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Andes & Amazon "A" Semester, Spring 2013


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=In the video Wade Davis brought light to the idea that many cultures and languages are starting to die in this progressive day and age.  This has been a problem for hundreds of years with people thinking they have the best way of living and forcing  it on to others, which ends a way of life to a "better quality of life."  These ways of living are never neccessarily better but most certainly different, and someone will always not agree, which causes the issue.  I think it would be a horribly bland world if there were no other cultures to learn about or discover  so id love to find out what is really causing this issue and how it could stop.  The preservation of culture sould be taken more seriously so people dont forget where they came from or the struggles of a different people. 

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Andes & Amazon "A" Semester, Spring 2013

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Depletion of the Ethnosphere

Greg MArtinez,Andes & Amazon "A" Semester, Spring 2013

Description

=In the video Wade Davis brought light to the idea that many cultures and languages are starting to die in this progressive day and age.  This has been a problem for hundreds of years with people thinking they have the best way of living and forcing  it on to others, which ends a way of […]

Posted On

02/8/13

Author

Greg MArtinez

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The issue of the highway being built through TIPNIS land is an extremely difficult one to come to a satisfactory solution that is beneficial for both sides.  The issue stems from President Evo Morales’ desire to build a road that will travel right through the sacred ancestral grounds of the Moxeño, Yuracaré and Chimán people.  Suffice to say, the indigenous people of TIPNIS do not want the highway to be built, as it would destroy part of their homeland and way of life.  A disturbing statistic I came across reads that 64% of the TIPNIS will be deforested within 18 years of the road’s construction, which would be a huge loss for the environment and its people.  The land in question is both a national park and a self-governing territory, and is home to an incredible abundance of wildlife unique to TIPNIS, including 11 endangered animals and 3,000 species of plants.  There are two sides to the story, and no easy solution.

 

The government wants to build this road to improve Bolivia’s economic development.  The road would help cut transportation time nearly in half between Cochabamba and the Amazonian Beni region (the main source of agricultural and meat products).  This road would also connect the people residing in TIPNIS with the more modern, outside world, thus giving them more opportunities for expanding ideas such as ecotourism and agriculture.  Now all this sounds like it benefits both sides, but the community of TIPNIS feels that if this highway is built, it will destroy their entire world.  Their problem is not so much the road itself, but the destruction it will bring in terms of illegal logging, slash-and-burn techniques for illegal agricultural production, and narcotrafficking, which is the smuggling and distribution of illegal drugs. 

 

 

All in all, this conflict will be most difficult to resolve: human rights and preserving the complex ecosystem of TIPNIS vs the president and his highway of economic benefit.  Either way you slice it, people will be angry and progress in some form of another will be made and won’t be made at the same time.  If the road is completed, the TIPNIS people will become even angrier with the government for letting unwelcome visitors into their land and destroying their ecosystem and way of life.  On the other side, the economy will suffer and money and project resources will be wasted since they have already built the two pieces of the road that would be joined with the section that leads through TIPNIS.  Also, there are other people who have settled on the TIPNIS land who desperately need the road in order to access markets to sell goods.  For me personally, I think there is no right answer, but if I had to choose then I would be against building the road.  I think its one thing to benefit the economy, but it’s much worse to condemn innocent people and essentially ruin their lives.  I think that the economy can be helped in other ways that don’t include building a road through TIPNIS.

 

While abroad, I will definitely be interested to see how this issue is resolved and to hear which side the actual people of Bolivia are on.  I’m sure opinions will differ with city people and country people; I think it will be interesting to see who sides with whom.  I’m also very interested in the opinions the people have on their leader, Evo Morales.

