Logistics, Driver & Adventure Guide
The title of Explorer with no Bounds goes to Oscar Ebert. His “road-warrior” career began when he was 12 years old when he drove the Death Road to the Yungas, with his dad at his side. Anyone who has ever driven it knows this is not a road for beginners, much less kids. No matter, besides a few close calls, the seed was sown, and his life-long adventures began, with his dad seated next to him.
He was founder of CEAC, a hiking group taking people to hike in the Andes, Lake Titicaca and Altiplano. He was first hired as a cook, then graduated to guiding classic Inca trails like the Choro, Takesi, Yunga Cruz and Trans Cordillera (12 days long) and has climbed Huayna Potosi and Pequeño Alpamayo. His first foray into the jungle was driving a VW bug with his friend across the Andes to the town of Rurrenabaque, at that time a backwater outpost on the Beni River. It took 21 hours, crossing landslides, jungle rivers and passing all the trucks and fancy 4×4’s stuck in the mud. They planned to stay 3 days but stayed a week and it was the first time anyone had ever seen a VW bug! Oscar continued to travel to Rurrenabaque with Amazonas airlines, helping shuttle people from a muddy runway to a muddy downtown in a 4×4 Suburban.
In 1998 he met Sergio Ballivian who needed a driver/mechanic who spoke good English for a two-month long job with Discovery Channel shooting a documentary about Bolivia. Soon thereafter came more documentaries with National Geographic Television, Kathmandu Gear (NZ), Powder Magazine, German and Ukranian TV channels, Enodo Television, and DXT Films introducing new brands and vehicles to the Bolivian market. For seven years he was the Lake Titicaca Supervisor for Transturin Tours, in charge of 4 catamarans, with a capacity of up to 300 people per day, 18 vehicles, the Inti Wata complex on the Island of the Sun and offices in Copacabana and Puno, Peru, including a staff of 40 people.
When Bolivia was finally included in the Dakar Rally in South America, Oscar was hired by ASO, the company that runs the Dakar Rally (and the Tour de France) to create the official routes in conjunction with their expert drivers. He designed emergency evacuation routes, helicopter landing zones, spectator safe zones, refueling stations and road closures. Ebert is the Commissioner of Security for all national competitions of the Bolivian Automobile Federation, coordinating safety and road closures with Police, hospitals, ambulances and local authorities. He is also co-pilot for a sponsored rally-car team.
He lives in La Paz with his wife, three sons and a daughter. Oscar is a certified mechanic and can fix just about anything on the road with a few tools. He has shown his problem-solving skills on many occasions from the steamy jungles to the salt flats of the Altiplano. He is a paramedic and an expert in photography tours. We call him the Bolivian MacGyver. He is Sergio’s true friend and his Right-Hand Man.