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06/18/2010

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Heather Power

Was that a hoard of snacks in the outhouse?

Antoinet and Roland

Heej Tom and Amber! We googled on Gingers Paradise and we saw your weblog as first! What a coincidence. But thanks for the advise, it helped us hahah. We where thinking to go there or to a festival in St. Ignacio the Moxos (near Trinidad) and we choose for the festival. See that you have been a long time in South America, but we didn´t take the same route and now you´re already in Europe to go to Asia for a new adventure. Take care and enjoy! Greets Antoinet and Roland

Isabel and Hernan

Loved the article.
My boyfriend and I had a similar experience at ginger's 'paradise' but our one culminated with being threatened with a machete.
But before I recount the machete incident, I'd like to tell you about some of the other problems I experienced at this so-called paradise.
The owner is a self-absorbed failed rock star who constantly spurts out self-important and 'all-knowing' nonsense about pretty much anything. I completely agree with your assessment of the owner Chris. What a knob.
We only spent one day there because it was an all round disappointment. As you said, there was no cow, the food was scarce and the owners were rather, shall we say money driven.
For example, Chris invited my boyfriend Hernan to play a game of chess and bet him an expensive organic chocolate that he would win. My boyfriend agreed to play. However, he was not aware that his opponent was the son of a chess grandmaster. My boyfriend obviously lost. Fair play. But the salt in the wound was that Hernan then had to buy the chocolate bar off Chris afterwards. It was just another of their schemes to get money out of people.
The accommodation is a much lower standard than most hostels in Bolivia, but was about triple the price of other places we had stayed. The price is not printed on the flyer so it was a bit of a shock when we arrived there and found out about the prices. We would have left but because of the place's isolated location and the fact that we arrived late at night, we were sort of pushed into a corner and had to fork out the money to stay there.
So after having spent most of our budget on the accommodation, I was invited by the owner's wife Sol to learn how to make a bracelet. Sol invited me to do it as though we were friends but then once I was inside and was choosing the colours to make my bracelet she announces that the 'class' would cost $30. To my embarrassment I had to make my apologies and duck out of the class.
I understand that these guys are running a business but they really were the most money grabbing 'hippies' I have ever met.
But the icing on the cake of the experience came after we left.
As we were leaving 'Money-grabber's Paradise' we noticed a small group of people camping on the riverbank on the other side of the river to gingers. They were a bunch of Argentine artesans who were travelling around Bolivia busking, juggling and selling jewellery to make ends meets.
They had approached ginger to offer to work for free in exchange for lodgings (as is common on most farms in Latin America). But where could ginger get his money from if they did that?
So the Argentines decided to camp on public property and we joined them.
We spent three wonderful days camping there. A german couple was also scared off by ginger's extortionate prices and saw the river side's potential, so they joined us too.
Chris and Sol did not like this at all. They interrupted our campfires to come everyday to ask us to leave.
There ridiculous reasons included:
1) the neighbours had complained of our presence (even though we had made friends with the neighbours, played football with the local boys and had been invited to eat with them, so this was obviously a fabrication)
2) we were going to leave rubbish and pollute the river (we took all our rubbish with us and tried our best to limit any damage to the environment, digging latrines and not using soapy products in the river.)
We rebutted any arguments they had against us camping there so they kept coming back with more and more excuses. They did not, however, mention the real reason why they wanted us to leave… By showing an alternative to staying at Ginger’s Paradise we were putting off their customers so they were losing MONEY. Which is of course the most precious commodity on a self-sufficient, permaculture, organic farm.
On the last day early in the morning, Sol and Chris payed us a visit like usual. Except this time they brought along a machete. They explained to us that if we did not leave they were going to slash our tents and then “who knows what else.” We had no choice but to leave. Never argue with a machete. And never stay at Ginger’s Paradise.

adam

wow..... well im sold. im going to place this in the Not Fucking Likely pile. glad i looked it up befor we trecked there. thanks

Disgruntled Farmer

I will corroborate these testimonies of Ginger's Inferno. I was here for several days, and I highly un-recommend it.

'Cristobol' is a chiseler businessman par-excellence. I saw the bracelet swindle happen to 4 other people on 2 separate occasions while I was there. 1 was a wonderfully good-natured wwoofer volunteer, and it seems that the owners are just as willing to swindle wwoofers as they are tourists.

I was constantly baffled by the exorbitant prices Cristobol and Sol were willing to charge everyone. $7 for peanut butter. $16 for a pound of coffee. They sold weed for American prices, and San Pedro cactus (ie Mescaline) for $150-$200!! The illegality does not bother me (though I certainly don't mind making it known to all [the cactus isn't even illegal there]), it's the fact that you can buy the fast-growing cactus at any corner in La Paz for $1.25!!

The owners are also highly prejudiced against many different nationalities. Especially the Dutch, Israelis and US Americans. Regardless of what you might think about these nations, their people or politics, it is NOT acceptable to judge and mistreat travelers (or ANYONE) whom you do not know based on their national origin.

Do not go to Ginger's Paradise!