 

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Andes & Amazon "A" Semester, Spring 2013

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NACLA TIPNIS highway article response

Margaret O'Leary,Andes & Amazon "A" Semester, Spring 2013

Description

The issue of the highway being built through TIPNIS land is an extremely difficult one to come to a satisfactory solution that is beneficial for both sides.  The issue stems from President Evo Morales’ desire to build a road that will travel right through the sacred ancestral grounds of the Moxeño, Yuracaré and Chimán people.  […]

Posted On

02/7/13

Author

Margaret O'Leary

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Sir Ken Robinson discusses the problem with the global education system. The whole world is trying to prepare it’s children to be successful in an ever-changing economy, and have a sense of cultural identity while still being involved in globalization, but educators lack the creativity and open-mindedness to leave the past educational structure behind. The two main problems Robinson sees are that the public education system has not evolved as the world has and there are too many children who don’t believe that school has a purpose.

 

In the past, getting a degree meant having a job but in our world today that’s not a guarantee, so some children think, “Why bother?” I spent the first semester of my year in Spain where as of now the unemployment rate for youth is 55%. Granted not all of the people in that 55% have degrees, but talking to the people my age in Spain there is an overwhelming sense of fear. I have a friend who didn’t work hard enough in high school, so didn’t pass his exams to get into University. Now he doesn’t have a job and can’t continue with his education. Even the students in University are scared for their future. Despite the fact that they are all going to earn professional degrees there is still only a small chance that they will get a job and an even smaller one that they will get the job that they want and worked hard for in school. Furthermore, because a professional degree is becoming increasingly important, more and more people have them; so in the future even having a professional degree will not be enough. And what about all those who don’t have a professional degree at all? What hope do they have?

 

So, why is there this problem with children and school? Robinson says that it’s because of the world’s constant need to categorize. The trending definition of “smart” versus “not-smart” is based on the definition of “academic” and “non-academic.” Academic people are those who are “good at school.” They can reason, focus, absorb information, and then regurgitate it again. Robinson raises the point that there are plenty of non-academic people who are brilliant, but they are categorized unfairly based on the stipulations of being academic. A lot of the reason that children are categorized as non-academic is that they are unable to focus in school or don’t have the motivation to learn because they get bored. Well, of course they do. We live in a world of limitless data and distractions.  There are televisions, computers and Ipods—all constant sources of entertainment—so how can we assume that a child will be able to put all of those aside and focus in school when in comparison to everything else school is basically boring? Even I, an “academic” 18-year-old, am having trouble writing this on my computer without clicking to a different window to check Facebook or play solitaire. If I can barely do it how can a 10-year-old? So, young students are placed into categories unfairly and then because they are young, don’t know how to break down those barriers. A child considers himself “not-smart” and doesn’t think he can do well but is that really true? Probably not. Unfortunately in the US our solution to this makes the problem even worse. Doctors diagnose students with ADHD and give them medication to help them focus, but this medication causes them to lose a lot of the aesthetic experience of learning, causing them to be even more checked-out of their studies.

In the current education system students are also categorized by age. Robinson wonders why. Children all learn in different ways and at different rates. Some are better at certain times of the day or at certain subjects, yet they are placed in rigid class rooms with people born in the same year and so they are basically set up to fail at some point every day. One child might do poorly during the math part of the day while another during the reading.  At some point in the day students individually fall behind due to lack of understanding or focus, and then miss important information. Robinson states that this idea of conformity and standardization only makes it harder for most kids to learn. In order to fix the education system we have to stop conforming and start learning about how individual children learn to better teach a wider range of kids.

 

Now a lot of what Robinson discusses applies mostly to the US and wealthier European countries, so the question is how does it apply to where we will be travelling? Like a lot of things in Bolivia there is a divide in education between the rural areas of the country and the urban.  The illiteracy rate is much higher in rural communities and there is a much smaller emphasis on the importance of education. Furthermore it is not as readily available. Everywhere in the country the number of students who continue after primary school decreases greatly.  The problem is, on top reforming the way that education works, making it available for more people in the country. The other concern is that this standardized system of education in the world clearly doesn’t work so why install it in developing countries in the first place?

