Our story begins in 2012 with a small group of young, Bolivian tourism graduates eager to travel the world, meet new people and realize their dream of seeing exotic, far-off places. How to do that when unemployed and when the average monthly salary in Bolivia is around USD 200? It would have to take some creative ideas and guts.
Back then, Bolivia was – and still is – growing as an emerging destination for adventurous travelers from around the world. While most of these adventurous travelers wasted their time doing the same, old things every other traveler did and most companies offered the same ‘me too’ trips in order to squeeze as much money as possible, we realized there was a gap to be filled.
We talked to a lot of people, most of whom were experienced travelers and were looking for authentic experiences, not the usual guided, bus tours or poor quality trips typical of most Bolivian companies.
So we made many new friends…friends who would play an important role in our lives later on. We took people around the country for free, just for FUN. We discovered many new places in our country ourselves, met a lot of interesting people in remote, off the beaten track places.
Our newly-made friends offered to do the same for us back home and so we saved every last cent in order to fly and visit our like-minded travelers in countries as far as Australia, England, Scotland, USA, Germany, Denmark, Spain, France, Switzerland, Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, Peru, Chile and Argentina.
Upon returning to Bolivia, our line of thinking was simple: why would anyone want to travel halfway across the globe to stay locked up in fancy hotels or party hostels and miss the real, colorful and bustling places that Bolivia is so unique for, and most of all, why would they want to spend their time taking bus tours looking at the local population from behind a glass window? (we certainly did not want to do that on our trips, but instead meet the locals, travel the local way and experience life the local way ).
And so Banjo Tours was born.
We started offering La Paz walking tours to the areas that most guidebooks warned against and turned out to be the ones that our customers enjoyed getting to know the most. Since then, all of our trips and tours have retained the essence of visiting off the beaten track places and meeting local people while exchanging cultures responsibly. We avoid taking people to the same old places and offering the same old trips without any differentiation. We enjoy making friends in our customers and this is reflected in the comments people leave about our trips and services. We keep our professionalism atop but interact with our clients in the same way that a local friend would. Even though running offbeat trips is less profitable than running trips in the most popular places, we will keep doing it so that our customers can see another, undiscovered side of Bolivia that they would have otherwise missed.
Today, we keep exploring our country and designing new trips for those fond of different experiences. We will continue showing the undiscovered Bolivia to our friends and customers throughout 2016 and beyond with our new trips and off the beaten track offers.