One of the hardest things to get for Bolivia is a decent map. I haven’t seen an ordnance survey map of the whole country as yet. I would love to have one. The maps for sale here in tourist offices and the library in Santa Cruz are poor quality and miss off many roads and even some towns are missing. They are enough for the tourists but not great for adventure travel.
Garmin do a map of all of South America except Bolivia and one or two other smaller countries. You can download software for Garmin for about $30. First you have to download “Garmin Basecamp” and then purchase the map and link it to your device. Its ok and it works.
Google maps is a cheap option, but you need quite a lot of memory and battery. You can just screenshot the page you are on, but a better option is to download the page. That way you can cover a larger area and zoom in to pick up the smaller trails. Bolivian wifi is generally quite slow so you will need a bit of time to download your whole trip.
The advantage of this is that you can save where you want to go and once you are done you can delete the download freeing up memory again. Its much faster than GPS, but you will need some sense of direction and a compass. Make sure you take a 100% waterproof bag which you can get in most sailing shops. It’s worth it if you are going to use phones or tablets to navigate by. Also think about a solar charger. I don’t use spare batteries as they have a habit of running out. You can all but guarantee sun in Bolivia and an hour is normally enough to charge a phone watch or tablet.
If you can afford one I love the Suunto gps watches. They are about £250 -£400 to buy. The ability to program your route from a laptop and sync the watch is brilliant and you can store 250 routes. You only get 100 hours battery life on one charge, but that’s where the solar charger comes in. My watch will charge in under an hour on a sunny day.
Having the confidence to get home no matter where you are is key to finding new places and exploring the magic of Bolivia. Talk to vAMMos about where you want to go.