 

Robinson concludes that education needs to move away from standardization and offers two additional points. He states that great learning happens in groups. Having students interact with each other is very important and doesn’t happen enough under the current educational paradigm. His second idea is we need to change the culture of our educational institutions to be less standardized, less full of unfair categories. Already in the United States and around the world there are alternative forms of education like Montessori, Waldorf, and Kipp. I went to Montessori schools and they are very focused on letting children motivate themselves and learn at their own rate, solving two of the major problems discussed.  Basically we need to step away from the education system that was designed to work during the industrial revolution. Perhaps Latin-American and other developing countries have it better because they have the opportunity to develop their educational system to be better in the present than first world countries. Because they don’t have an education system as strongly rooted in ancient educational tradition they have the opportunity to be the model for education of the future.  Yes that is an optimistic outlook, but you never know. I am curious to see the attitudes towards education in the different parts of Bolivia and Peru and also curious to see the future of education in the world.

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Andes & Amazon "A" Semester, Spring 2013

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RE: Sir Ken Robinson-Changing Educational Paradigms

Eliza Davis,Andes & Amazon "A" Semester, Spring 2013

Description

Sir Ken Robinson discusses the problem with the global education system. The whole world is trying to prepare it’s children to be successful in an ever-changing economy, and have a sense of cultural identity while still being involved in globalization, but educators lack the creativity and open-mindedness to leave the past educational structure behind. The […]

Posted On

02/7/13

Author

Eliza Davis

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The main issue discussed in Sir Ken Robinson’s video “changing education paradigms” is how the current public education model isn’t going to help educate children for the economies of the 21st century or give children any cultural identity when it comes to being part of globalization. The problem escalates when you take into account that the entire world is reforming public education to fit the future economy and yet according to Ken Robinson, the world cannot even predict what the economy will be like next week. Furthermore, the current education model was conceived during the enlightenment period and was designed for the economy of the industrial revolution. Unfortunately, this makes public education unsuited for the world in which receiving a diploma does not guarantee you a job.

My impression of this video was that I agree with what Sir Ken Robinson said about the need to change public education to support today’s youth. In comparison to previous history, children today are being inundated with more information and sensory stimulation. The current public education system moves slower than globalization and restricts student’s potential when dealing with divergent thinking. The old measure of intelligence was one’s knowledge of the classics and use of deductive reasoning. Public schools still prioritize teaching classic western literature rather than contemporary literature from around the globe. In addition, students are being taught in a formulaic and standardized manner just as they have since the enlightenment period. Every student should be taught as an individual to accommodate their different learning styles: kinesthetic, audio-sequential, visual-spatial.

While in country, if I was to explore this issue further, I would try to familiarize myself with the public education system in Bolivia. I could attend a class in a local school and observe the various teaching methods as well as interview it’s students to get their impression on Bolivia’s education model. Although as a more realistic approach to this issue, I could converse with non-governmental organizations that support education reform just the same.

Changes over time concerning this issue on public education reform lead me to do a little personal research of my own on the topic. According to a review of certain internationalizing curriculum papers, the Ontario institute for studies on Education has conjured an interesting theory Although it is true what Sir Ken Robinson said about every country attempting to reform public education recently, the deeper one investigates into these issues, the more complex the problem becomes. If countries are prioritizing international standardized test scores in comparison to the rest of the globe, then there is an inverse effect as the curriculum won’t be preparing students to fit into their local economies. I find this interesting because it begs me to question what is the difference between international teaching philosophies, and more importantly, how do they affect reform efforts.

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Andes & Amazon "A" Semester, Spring 2013

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response to Sir Ken Robinson video

Troy Stanley,Andes & Amazon "A" Semester, Spring 2013

Description

The main issue discussed in Sir Ken Robinson’s video “changing education paradigms” is how the current public education model isn’t going to help educate children for the economies of the 21st century or give children any cultural identity when it comes to being part of globalization. The problem escalates when you take into account that […]

Posted On

02/7/13

Author

Troy Stanley

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Hi everyone,

 

Thanks for the questions Maddie.  To respond to your questions:

 

Thermos/ utensils - The thermos is completely optional, but can be nice to have for hot drinks during treks or even at the program house.  If you are a tea or coffee drinker we would recommend bringing a thermos.  You will need utensils and a tupperware container for trekking and eating on the go.  A spoon from home will work fine, or can be purchased in-country.

