Existing Member?

Mat and Vendy's travels

Bolivian road blocks and protests

BOLIVIA | Friday, 22 August 2008 | Views [2317] | Comments [2]

a road block

a road block

We´d heard about the Bolivian habit of protesting, and even seen evidence of it in Sucre and our guide had warned us that its very unusual to have a trip untouched by demonstration and today we had our share.......

We knew about a road block on the road from Sucre to Potosi, a four hour journey and should´ve been an easy ride for us, but after our taxis were half hour from the city we saw that things were worse than expected. They stopped, and though the roads had stones and thorny bushes they were not impassable - at least not totally - it was almost a symbolic road block a times!

Our taxis went as far as poss, until the way bacame very difficult before making us get out to walk but the drivers did help us, and we had two ill people with us, one girl so sick she couldn't walk unaided. Then our drivers noticed a car driving along a dry river bed and called us back to the cars. We allowed it but due to the terrible surface, and the load in the cars we soon ended up walking along next to the cars and soon wished we´d stuck to the main road.

We later rejoined the road and got back into the cars, and they took us another 10km down the road before again gettng out and having to cross a real blockade and walking down the road with our stuff. It was only then that a cattle truck drove past and we recognised Steve, from our previous trup hanging out of it!

We waved and had a nice reunion when they got out and that was when us and about 25 locals climbed into the truck, with all out stuff! the driver obviously saw an easy way to make some money! He stopped along the road collecting more and more people until we couldn't move inside the car, we were like sardines, and there were also people sitting along the cab roof! It was mayhem, and now I feel really sorry for the cattle carried in this way.

That was when things got even worse - we went off road, and into the dry river bed again! We were attacked by overhanging trees, shaken up and covered in dust for over half an hour before returning to the road and then he finally let us out to cross the last blockade with all our things, and Steve carrying his sick girlfriend intil we could hail a taxi the rest of the way to Potosi (another 2 hours!). The total travel time was almost exactly 7 hours.

Though a horrible journey I think it´ll be the most memorable part of Bolivia so far, and was so bad and unexpected that it was funny. the internet here in Bolivia is cheap but really slow so I can't upload the photos yet but i cant wait to show you!  

Tags: blockade, cattle truck, protest, strike, taxi, trees



I had a road block in 2018 in Sucre on the road to Potosi. In stead of 2 hours however, I had to walk 11 hours (50 km) at 3.000 meters altitude with my 20 kg back pack to where there were no more road blocks. Armed aggressive people at every road block about every 2-4 km. Just laughing at you when you pass by with their stupid smiles. Could hardly get oxygen. These road blocks took 4 weeks. Live stock and cattle were dying in the trucks waiting for the road blocks to be lifted, no more food in Sucre. No ambulances could reach the hospitals so people died from heart attacks etc. Why didn't the army intervene? Lost a toe nail and my feet totally messed up from the many blisters but worst of all: the insecurity and not knowing what to expect and if there would be an end to the road blocks after 50 km, which they told us. A freezing night in the mountains would not be survived by many. No sense of humanity these Bolivians. I hate Bolivia and it's people.

  Gerard Jun 20, 2018 6:26 PM


I read a book about it: "I hate Bolivia. A diary of emotions." by Isaac van Patten. Worth reading. Available on amazon. Apparently, this guy did the same journey I did and I tell you: his emotions are exactly what I experienced.

  Gerard Jun 20, 2018 6:31 PM

About matsmith

Follow Me

Where I've been

Photo Galleries


Near Misses

My trip journals

See all my tags 



Travel Answers about Bolivia

Do you have a travel question? Ask other World Nomads.