A 16-day tailor-made itinerary taking in the highlights of Bolivia, including visits to La Paz, Sucre, Lake Titicaca, Uyuni and Santa Cruz.
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Arrive in Santa Cruz.
You’ll be staying in one of the city’s most exclusive and lively areas – Equipetrol Norde – just five minutes from downtown Santa Cruz. So you’ll be ideally placed to catch the atmosphere of the area. You’ll also be able to take an optional tour to see the mesmerising Inca ruins of Samaipata with their intriguing rock carvings. Afterwards you can bathe at Las Cuevas and El Chorro waterfalls.
Stay: One night at Hotel Los Tajibos – bed & breakfast
A short flight lands you in the colonial city of Sucre. Here you can browse through the history of Bolivia, via the cathedral, churches and cloisters of La Recoleta, San Felipe and Guadalupe.
You’ll visit the significant House of Liberty, where Simon Bolivar signed the Declaration of Independence, and the University Museum to see displays of anthropological research, colonial and modern art. On Sundays, you can take an optional tour to the traditional Tarabuco market and native fair where locals still wear leather helmets inspired by the Conquistadors.
Stay: Two nights at Parador Santa Maria La Real. – bed & breakfast
Today you embark upon a three hour drive through gorgeous scenery to arrive at the ancient silver mining town of Potosi – proclaimed by UNESCO to be the ‘Historical and Cultural Legacy of Mankind’. Explore the city’s narrow, winding streets that contrast with the towering mountains nearby, and enjoy a visit to the local miner’s market.
Stay: One night in a standard room at the Museo Cayara Hotel – breakfast & dinner
Before leaving Potosi you will visit the Casa da le Moneda (the Royal Mint) with its preserved Spanish wooden machinery, the cathedral and the cloister of San Francisco.
Afterwards you will continue your overland journey through Bolivia, travelling from Potosi to Uyuni. Uyuni is the entry point to the largest salt flat on Earth, located on the Bolivian Andean High Plateau.
After a stop for lunch you will continue your journey, passing tradtional villages and impressive valleys, before arriving at Hedionda Lagoon, where your hotel for the next two nights is located. Huge flocks of flamingoes come to the lagoon and your hotel is the perfect vantage point to see them.
The following day you will visit Laguna Colorada with its incredible red-coloured waters. The lagoon hosts an array of unique wildlife such as llamas, vicunas and vizcachas, and a host of birds including three different types of flamingo; the red-plumed tokoko, white chururu and the pinkish jututu. Your tour will also take you to the highly active Sol de Manana Geysers – a geothermal region of volcanic craters, fumaroles spouting superheated steam, and statuesque rock formations. Next come the emerald green waters of Laguna Verde, coloured by magnesium, before returning to your hotel.
Stay: Two nights at Los Flamencos Eco-Lodge – breakfast & dinner
Over the next two days you will visit the Uyuni Salt Lake and Isla Incahuasi. Uyuni is the largest salt flat on Earth, located on the Bolivian Andean Altiplano with over 10.000 square Km; the Bolivian Andes offer stunning sceneries which can be hardly matched. The sound of silence makes the heart beats faster and the surreal pentagons of crystalline salt, the pure sky, the cacti and sometimes even the flamingos, certainly makes you feel that there is no other place like this in the whole world.
Lunch close by Isla Incahuasi, an oasis with formations of algae and fossils. It is covered by thousands of giant columnar cacti, which can be more than a hundred years old, growing to a height of over 12 mtrs. The landscape against the background of the salt pans extending to the horizon makes it an ideal place for photography hunters.
Stay: Two nights at the Luna Salada Salt Hotel – breakfast & dinner
Fly north to La Paz, a culturally diverse city surrounded by the snow-capped peaks of Illimani and the Cordillera Real of the Andes.
You’ll have time to tour the native, colonial and modern areas of La Paz, including the Indian Market, the Museum of Tiwanaku and the Witchdoctor’s Market. Finish with a cable car ride for sensational views.
Stay: One night at the Atix Hotel – bed & breakfast
Today you will make the overland journey to the shores of Lake Titicaca – the world’s highest navigable lake – where a hydrofoil cruise will be waiting to take you to Sun Island.
Prior to boarding the hydrofoil, you will have chance to explore the town of Copacabana, where you will visit the shrine of the Dark Indian Virgin. From Copacabana you will cruise to Moon Island, visiting the Sun Virgins Temple “Iñak Uyu”.
Continue to Sun Island, to visit the Pilcocaina Sun Temple. You’ll be staying at a charming eco-lodge at the top of the island where you’ll be surrounded by the majestic peaks of the Andes.
After lunch the afternoon is at leisure for you to relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery.
Stay: One night at La Posada del Inca Eco Lodge – full-board
The morning is at leisure. Around noon visit the Inca “Grand Stairs” and the Sacred Fountain; taste the water believed to give eternal youth and happiness.
Lunch is at the Uma Kollu archaeological restaurant followed by a visit to the handicraft market.
From here you will take a hydrofoil to Huatajata. On arrival, visit the Andean Roots Eco Village: The Altiplano Museum; Handicrafts village, the Mud Igloos and the mortuary towers of the Urus Chipayas.
Relax in the beautiful grounds with vicuñas, llamas, alpacas and the mythical Suri.
By night, visit the Native Observatory Alajpacha. Learn from the Aymaras Cosmovision and watch the southern constellations.
Stay: One night at the Inca Utama Hotel & Spa – Bed & breakfast
Overland transfer back to La Paz and the thriving city of el Alto.
In the 1980s El Alto was the immigrant stop of mainly Aymara’s countrymen, today they’re successful families dedicated to trade, mining, small industry, commerce, and gastronomy, forming new social and economic groups.
With unique trade fairs in the world, visitors will see Truck markets, Yatiris (magic witches), antiques, junkyards and a fascinating new Architecture: “The Cholets”, an icon of the success and opulence of these Aymara’s immigrants. They just don’t want to migrate to richer neighbourhoods, but to build their own palaces in El Alto. Visit one of them, with handicrafts shops, salon de fiestas, native sweets and customs, most painted by Mamani-Mamani the fashion Indian artist; a real symphony of colours and movement.
Stay: Two nights in a deluxe room at the Atix Hotel – bed & breakfast
Depart from La Paz Airport where you will board a short flight to Santa Cruz, connecting onto your flight home.