But if you DO go to Ginger's Paradise, ask Cristobol about Noah's Ark, dinosaurs, and the Great Flood. Oh wow oh wow oh wow.

Also, TICKS. 5-8 a day unless you go ride the horses, then it's literally swarms.

Holly

I had quite a different experience at Ginger's Paradise and feel like it would be remiss of me not to defend Ginger's. I was there when Tom and Amber were there and very much enjoyed their company. We all agreed, as did most people who stayed there, that Cris came across as a know-it-all and was sometimes condescending. I was there for 11 nights. He mellowed out after a while and in the end I was able to joke with him about his disposition and I enjoyed him. Sol is wonderful and I really liked the youngest son DZY. He is very curious about traveler's lives and where they live, he is very smart and helps out a lot with all the chores. I wasn't enamored with Ginger as she is a little girl that will climb all over you and pest you if you let her but in general I don't care for little kids too much and I think she sensed that because she never bothered me.
As for the lack of a cow, wow, some things change over time. They live in the boonies, they used to have a cow, will get another one probably but I doubt they felt they had to take a trip into the city and update their website because the cow died or was sold. It sucks Tom not to get what you hoped to get but stop someone on a farm next time you pass by one and ask if you can milk a cow. That is how I got to do it in Colombia.
As for the money grubbing; when I left Cris had a tally of what I owed them and it was less than what I had tallied because they counted my helping in the kitchen equal to the discounted rate of helping in the fields. I hadn't put the two as equal because I helped Sol in the kitchen because she was so wonderful to be around. Had it been "all about the money" he would have tried to charge me full price. Although their flyers have no prices they do have the website listed and their website clearly shows the cost of rooms with and without helping in the garden. It also shows the option for another evening meal (although I saw the evening meal given to one backpacker and it was a bit overpriced for what they got compared to breakfast and lunch).
I didn't like that you couldn't take a shower when they weren't home either but I understood their rationale for it. It is located in their home where they probably have all of their valuables. There is a river though if you absolutely can't stand yourself and there always is a sponge bath in the clothes sink out back.
As for the outhouse, it never smelled bad, it wasn't overflowing, it was kept clean.
I really loved it there. The location is beautiful and the hiking is phenomenal in the area. It borders a beautiful national park. The food is wonderful and what they are doing to accomplish living off-the-grid is awesome. Don't go if you want luxury, flush toilets or a shower. Do go if you want to learn about making tofu, wiring your house with electricity using water power and headlamps, or farming in Bolivia. It is all about what you expect. I would still recommend it. Holly-Alaska

Jud

I left gingers "paradise" with the worst feeling I had in Bolivia.. I can tell now that i was not the only one that fell for that..
I don't want to repeat everything that was already written but everything is true!
Chris and sol want only money and they are the most cold and snobish people i have ever met!

Francisco Penaloza

Actually Gingers Paradise was one of the highlights of my trip to Bolivia! And Im half Bolivian! I went with my wife (colombian american) and my mom (DutchAmerican). After my wife getting some major culture shock throughout Bolivia due to Bolivians being shy and withdrawn next to her loud colombian self, and I was also disappointed with my own family who wasnt as hospitable as I remember them being Gingers paradise was a great relief. All three of us enjoyed picking and eating fruits from all around the farm (avocados, guavas, plums, passionfruit), gutting a chicken, learning about their miniature, stingless, honeymaking bees whos hives look like a miniature wonderland of a tiny little bee airport, the river is literally a 3 minutes walk and it is one of the best swims I ever had besides the ocean, it is fast water (no weeds), completely sandy bottom, very nice! It did suck not having a "shower" at the guest house but there was an outdoor nossle that I used to wash up and from the website its looks like they might have finally set up an outdoor shower there! The compost toilet was clean and much better than modern portopotties around the world over. Its basically a bucket with a seat over it that you cover your stuff with woodshaving so it doesnt smell or even see the shit, then its just emptied in appropriate compost piles away from everything. There is no giant mound of shit under you like in traditional outhouses. Theres chickens roaming everywhere, i even found a freshly laid egg one day next to the toilet! Anyway if you enjoy debating philosophy, politics, chess, talking different languages, playing different instruments, singing songs, learning about off the grid technologies, awesome place. they are very accepting and treated us like family. It was also very affordable since the total price for all three of us, 3 days, food (not always vegetarian, we had a freshly killed rooster that we gutted outselves. delicious!), private tour hike to waterfall, very good time all around, was something like 700 bolivianos. Less than a hundred bucks. I considered it money well spent. You have to like rustic and roughing it though. For another great experience (but much much more expensive) check out the Mariposario Guembe outside of Santa Cruz, awesome nature preserve with roaming animals, ostriches, monkeys, parrots, butterflies, swimming lagoons and pools, horse rides, DELICIOUS Camba, cruceno food buffets. Those two experiences along with seeing my 94 year old grandma again were the best experiences!

ericka

Yo estaba pensando ir a este lugar "Ginger Paradise" ahora no tengo ganas de ir :/

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