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Breathless in Bolivia

October 08, 1995

I was pleased to see "Breathless in Bolivia" (Aug. 20), until I started to read it. The first five paragraphs are uninformative, negative ("Horrid little low adobe huts . . . ") and even insulting. Many people make Bolivia the primary destination in their trips, and do not leave it as an afterthought of trips to Peru or Chile.

Tiwanacu is archeologically rich, though Christopher Reynolds decided not to explore it. And Bolivia consists of more than La Paz. The other major cities are not nearly as high, and are quite varied in their landscapes (arid to tropical), their local customs and points of interest. Even a cursory look at many travel guides would have revealed this, and it would at least have been worth a mention.

DARIO GROSSBERGER

San Bernardino

*

Reynolds' trip to La Paz and environs raised up fond memories of some of my own adventures in that region. I lived in Cochabamba, Bolivia, for nearly 20 years. However, readers who are contemplating Bolivia as a tourist stop should not ignore the numerous other regions of South America's most exotic country.

Potosi, at 14,000 feet, affords a picturesque journey into Bolivia's colonial past. Those who prefer less heady regions, will find the colorful cities of Sucre and Cochabamba at lower altitudes much more to their liking. The Bolivian tropics provide engrossing eco- and adventure tours and sprawling Santa Cruz, 30 years ago a small jungle town right out of the old Wild West, is now one of the fastest-growing cities in South America.

These cities have very satisfactory accommodations, but those who like to rough it will enjoy this little-known country even more. Land travel is certainly not the finest, but this is a great place to putter around in by yourself if you feel adventuresome.

While Reynolds mentioned several airlines, he did not include Lloyd Aero Boliviano (LAB), the principal Bolivian airline, which offers daily flights from Miami.

STEPHEN W. PULLEY

Temple City

*

I'm surprised that Christopher Reynolds, an experienced travel writer, was left "Breathless in Bolivia" (Aug. 20). I thought that it was common knowledge among people who travel to somewhat exotic locales that the drug Diamox (acetazolamide) is the standard treatment and, more importantly, preventive for altitude sickness (or acute mountain sickness, AMS, as this malady is more properly known).

ED SCHOCH

Los Angeles

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