• Bolivia offers affordable South American travel


    South American travel is all about experiencing a different culture. Unlike some of the popular destinations in Europe, this can be done without breaking the bank. In Bolivia, for example, nice hotel rooms and dinners frequently run for between $10 and $15, sometimes even cheaper.

    The New York Times' "Frugal Traveler" columnist recently had a ball in the landlocked country. In the small town of Guayaramerin, a steak and bottle of beer at a high-end restaurant cost just $8.50, and his accommodations were even cheaper at $7.

    In the small city of Cochabamba, the deals continued. Much of the life in Cochabamba is settled around the marketplace, where locals haggle over prices on food, electronics and more. Cochabamba is also home to a string of small eateries that serve traditional Bolivian dishes, as well as the corn drink, chicha.

    The citizens are generally friendly and welcoming toward tourists, as the city is often overlooked in favor of the touristy La Paz. On two occasions, locals shared their chicha with the writer, who traditionally drank the beverage out of a hollowed-out gourd.

    It might not be for everybody, but for those who really like to experience the local culture, its hard to beat the friendliness - and affordability - of rural Bolivia.

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