 

Mosquito net - It is NOT necessary to bring a mosquito net.  We will provide one if needed during the Amazon portion of the trip.

 

Swimsuit - We will go swimming in the Amazon and likely visit some hot springs during the semester and do recommend bringing a swimsuit.  Please keep in mind that the culture in the Andes is a bit more conservative.  If the girls are planning on bringing bikinis there may be times when we will ask you to wear a t-shirt over your swimsuit.  It is also approriate to use shorts and a shirt or sports bra for swimming.

 

Let us know if you have any more questions.  We look forward to meeting you all soon!

 

los instructores 

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Andes & Amazon "A" Semester, Spring 2013

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Response to Maddie’s questions

Ben, Julianne, Emy,Andes & Amazon "A" Semester, Spring 2013

Description

Hi everyone,   Thanks for the questions Maddie.  To respond to your questions:   Thermos/ utensils – The thermos is completely optional, but can be nice to have for hot drinks during treks or even at the program house.  If you are a tea or coffee drinker we would recommend bringing a thermos.  You will […]

Posted On

02/5/13

Author

Ben, Julianne, Emy

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Hey guys!.

 

I'm Christian, from Arizona, I went to boarding school in Connecticut, and am now taking a gap year, and I'm going to be college at Lynn University in Florida in the fall this year. I love traveling,and meeting new people and this is my first trip that's going to be for more than just a few weeks..but I'm really excited-like I was even getting insanely excited about it before I even finisheed applying for the trip-just to give an example..

 

 I just got back from Costa Rica, with a little more Spanish-but all my friends make fun of me because of my pure American accent, so hopefully I'm not going to embarras you all with it!Just kidding, it's alright..

 

Anyway, I need some more book suggestions actually!So, if any of you have any that you wanna throw at me-I'd greatly appreciate it, and in return I'd help translate Spanish for you while we're there, and teach you a few curse words..wait- just kidding about that second part; but no, any idaes would be awesome!

 

Any-who,

can't wait to meet ya'll soon, and Pura Vida!  

 

 

 

 

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Andes & Amazon "A" Semester, Spring 2013

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Hey everyone!

Christian Frelinghuysen,Andes & Amazon "A" Semester, Spring 2013

Description

Hey guys!.   I’m Christian, from Arizona, I went to boarding school in Connecticut, and am now taking a gap year, and I’m going to be college at Lynn University in Florida in the fall this year. I love traveling,and meeting new people and this is my first trip that’s going to be for more […]

Posted On

02/4/13

Author

Christian Frelinghuysen

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    I identified several issues fueling the debate over the construction of a highway through TIPNIS, none of which I think can be resolved easily. However, the biggest issue here is not logistics, funding, or even obtaining the locals’ consent, but the collaboration between the many peoples of South America to find a solution that accommodates all their disparate needs and priorities.  Nonetheless it’s important to understand the nuts and bolts of the arguments for and against the highway before having an opinion on the topic oneself. I will discuss the main issues of the argument here and will hopefully have figured out what I think before this essay’s end.
    

If you had to boil down the debate over this highway to a single question, I think it would be whether it’s right to harm some to benefit others. Essentially, it’s a question of the greater good. Yes, many in TIPNIS will be negatively affected by the construction of the highway, but many more will prosper from the economic and developmental boost this highway would bring. However, talking about the greater good is a tricky thing. How can you identify or measure what’s “good”?  By the numbers? Counting how many people will profit versus how many people will suffer? Or by the degree of profit and the degree of suffering? For native peoples living in TIPNIS who rely on hunting, fishing, and gathering, the construction of this highway threatens to ruin their very way of life. When is it justified to decimate the existence of one people just to improve the existence of another? Not to mention the unique cultures and traditions that would be lost to the world forever. Talk about priorities! Turning the construction of this highway into a case of cultricide could be a very persuasive argument supporting the preservation of TIPNIS.
    

