El camino del Che, Bolivia

We left Samaipata in the morning and our plan was to go to Vallegrande and from there find transportation to “La Higuera” to follow in the footsteps of Che Guevara. In the bus though we found out that it goes all the way to Pucará, which is only 12km from La Higuera and this made our lives a lot easier and the travel cheaper but not less scary. This was the road that big coaches and trucks took in both directions and where they had to pass each other with only centimeters from the cliff:

After 5 hours in a typical Bolivian bus which was full of people (I didn’t get a seat and had to spent all that time on floor, lying on my backpack), luggage, some dogs and who knows what else we arrived at Pucará in the late afternoon. In the bus, we met a french girl who wanted to go to La Higuera as well and we all three settled at one of the two hostals available in Pucará for the night.

We had a look around Pucará and enjoyed the view over the surrounding mountains and valleys until the sunset. For dinner we were the only three at a restaurant at the main square which didn’t have any menu. After you sit down you simply get brought the only meal they have that day, no choice!

The next morning we started walking to La Higuera. Half way we passed by the Quebrada del Churo, where Che was captured and then brought to La Higuera.

We were told the night before that many cars and small trucks will pass our way because there would be a market at the end of the road. But that didn’t seem to be the case and all we saw on the way were two fully packed cars and a motorbike. That is why we ended up walking the 12km from Pucará to La Higuera and arrived there around 11am.

We went to the museum of La Higuera and visited the school where Che and his companions were held and finally shot. It seems like this little village exists only because of him, with his statues and quotes everywhere.

The way back to Vallegrande was a lot more difficult than the way there. We had hoped for a car or a little truck to take us back to the main road or to Pucará. But the two that passed were arleady full or didn’t want to take us. We had some lunch, which took a lot longer to prepare than promised and started the hick back up to the main road at 1.30pm. It was a 2h walk down and people had told us that the last bus will pass at 4pm, that is why we basically started running up in the sun and the heat. After about 1h a car from the opposite direction stopped and offerred to take us back to Vallegrande (he was just there to drop someone off close by). Our driver, a Coca chewing alcoholic, drove the most run down car I have ever seen which also used to be a right-hand drive from Japan (now the steering wheel was on the left and all the not working instruments on the right). On the way he showed us “Che’s hat” and tried to convinced us multiple times to get married and get four children and then when we would come back to Bolivia with our new family he would give us some land and we could live there….

In Pucará two guys with Lasos joined us for a while, they had to go up a hill to get a cow back to town.

Anyways after 5h for a normally 2h ride (he asked if he should drive faster but I figuerd it wasn’t a good idea to make him drive fast on that kind of road) we arrived to Vallegrande and stayed in a hostal recommended by the driver.

The next day was our second of following in Che’s footsteps or rather his corpse because when he was brought to Vallegrande he was alrerady dead. First up was la Fosa de Che Guevara, you have to cross the airport and some fences to get there. He and five of his companions were burried in this spot before being exhumed 30 years later and Che was brought back to Cuba.

The other five were exhumed as well but not brought to Cuba, instead they were burried again close by in what is now know as the Fosa de Guerrilleros:

Before getting another nightbus to Cochabamba and then La Paz we also visited the washing house of the hospital of Vallegrande. The Che was displayed dead to the public there after beeing flown back from La Higuera:

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