially just piles of rusted metal which was turned into a tourist attraction. From here we continued for about an hour along a dusty and sandy path. Robin led the front kicking up dust and sand which covered us in sand. We rode for another 30 minute to the Dakar salt stone which also included a commemorative statue with flags from around the globe. The view from here was quite amazing as the salt flats extended further than the eyes could see. The white salt against the crisp blue sky was like nothing I had ever seen before. From here we continued on the salt flats for another 1.5 hours or so and stopped at the base of a volcano. We had to pay an entrance fee to the park to go see an old cave with some skeletons inside. Robin insisted that we pay him the entrance fee and then he would go get us the tickets. He told us the tickets were 30 Bs however when we got them they said they were only worth 10 Bs. Robin said that the tickets were wrong so I shrugged it off thinking it would be pretty pathetic if he was actually trying to rip us off (although turns out later that he did). We stopped here for a 2 hour lunch and then headed to the hotel for the night. We got to the hotel at around 3 pm and Robin said we were checking into the hotel for the night. He told us stories of all the cool roads and trails around here that we ‘could’ do but that it wasn’t possible to do them because he wanted to take a nap. Dinner wasn’t being served until 8 pm so you can imagine the boredness which quickly came about. The dinner at the hotel was excellent and the rooms were also very nice considering they were in the middle of the salt flats. Dinner was spent listening to Robin’s plan of retiring soon and his stories of how to make money in Bolivia.

Total ride time on Day 1 was approx. 3.5 hours.

We get up the next day around 9 am for breakfast and don’t hop on the bikes until 11:00 am. Again, we seemed to have spent a lot of the time sitting around listening to Robin talk about the challenging trails which we weren’t going to do. He also told us how the bikes we were riding were actually bought stolen for a super cheap price. We ride out to the middle of the salt flats for another 40 min break which was simply stunning. There were more clouds today however the view still great.

Over lunch Robin tells us stories of how stupid ‘Gringo’s’ are and that they pay anything for a tour in Bolivia. He also tells us how cheap things are in Bolivia and that ‘gringo’s’ always get ripped off. I am white, and Robin himself was also white.

On the way back to Uyuni along the salt flat, I run out of gas and we have to stop to fill it up. Robin puts in about 300ml of fuel and we carry on. Of course, I run out of gas again within 20 minutes and we have to stop. Robin is very irritated by having to come back and puts in a bit more gas and says that is all the gas I’m allowed to get me back to the city. The website clearly stated that all fuel was included and not just a limited amount.

We get back to the MTB office around 2 pm and I tell Robin that the tour was supposed to last until 5:30 like it states on the website. (Total ride time on Day 2 was approx. 3 hours) He immediately got angry and stated that the website doesn’t have a time and “that’s all you get for the tour.” This is when things started to get sour. I told Robin that because the tour was only 6.5 hours of actual riding time over 2 days, I wasn’t going to pay the full price of $460 US which was excessively overpriced. He looks straight at the ground and starts to ramble off to me why it is so expensive including that they have to cover the costs of items which their shop workers steal from them and that its normal down there. Seeing as how he didn’t look at me once in the eyes when mentioning these things’ I knew he was lying.

The entire tour could have easily been done in one day (The car tours can be done for $130 and you see all of the exact same things for a fraction of the price). The death road tour I did for one day had the same amount of ride time. I offer $400US for the shorter days and he flat out refuses (this was still way more than the trip was worth). The moment I mentioned that I wanted a discount Robin said that he was off to get the police and he was going to tell them I robbed his office so that I would get arrested. From the few days I was in La Paz, I quickly found out how corrupt the police system is and would not be surprised if they actually did arrest me in the hopes of me paying them off. I didn’t want to go this route.

His attitude then shifts from angry to being compassionate as if he is bi-polar and he tries to guilt me into paying him the full price because his partner (Roberto) “doesn’t pay him well and that he barely makes enough to buy food for himself and his wife.” Little did he remember that the night before he was telling us how he owned several rental properties and how we was going to buy a condo on the beach for cash in a couple year. He also tried to say that Americans have a starting salary of $30K in the USA and that we need to share our wealth with Bolivians because we have the money and they are super poor….the guilt trip didn’t work well on me.

Next thing I know, Robin lunges for my backpack and takes my camera. He says that he is keeping the camera if I want to pay $400 and he’ll give me $60 for the camera. The camera itself was worth $700 so of course I was angry. Not to mention, the 1000’s of pictures I had on it from my previous few months were irreplaceable. At this point Robin was pacing back and forth and picking up shop tools for moments at a time. I had a feeling he was going to get violent and Robin did not seem like man who had anything to lose. I would not be surprised if he was hiding out in Bolivia from his past because he didn’t seem like a man who had many friends. He then begins to demand a tip saying that customers typically give him $200 on a $460 tour. I highly doubted people tipped this well and realized he was trying to rob me even more. After realizing I wasn’t going to get my camera back without a wrench going at my head from Robin, I just paid him the extra $60 and made my way out of Uyuni. I didn’t tip him any extra.

The salt flats themselves are amazing however the tour they provide is mediocre at best. It definitely was not worth the price they charge. Especially when you don’t even get the full experience which was promised and you finish early.

I think that Roberto and Gus would be must better suited to run the business and should reconsider having Robin as a business partner. If it wasn’t for Robin’s actions, then this would be a 5 star company. However, Robin did not seem to be a good tour guide. If I had to recommend this company to anyone, it would only be to do the Death Road tour with either Gus or Roberto. The Salt Flat tour is way too overpriced for 6 hours of riding for 2 days when you can get the same tour by car for less than half the price. Any tour with Robin should be avoided.

2. Re: Bolivia Motorcycle Tours

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Removed on: 20 December 2015, 19:35
Santa Cruz de la...
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3. Re: Bolivia Motorcycle Tours

This post mixes two different companies.

- The original story is about Bolivia Motorcycle Adventures.

- The replies are about an other company: Bolivia Motorcycle Tours.

4. Re: Bolivia Motorcycle Tours

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