The construction of the highway also begs the question of what is more valuable, economic development or environmental conservation? Of course all of South America would benefit from the trade facilitated by this highway, but is it really a good idea to proceed with what could be “the greatest ecological destruction in Bolivia’s history” - especially now when only a fraction of the planet’s forests still stand to keep global warming at bay? I was shocked to read that a study has predicted that 64% of TIPNIS will be deforested within 18 years after the road’s construction. The road threatens to drive several endangered species to extinction. The road would facilitate the work of illegal loggers and slash-and-burn-using coca leaf farmers. This road may benefit Bolivia in the short-term, but how sound an investment is it in the long-term? In my mind, a better idea would be to use TIPNIS to bring in revenue via ecotourism. That way conservation and economic development wouldn’t have to be mutually exclusive. I wonder if the parties involved have considered this option.
    

While most of the debate seems to be centered on policy and logistics, I am interested in the role science plays in this issue. I’m already wondering whether and how the people of Bolivia will use science to alleviate the negative impacts of the highway. I read that an underground or elevated highway has been suggested, as well as alternate routes for the highway around the park. Why not build a high-speed electric cargo train through the park to link the two ends of the highway? That would be one less way illegal loggers and coca farmers to get into the park, and the train wouldn’t produce as much noise pollution and emissions as highway traffic would. It could be encaged to keep animals from getting on the tracks. But then what about maintenance? Inspecting all the cargo that would go through it? Would one train be enough to handle all the cargo that would come through? Would its services be free? I suppose that no solution to this problem will be simple.
    

With the little understanding of this potential highway and its potential effects (positive and negative), it’s difficult for me to have a definitive opinion of it myself. Well, I know what I would want to happen, but who am I to say that that’s what’s best? If the highway is built, the people in TIPNIS will rage that they’ve been exploited. If it’s not, then people outside of TIPNIS will insist that South America’s economy and development has been stunted. Personally, I don’t want a highway that would ruin an ecosystem and drive native peoples out of existence. I think South America’s economy will survive without this highway. However, I am reluctant to assert this opinion and course of action much further because I know it cannot take care of everyone. Perhaps it is weak of me to resign myself from the debate just because it’s complicated, but if anything the complexity of this argument has made me appreciate the work of politicians and policy makers - people who have to make hard decisions but don’t shy away from the challenge*. I could learn a lot from them, namely how to put my doubts aside, trust my gut, and just do the best I can for as many as I can. I look forward to following the debate over this highway closely and seeing how its leaders handle this delicate situation.

* An afterthought:
After reading “Battle of Reports Sustains Bolivia’s TIPNIS Conflict” on the NACLA’s website, I am more cynical about the people making the hard decisions. It appears the consultation process meant to obtain the informed consent of people living in TIPNIS did not follow the regulations established by national and international law. Furthermore, the results of other consultation missions downright contradicted those gained by the official “consulta previa” which stated that 55 of 69 indigenous communities (or about 80% of those consulted) supported the construction of the highway. For example, another report done by the Permanent Assembly of Human Rights in Bolivia in association the Inter-American Federation of Human Rights and the Catholic Church found that 30 out of 36 communities rejected the idea of the highway. Again, I am interested to see how this debate over the highway unfolds and whether everyone’s voices will be heard and properly acknowledged.

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Andes & Amazon "A" Semester, Spring 2013

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Re: TIPNIS Highway

Maddie Shankle,Andes & Amazon "A" Semester, Spring 2013

Description

    I identified several issues fueling the debate over the construction of a highway through TIPNIS, none of which I think can be resolved easily. However, the biggest issue here is not logistics, funding, or even obtaining the locals’ consent, but the collaboration between the many peoples of South America to find a solution that […]

Posted On

02/2/13

Author

Maddie Shankle

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    [post_date] => 2013-02-02 00:00:00
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-02-02 07:00:00
    [post_content] => 

How necessary are the following items:

 

mosquito net

thermos/utensils

bathing suit

 

Can we do without them?

Thanks,

Maddie

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Andes & Amazon "A" Semester, Spring 2013

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Specific packing question

Maddie Shankle,Andes & Amazon "A" Semester, Spring 2013

Description

How necessary are the following items:   mosquito net thermos/utensils bathing suit   Can we do without them? Thanks, Maddie

Posted On

02/2/13

Author

Maddie Shankle

WP_Post Object
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    [post_author] => 30
    [post_date] => 2013-01-31 00:00:00
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-01-31 07:00:00
    [post_content] => 

Hola Dragones!

 

This semester we want to encourage you to stay in touch the old-school way with your friends and family back home.  We have a PO Box on Cochabamba where you can receive letters, so please feel free to share this with loved ones:

 

Your Name

C/O Julianne Chandler

Casilla Postal 319

Cochabamba, Bolivia

 

Keep in mind that the postal service is slow and sometimes unreliable, so it's not a good idea to send anything of value.  Also, it can be difficult to receive packages due to customs fees and taxes.  In general we don't encourage people to send packages to Bolivia, but in the case that you do want to receive a package keep in mind the following guidelines.  Your package must be:

 

-Under 2 kilos

-Uninsured

-Sent registered mail 

 

We may have irregular access to the PO Box while traveling and letters take approximately 3 weeks to arrive.

 

We look forward to seeing you soon!

 

los instructores 

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Andes & Amazon "A" Semester, Spring 2013

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Mailing address in Bolivia

Julianne, Ben, Emy,Andes & Amazon "A" Semester, Spring 2013

Description

Hola Dragones!   This semester we want to encourage you to stay in touch the old-school way with your friends and family back home.  We have a PO Box on Cochabamba where you can receive letters, so please feel free to share this with loved ones:   Your Name C/O Julianne Chandler Casilla Postal 319 […]

Posted On

01/31/13

Author

Julianne, Ben, Emy

WP_Post Object
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    [post_author] => 30
    [post_date] => 2013-01-30 00:00:00
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-01-30 07:00:00
    [post_content] => 

 

As our departure date draws closer, you guys have been asking some wonderful questions! As the Bolivian Embassy site can be confusing, we wanted to send a quick reminder about visas and some important tips on bringing cash to Bolivia. 

 

 We will not need visas for Peru. When we cross the border we will receive a tourist stamp that will take us through our time there! 

 

In terms of Bolivian Visas, the Bolivian Embassy website states that you need several documents that they never actually ask for - letter of invitation, evidence of economic solvency, yellow fever certification, etc. In the past students have only been asked for a passport photo (sometimes) and the $135 visa fee (always).  If for some reason you are asked for evidence that you have enough money to travel in Bolivia, you can just show your debit card to the customs officials and that should be fine.However, you will need to bring $135 in cash! 



That being said, US bills with a serial number that starts with CB are not accepted in Bolivia, the reason being that these bills stopped being printed and there have been problems with counterfeiting. Please, make sure to double check your cash so that it does not start with CB. It seems a bit odd, but Bolivians are very strict on this. 

 

If you have any more questions or concerns, let us know!

 

Good luck packing and see you soon.

 

Saludos,

 

Los Instructores 

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Andes & Amazon "A" Semester, Spring 2013

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Visa and Cash Questions

los instructores ,Andes & Amazon "A" Semester, Spring 2013

Description

  As our departure date draws closer, you guys have been asking some wonderful questions! As the Bolivian Embassy site can be confusing, we wanted to send a quick reminder about visas and some important tips on bringing cash to Bolivia.     We will not need visas for Peru. When we cross the border we will receive […]

Posted On

01/30/13

Author

los instructores

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